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Cebuana LEPT topnotcher: How a farmer’s daughter became a teacher

She talks about her journey to the top 10 in the licensure exams for professional teachers

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 13,2024 - 09:15 AM

Cebuana LEPT topnotcher: How a farmer's daughter became a teacher

A graduation photo of Gracelyn Ygot (left) and her family. | Contributed photos

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Not only is she a topnotcher, but she is also a farmer’s daughter, the youngest one, the first teacher in their family, and most of all, the first to finish college in their family.

Little did Gracelyn Ygot know that she would be among the topnotchers in the March 2024 Elementary Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (LEPT) where she ranked second among the exam passers.

When the result came out on May 24 this year, Ygot’s dream and prayer had become a reality. She knew her faith in passing the exam was strong, but she never expected it to be answered so fast.

“I don’t think I fully grasped the reality of it even up until now. It still feels surreal,” she said.


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Throughout her academic journey, Ygot considers herself blessed with the kind of setup she had—from the ride to school to the expenses of being a college student.

The 23-year-old Gracelyn is from Barangay Bugho in Moalboal, southwestern Cebu.

“I was not a working student. The University is fortunately only a ride home, so it was an advantage for me since I was with my family and didn’t have other expenses. I’m glad that it was possible for me to finish even if I didn’t work during college,”” she said.

First in the family

Gracelyn said that her older siblings were not able to proceed to college after graduating high school because they did not have enough money to send them to tertiary education. That was why, when she had the opportunity to study college, she worked hard to earn the degree for her siblings.

When she was still studying, her parents also worked hard planting fruits and vegetables on their farm, hoping to earn enough to support her education. Her father also took care of and raised a few farm animals.

However, when the El Niño phenomenon hit, her parents had to stay low because of the intense heat and insufficient water supply to help the plants survive.

Cebuana LEPT topnotcher: How a farmer's daughter became a teacher

Contributed photo

“I always dedicate whatever I do to my family. They keep me going, and I always envision a better life for my family, and I intend to make that vision a reality,” Ygot said.

She firmly believed in having solid faith and working in silence.

Gracelyn said that she did not have a recipe for success, but one thing she was so sure of was to “set your mind into doing something and just do it.”

“Sometimes you don’t need to do something special; just make sure you do what you need to do. Another thing, I believe in working in silence and letting the success make the noise. And most importantly, believe that prayer works.”

Gracelyn’s family and her cousins, who are already licensed teachers, inspired her.

She said she is ” inspired by the possibility” of her “growing as a person and as a professional reaching out to people.”


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Struggles in college

Gracelyn revealed she was still considering what degree to pursue in college, and being a teacher was not exactly her plan.

However, she thought it was the best option for her since the university is only a ride from home.

How a farmer's daughter became a teacher

Contibuted photo

“Through the years in college, I’ve come to love the profession. The internship was something I was very nervous about, but it turned out to be an experience that I cherished, and it helped me come to love the profession more,” Gracelyn recalled.

Moreover, “just like any other student who is in college,” she also struggles in their classroom.

Gracelyn found it hard to “stand in front of the crowd and speak,” so recitations and reports were challenging.

“And during the height of the pandemic, there were a lot of setbacks, especially during online classes, whether it be the internet connection in the province, the activities piling up because of lack of time management, the gadget not cooperating because it has been used the whole day, and the online class was something new, and it was hard to adjust at first,” she added.

Preparing for the exam

She encountered “a lot of setbacks” when preparing for the exam.

Gracelyn could not review at night, especially when it was already late, because she easily got sleepy.

It was hard for her because she also had no one to talk with during that late hour when she studied. During the day, she also found it hard to study because she would help with household chores.

Nonetheless, time management might have challenged her, but she was grateful she “”was able to pull through”” until the exam day.

In addition, she was also “financially challenged” because there were times when she had to physically go to Cebu City to attend some of her review classes.

“I was not able to attend most of them since I had no financial means,” she said.

It also reached a time when she had to borrow some money from people close to her to get to the location of her review classes.

Have that commitment

The Cebuana topnotcher advises those planning to pursue education and take the board exam to be committed to doing it.

Gracelyn wanted them to have that ” commitment.”

“”Because there will be times that we can’t find that drive to go on, thus sometimes we only give the bare minimum and I think it’s normal so long as you don’t do it the entire time. Setbacks will always be there but always be true to your commitment and the reason why you take the course in the first place,”” she said.

“And if you’re like me nga wala kahibalo unsa ang buhaton paguna (don’t know what to do at first) , eventually your path will be clear, and you’ll come to love the profession,” she added.

She also advised future exam takers to just be committed to their review.

“It is advisable to have a review center for a more organized and comprehensive review, take care of your overall health and never jeopardize sleep, and most importantly, trust yourself and trust God,” she said.

As of now, Gracelyn is planning to take her masters degree in education and teach. She also wants to explore her options whether it be in line with teaching or some other fields.

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TAGS: Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (LEPT), topnotcher

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