When old co-mentors meet
For former co-teachers to get together after forty-five years is a rare event and different from any gathering of classmates.
The past few years saw the passing away of some of the former teachers of St. Catherine’s School in Carcar from the 1960s to the early 1970s leaving a few who are bearing their respective illnesses that go with their age.
This drove Mena Abellana-Boltron and Becbec Abellana-Abella to get in touch and plan a get together of former teachers of St. Catherine’s School in Carcar which took place on November 4 at the residence of Fely Mendez-Pugoy, a retired Biology teacher.
Eight could make it : Mena, Becbec, and Charito Montecillo were elementary teachers, Fely, Lourdes Barcenas and myself were with the high school, Miss Exaltacion “Tasing” Cui popularly known as Miss Cui and Madam Carolina “Nena” Bacon-Torralba were the two Kindergarten teachers of 4 to 5 generations of Catherinians.
I still remember Miss Cui leading the kindergarten boys and Madam Torralba leading the kindergarten girls across the playgrounds 20 minutes before recess time to avoid the chaos of recess.
During their graduation, it was the practice to let each kindergarten pupil to go to the microphone and say their name instead of being called.
The rehearsals were fun to watch with Miss Cui in her element and the pupils committing funny mistakes.
Mena and Becbec were the best elementary teachers of St. Catherine’s School that by the time their students reached high school we did not have a hard time mentoring them.
My first six years of teaching were done in St. Catherine’s School and it was where I poured out my energies and talents after my four years of college education at St. Theresa’s College.
I was also fortunate to have good and compassionate administrators which provided reinforcement and balance as well and prepared me for the challenges when I moved to teach in the city until the new millennium.
The age range of the group was from 68 to 83 years and the range was erased during the singing that took place after a very sumptuous lunch.
The new keyboard had its debut with retirees singing Cebuano classical songs and the champion was Madam Torralba who at 81 could still hold a high note with a powerful voice.
Lunch time gave a chance to know each other’s condition and even about those who could not join us.
The group felt that the get together should be done more often like make it a yearly event.
The get together was different because back in the 1960’s and early 1970’s the elementary and high school teachers hardly came together for they had separate meetings and social gatherings.
Then in the mid-1970’s some moved to the city to teach while the others remained in St. Catherine’s School until their retirement.
It was also at this time that the school was turned over to the Dominican sisters.
St. Catherine’s School in Carcar was run by the ICM Sisters from 1923 to 1976 and during this time it earned the reputation of one of the best schools in the province because of the track record of its graduates.
Being a product of the school as a student from kinder to high school and as a teacher is a great gift.
It was an example of an educational institution influencing the whole town adding to the strong inborn “pride of place” which the old folks called “Kabiloso.”
Bringing together former co-mentors made people happy especially our hostess, Fely Pugoy who is bearing serious illness after managing numerous family businesses including two gas stations.
It was because of her condition and of the other co-mentors that the get together was conceived.
We would like to thank Fely for hosting the get together.
It looks like the get together would be done yearly and in the subsequent get togethers there will be more attendees.
Former co-teachers especially retirees need to meet to cheer up the ailing and reinforce each other in coping with the challenges of senior life.
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