When I arrived at Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School, I was honestly taken aback by how beautiful it was. The school had creative, eye-catching murals, a number of plants and greenery, and just an overall sense that everything was clean, orderly, and in its place. The school had actually been implementing the Brigada Eskwela program for 8 years (or even more), headed by Ms. Rina Garcia, Master Teacher 1 and Brigada Eskwela Facilitator for the elementary school.
Ms. Garcia gave me the impression of a kind and nurturing mother. When we met her last Thursday, it was evident that she had care and concern for her students, as well as great pride in their school’s implementation of the cleanliness project. She had even mentioned that their school won last year’s Brigada Eskwela competition in their district—a feat that surely brings pride to faculty and students alike! The recognition however wasn’t the main driving force for their hard work in implementing the project.
“[Pagdating sa goals namin,] sustainability ang pinaguusapan dito. Hindi lang sa manalo kami kundi masustain kung ano man yung nakuha namin na brigada donations last year.” “[In terms of our goals], sustainability is the main focus here. This isn’t just to win, it’s to sustain whatever amount of brigada donations we received last year.”
It was also quite remarkable to see the students’ zeal for service as well. When we gathered at the school court to meet them, they seemed quite wide-eyed and excitable–as all children should be, but what surprised me most was how responsible and community-minded they were for their age. A couple of students shared their dreams and aspirations: Pheobe wanted to be a chef, Cheeskalyn, the class president, wanted to be a nurse, Raiza wanted to be a teacher, and Ashley wanted to be a police officer.
All four girls had implied that they wanted to help people as much as they could with their future careers, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t start their service as early as now. That is what their participation in Brigada Eskwela is all about; they do their fair share of chores to help maintain the cleanliness, something the four of them enjoy.
Cheeskalyn in particular said that they contributed not only because they wanted to help the school, but also because they knew that all their hard work would ultimately benefit them in the end. Doing good always has its benefits, after all. Needless to say, the dedication and effort that Aurora Elementary School puts into Brigada Eskwela is definitely inspiring and we, the members of Project Taft, are grateful for the opportunity of partnering up with them and look forward to collaborating with them again in the future!