Teachers, farm kids attend writing workshop
DAS,Toledo City — Public elementary school teacher Migthylyn Agustines and four pupils of the Himatugan Elementary School walked by foot, crossed two rivers, rode motorcycles and a jeepney to reach Toledo City proper to attend the Siloy Campus Journalism session held on August 23.
Their school is located in Sitio Himatugan in Barangay General Climaco, about 15 kilometers away from the city center. Travel by foot and on board vehicles would take around three to four hours.
The campus journalism lecture and workshop was held at the clubhouse of Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) in Barangay Don Andres Soriano, another 45-minute ride from the city proper.
“The children were hesitant to attend this workshop because they said ‘Taga-bukid ra man mi’ (we’re just kids from the mountain). But I want them to have the same opportunity as other children so I encouraged them to be brave and join this workshop,” says Agustines, 27, and a public school teacher for five years.
With Agustines were Grade 4 pupils Hazel Ann Abadinas and Shandrina Camangyan, and Grade 6 pupils Shandara Camangyan and Cherry Mae Madrico. The girls are between eight to 12 years old.
Despite the long distance, they arrived on time to join other pupils and teachers who made up close to 200 participants during the second run of the 2017 Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop which started at 8:30 a.m.
The Cebu Daily News team left the city at 6:00 a.m. and traveled from Cebu City to Toledo City for the daylong lecture-workshop. The event was sponsored by CCC.
CCC Senior Corporate Communications Manager Sofia Picardal said it was the first time for Toledo City and CCC to host a campus journalism workshop.
“I am overwhelmed by the response of the schools and the number of participants who came here. I am grateful to them for giving CCC the opportunity to serve. As a responsible mining company, it is one of our goals to bring opportunities to the doorsteps of our host barangays and neighboring communities,” said Picardal, a mass communication graduate of Saint Theresa’s College.
One of these opportunities is to improve the quality of education offered by the schools.
CCC contributes to this endeavor by giving out awards to pupils and providing projects for their four host barangays and 13 barangays which are part of their neighboring communities.
Toledo City has 38 barangays.
Two pupils from Old Bucao Elementary School won the top prizes in the news writing category in a lecture and workshop by CDN Day Desk Editor Doris Bongcac.
They were Kerrie Anne Quijao, 11, and Ma. Althea Sophia Calma, 10. Both are Grade 6 pupils.
With a look of pride on her face, school paper adviser Judith Ubod said she trains the students to become better writers by letting them read and review writing styles of newspaper articles.
“I always tell them to read so they can be better in campus journalism. By participating in this workshop, they have experienced a more in-depth exposure to the world of journalism. I hope this will inspire them to be better,” said Ubod.
The Himatugan Elementary School team may not have won any award, but Agustines felt that they snagged the top prize by simply being present as participants of the workshop.
She said the children are not used to traveling by gas-powered vehicles as they are used to traveling on the back of a carabao or on a sled pulled by a carabao.
One of them even got sick on the way to the workshop venue, she said.
Majority of the school children are sons and daughters of farmers, who have difficulty in reading and writing.
This is why Agustines considers their workshop participation a crucial step to expose children to more opportunities for growth and learning.
Most of the children do not have television sets and their school have limited reading materials which is why writing articles for their school paper, The Boulders, has been a major challenge.
They are not up-to-date with current events, Agustines said.
“Admittedly, they are intimidated by children from other schools. They also have a hard time writing in English, but I hope that by being here, they will be able to see their potential (as campus journalists),” said Agustines.
With the tips and tricks they learned from the CDN workshop, Agustines said the four-hour travel back to Himatugan will surely be a happy and story-filled journey.
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