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Gabay Guro welcomes its biggest batch of scholar graduates

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Gabay Guro, the flagship teacher education program of the PLDT-Smart Foundation, recently celebrated the graduation of its 205 scholars in an event called Simpleng Handog.
Gabay Guro scholar Mel Vincent Salera
Gabay Guro scholar Mel Vincent Salera

Gabay Guro, the flagship teacher education program of the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), recently celebrated the graduation of its 205 scholars in an event called Simpleng Handog. The event, with the theme Accelerated, feted the 205 scholars and future educators with 11 graduates grabbing magna cum laude honors, and 78 with cum laude. To date, this is the biggest batch of scholar graduates for PSF’s Gabay Guro program. 
  
PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan inspired the graduates during the event, and highlighted the importance of educators: “We will continue to consider teachers as agents of transformation, as critical instruments of nation-building. You not only make our students attuned with the digital age, but you also offer hope to our youth. You teach them that dreams can fuel ambition, and ambition needs effort, and effort produces success.” 
 
He also emphasized the role of Gabay Guro as a program in equipping future educators with digital skills: “In this time of digital transformation, our responsibility to our students, to our parents, to our people, is to level up the quality of education that can be relevant and useful to the future of our youth, and the way to do that is to be digital.”
 
Education as a great equalizer 

According to Pangilinan, when Gabay Guro was conceived in 2007, the idea was to simply give every teacher an opportunity to be acknowledged and celebrated as an important part of our country’s educational system.
 
PLDT Senior Vice President for Financial Reporting and Controllership, and Gabay Guro Chairwoman Chaye Cabal-Revilla echoes this commitment: “In Gabay Guro, we believe passionately that education is a great equalizer. The ripple effect is even bigger when teachers benefit from higher education. They will pass on what they learn to the generations of students that they will mentor.”
 
“Simpleng Handog is a time for celebration,” Cabal-Revilla added. “We celebrate all the efforts and hard work of our scholar graduates. We hope that through the PSF and Gabay Guro, their lives have been changed for the better.” 

The graduating Gabay Guro scholars
The graduating Gabay Guro scholars

Through the years, Gabay Guro has reached out to thousands of students nationwide in order to help them reach their dreams. One such student is 20-year-old Mel Vincent Salera from Cebu Technological University. Graduating cum laude, Salera finished his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, majoring in Mathematics. 
 
During his second year in high school, Salera took a leave of absence from studying in order to take care of his grandmother. One day, while he was with his grandmother selling fish in the market, a teacher chanced upon Salera and encouraged him to finish his education. Inspired by the teacher’s genuine kindness, Salera began his dream of becoming a teacher. 
 
“Sino bang mag-aakala na ‘yung dating batang sumisigaw ng “Isda! Isda!” sa palengke ay cum laude graduate na ngayon?” Salera said. (Who would have thought that the boy who used to sell fish in the market is now a cum laude graduate?) 
 
“Here I am now fulfilling my dream of becoming a teacher – all thanks to Gabay Guro,” Salera added. 
 
Dreams have no timeline

One is never too old to dream. 26-year-old Elvy Mondejar finished her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education with a certificate in teaching senior high school from the Philippine Normal University – Agusan Campus. Graduating magna cum laude, Mondejar is extremely grateful for one of her life’s greatest blessing which is Gabay Guro. She was the first in her family to finish a four-year course in college while her brother finished a two-year vocational course. 
 
“When Gabay Guro found me, I was a struggling young lady who worked multiple jobs – from selling vegetables and metal scraps to working in a gasoline station,” Mondejar said. “Thank you, Gabay Guro, for taking a chance on me and investing in me. Thank you for making my dreams come true.” 

PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan
PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan

PLDT Vice President for Carrier Settlements and Business Operations, and Gabay Guro Head for Scholarships Melanie Manuel recognized the hard work and perseverance of every Gabay Guro scholar: “Our scholars are truly the embodiment of passion and dedication in creating waves of change. May each of them continue to pursue their dreams as they soar high into the world of possibilities.” 
 
PSF President Esther Santos emphasized the significance of education in one’s life: “In PSF, we have always believed how powerful education can be in changing lives. We hope that our Gabay Guro scholars continue to flourish as they become key players in nation-building.” 
 
Since 2007, Gabay Guro has given over 1,500 scholarship grants to students from nearly 50 partner schools nationwide. Over the years, it has produced over 1,000 graduates.