“Handa sa hamon ng buhay.”

This is a former ALS student’s message to the graduates of DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) in Calamba City, Laguna on Friday, August 3.

A few days ago, photos of Jemuel Morato with his mentor/teacher Ma’am Yayo Banzuela were shared on the latter’s Facebook wall.

The teacher from the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS) in Calamba City was so proud to share Jemuel’s story to her friends and colleagues on the social media platform.

Ms. Banzuela  was truly surprised with her former student’s achievements when he came to visit her in the institution which had been his second home some years ago.

Apparently, it was no ordinary short visit.

Photo by Yayo Banzuela via Facebook

On her post she narrated Morato’s remarkable journey after he graduated in 2012.

She was so elated after learning that Morato, who was one of her former boisterous students in ALS, had become an achiever.

After passing the Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency (ALS A&E) Test in 2012, Morato furthered his education in college and actually became an educator himself; passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) on his first take.

He had the privilege of teaching in two private schools in Laguna – Morning Star Montessori School and St. Benilde International School, but after a while he decided he wanted to become a part of the institution which paved the way for him to have a new chance in life.

Moreover, Morato also found his niche in photography and is now a graphic artist, too.

An amazing twist to a former ALS student’s journey, indeed!

Photo via Jemuel Morato’s Facebook account

Ma’am Banzuela couldn’t be any prouder; sharing that: “Ang batang hindi nakakalimot mangamusta ay bumabalik ngayon sa kanyang pinanggalingan. Hindi lang para mangamusta, kundi upang magsilbi at tumulong din sa mga dating katulad nya. Sobrang ipinagmamalaki talaga kita! Hindi lang kita estudyante noon, dahil alam kong magiging KATRABAHO pa kita. Masaya ako sa iyong tagumpay! Ipinagdasal ko talaga ito. Nawa’y maging instrumento ka din sa mga kabataang tulad mo noon ay hindi nawalan ng pag-asa at patuloy na nangarap. Maraming salamat at hindi mo kami binigo. Welcome sa Deped Calamba City! Welcome sa Als Calamba!”

[The youth who never forgets where he came from. Not just to check on us, but to serve and help others like him before. So proud of you! You’re not just my former student, because I know we will now become co-teachers. I’m happy with your success! I really prayed for this.  Hoping you’ll also be an instrument in inspiring others like you before who never lost hope and aimed for their dream. Thank you, for not failing our expectations. Welcome sa Deped Calamba City! Welcome sa Als Calamba!”]

Photo by Jose Leo Pamplona

Yes, Morato is now part of the team which pushed him to reach for his dreams and have a better life. And his first important task? Being on stage, but this time as the very special guest speaker of the 2018 graduates!

He now belongs to an exceptional group whose dedication to their chosen profession is so admirable. You see, being an ALS educator requires much patience and perseverance because they mostly deal with students who have to be regularly boosted into continuing their education despite being overage or having personal challenges in life.

Sir Morato is now an inspiration to his fellow ALS graduates and to his present batch of students in Calamba.

Photo via Jemuel Morato’s Facebook account

The Alternative Learning System

The Alternative Learning System Accreditation and Equivalency (ALS A&E) Test, formerly known as the Non-formal Education A&E Test, is a paper and pencil test designed to measure the competencies of those who have neither attended nor finished elementary or secondary education in the formal school system.

Passers of the A&E Test are given a certificate/diploma, bearing the Department of Education (DepEd) seal and the signature of the Secretary, certifying their competencies as comparable graduates of the formal school system. Passers are qualified to enroll in secondary and post-secondary schools.

This is DepEd’s solution mostly for the overage, out-of-school youth (OSY) and dropouts; an opportunity given to those who want to have a chance to improve their lives through education.

Hail to ALS and all its educators!

Photo via Jerick Anas