Morning dews resting in palay leaves kiss the students’ legs as they rush for their 4 – am routine. Fogs blinding their sights as these morning walkers lift high their legs and begin striding out from their houses. They walk quickly without stopping or looking from side to side, as though they were shoved from behind or afraid of pursuit. They walk past along velvety rice field and snoring neighborhood.
They only have spoonful of rice and hard – boiled egg for breakfast enough to catch up the first trip of the school bus. Then the sound of a horn signals the arrival of a free ride. Learners from Tinongtongan and Songcuya assemble in designated areas, start a queue of learners then hitch on the school – bus trip to Diplahan NHS.
At nearly 4:30 or 4:40, the first trip arrived at Diplahan NHS. Then another trips arrived before 5am. Four other school busses rove other far – flung feeder barangays to fetch other learners to free them of their fare instead of riding on the habal – habal everyday. Just before 6am, before the flag raising ceremony, the learners toe the line and continue charting their dreams amid yawning face, drowsy eyes and starving tummies.
Many of them have only had a piecemeal breakfast and many did not even have something to eat since their parents have failed to wake up and prepare the food for them. Learners may have been tugged by often unfortunate circumstance but never had they shown signs of quitting and bidding their dreams some bitter goodbyes.
The plights of the parents are heard by the local legislators and provincial executives. No less than the Provincial Governor Atty. Wilter Yap Palma together with the Municipal Mayor Atty. Eric Yap Palma intensified the Free School Bus Program of Diplahan. Since 2010, students of Diplahan National High School are blessed to have been provided with school bus from morning to after classes. On July 2019, four new school buses were added to cater to about 300 students who come from distant barangays so that students can attend to their classes regularly without risks of absences and tardiness.
“I always see the youth as the hope of the future and only through educating them that they can help us in this perennial goal,” Mayor Palma shared during the Turn Over of the school buses. “We are blessed to have been granted with our ardent request to have more school buses through the Provincial and Local Education Special Fund,” he declared.
Meanwhile, Diplahan NHS shows its decreased number of Students at Risk of Dropping Out (SARDO) and increased enrolment this year as more students have enrolled and regularly come to school. Despite the fact that students have to wake up at quarter to 4 in the morning everyday, their academic grades are hardly affected. Instead, they display astonishing intellectual sinews and clarity.
With the tenacity of the LGU’s commitment to support the youth and the avowed goals of the education sector such as Education for All, eliminating SARDOs and promoting equality and equity on education, more youth have marched their ways to dawn upon them the bright lights of the future.
At school, learners are wringing the temptations of the clothes of yawning and drowsy faces while steady eyes of hopes are darted upon their dreams. They may be get up from bed at 3am and then start their day at 4am, when they are still fueled with vigor and fervor burning, this sacrifice is still worth the wake.