Monday, September 11, 2006

Tribute to Teachers

Originally uploaded by Obi-Akpere, ObiAkpere.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. Henry Adams

Last Saturday, over 15,000 teachers (or more) from all over the country converged at Araneta Coliseum in what may be the biggest ever gathering of teachers. Inspirational speakers -- world renown Denis Waitley, Francis Kong, Butch Jimenez, Sandy Prieto and Roselle Ambubuyog took turns in paying tribute to the faceless, nameless unsung heroes of this country -- our teachers.

There are no great men and women in this world without great teachers, says Francis. Denis, on the other hand, encourages teachers to "plant seeds of greatness."

He shares the story of this little girl who was banished in a dungeon, believed by doctors to be a hopeless case. Everybody gave up on her. Except for one nurse, who day by day, showed the girl that she cared. Until one day, the girl became well enough to go back to school. Years later, the girl who everyone thought was hopeless, became the mentor of another seemingly hopeless girl -- Helen Keller -- who's life touched millions across the globe. Helen's advocacy for the blind changed the fate of the visually-challenged of this world. But if not for the seed that that unnamed nurse planted in Anne Sullivan, the world would not have known a Helen Keller. What a wonderful reminder!

Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, president of the country's most-read newspaper, paid tribute to three of her teachers including one "tormentor mentor" (I like that!), who pushed her to give her best. While she was a so-so student, Sandy can now be considered one of the most influential women in this country -- thanks to her teachers who challenged her to excel.

But the most heartwarming of all in that afternoon's event was the testimony of Roselle Ambubuyog, the first blind summa cum laude graduate of Ateneo. Roselle's success, like Anne Sullivan's or Helen Keller's, is one very inspiring proof why we -- teacher or not -- must never give up hope.

Kudos to Bato Balani Foundation for the noble advocacy of paying tribute to teachers. And congratulations to Ardy & Tingting Roberto and the rest of the Salt & Light Ventures team for never stopping to inspire us.

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