From imparting knowledge on different subject matters to sharing life lessons, looking after students’ needs while in school to doing double duty as friends and counselors, teachers serve as the second parents of the students. They are role models who mold young individuals to become better versions of themselves, inspiring them to dream and persevere to achieve those dreams.
But these teachers were once students too, and like the young minds they are guiding now, they also aspired for a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Such is the story of Jerome Madla, an SCG Sharing the Dream scholar who dreamed of becoming a teacher and in 2015, finally realized that dream. Jerome Madla joined today’s modern heroes when he passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) out of a total of 149, 905 examinees.
Now a Grade seven teacher at Dampol 2nd National High School, 23-year old Jerome believes more than ever that education is important in achieving a better life. As a teacher, Jerome hopes to be an inspiration to his students by showing them that financial problems are not a hindrance to getting a good education and achieving one’s dreams.
A farmer’s son
Jerome grew up in the small town of Calumpit, Bulacan, the eldest son of a farmer and a housewife. He witnessed at an early age how their family relied solely on farming as a main source of income. But as the family grew bigger, Jerome’s parents needed to find another way to support their growing financial needs. So his father purchased a tricycle on installment to augment the family income.
Every day, Jerome would walk for almost two hours from their home, across the farm to his school to attend classes. Throughout high school, Jerome witnessed the struggle of his family to provide for his studies. “Naaalala ko pa nga noon, nangungutang na lang si Nanay para makapasok ako,” Jerome shares, recalling how his mother would borrow money from neighbors just so he could fund for his projects or to buy the family’s other needs.
Being the eldest son, he thought of quitting school to help his father in the farm instead. He realized, however, that he would be able to help his family better if he finished his studies. He then used his family’s situation as inspiration to study harder and make his parents’ hard work all worth it.
“Hindi masama mangarap, yung pangarap yung magiging drive mo para makuha lahat ng dreams mo sa buhay. Ngunit hindi naman pwede hanggang pangarap lang. Kailangan may effort. Hindi naman pwede yung dream mo, dream lang siya habang buhay,” (It is not wrong to dream; your dream will actually serve as your motivation to achieve everything that you want in life. However, it is not enough to just dream. There must be an effort to reach those dreams. Otherwise, your dreams will remain dreams for the rest of your life), Jerome shares.
Realizing he can also do something to help his parents support his education, Jerome decided to apply for the SCG Sharing the Dream scholarship program.
Newfound hope for Jerome
Buoyed by a new hope as if seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Jerome grabbed the opportunity opened by SCG’s Sharing the Dream program. With the financial assistance provided by SCG during high school, SCG helped push Jerome to pursue college and finish his studies.
SCG believes that education is one of the foundations for sustainable development and a better future for the country. In the past 11 years, SCG has been actively helping deserving students achieve their dream through the Sharing the Dream program. In cooperation with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), SCG grants scholarships to different schools in Metro Manila and in provincial areas.
“More than financial support, SCG made a strong impact in my life. SCG provided not just scholarship but also guidance and mentorship. I’m very thankful to SCG’s efforts in organizing personality and career trainings for us as those boosted our self-esteem, made us believe in ourselves and that we can achieve whatever we set out to do. SCG is an important part of my journey as an educator. I wouldn’t be here where I am today without SCG,” Jerome said.
The SCG Sharing the Dream program opens its doors to students in need. Besides financial support, the program provides scholars with developmental seminars, trainings and counseling to help them find their real passion. This year, it has extended its scholarship program to deserving college students who will receive financial assistance throughout their entire college years with their desired course. Included in the grant is the different seminars and trainings to help students become well-rounded individuals.
Discovering the love for teaching
Jerome took up a Bachelor of Education’s degree, major in Physical Science, at the Bulacan State University. He got his inspiration from his mother, who once dreamed of becoming a teacher herself. He said his professors, who he considers as mentors, also motivated him to become an educator.
After passing the LET, Jerome spent his first three years as a teacher in a Special Education (SPED) school. The experience helped him further understand the crucial role that teachers play in helping shape the nation’s future engineers, architects, dreamers and movers.
“Teachers truly are modern-day heroes. Mahirap pero masayang makitang may natututunan ang mga estudyante mula sa ‘yo, (It’s hard but it is really fulfilling to see the students learning from you),” he added.
Hoping to continue improving himself, Jerome is at the last stretch of his master’s degree in Education, with a major in Physics. He hopes to finish his postgraduate course next year and then work on his doctorate degree thereafter.
In doing so, Jerome aspires to inspire his students, including all scholars, to never lose hope and stay dedicated until they see their dreams turning into a reality.