DepEd SDO Nueva Ecija
(by SERGIO B. GONZALES  1/7/2014)

The AGAP - NE or Asosasyon ng mga Guro sa Araling Panlipunan in the Division of Nueva Ecija tendered a humanitarian event to the schooling children of the Mapedya Elementary School (MES) in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija in a Program with the theme “Alay Sa Pasko” held in lieu of the traditional Christmas soiree last December 21, 2013 at Dep-Ed Conference Hall in Cabanatuan City. The Mapedya Elementary School received a cash donation of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10, 000.00) from the group for an appropriate project of their accord. The children who are all members of the cultural minorities and marginalized sector of the community were represented by their teachers headed by Mr. Wishly Baliosan,Teacher-in-Charge.

Dr. Eva Fe F. Taclibon, EPS 1, Araling Panlipunan, gave the inspiring message during the first part of the program. Shortly after, MES teachers relayed their personal experiences and spoke of their infinite gratitude for the kindness and generosity extended to them and the school by the educators’ group. The second half of the program made the gathering even merrier and more festive with the partaking of the sumptuous food prepared by the organization.

The Mapedya Elementary School was opened in year 2000 through a six-classroom building constructed by the Australian New Zealand Association (ANZA) project thru the effort of the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) Director Rosalina L. Butoyong. It lies at the mountain range of Sierra Madre within the territory of Sitio Mapedya, Barangay Rio Chico in a three-hectare land. The paramount objective for its establishment was to help perpetuate the cultural tradition and beliefs of different ethnic groups living in the said sitio in addition to promoting literacy in the community.

The school opened in June 2003 admitting pupils from Grade I to IV, with three (3) permanent teachers being sponsored by NCIP -- Evelyn B. Sib-at, Julia T. Mangudang and Joy M. Baccangen, all indigenous people themselves. Initially, they held integrated classes until they had their First Commencement Exercises on April 12, 2006.

Today, MES is a full-fledged elementary school with classes from kindergarten to grade 6. The school has been administered in succession by the following heads: Jannette P. Padolina, Jeffrey S. Castro, Katrina Aberin and Nieves Layao.

Because of its remote distance of 35 kilometers from the poblacion, MES cannot be accessed easily. The pupils have to hike their way for nine hours and cross several creeks, braving the scorching heat or the soaking rain in order to reach the school and attend classes. Even the teachers make similar sacrifices willingly in the line of duty. Both pupils and mentors do more than just burn the midnight oil, so to speak, but they also have to risk life and limb in putting that much value on education.

It is not uncommon for the children to miss their class due to the exhausting journey to and from school. Some are constrained to drop out of school before the end of the school year. The teachers are very understanding and will make the long journey to visit pupils who were getting tired and disillusioned and encourage them to complete their education,

There are no high schools in the area. The nearest secondary institutions are Buklod-Palad High School in Palayan City and Rio Chico High School in General Tinio.

The teachers from the MES could not thank the AGAP enough and hope they would be able to visit the school and see the impact of the donation to the quality of their education.

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