PrepErya 2022 sparks quality education advocacy amid transition
By Kathrina Marie Catiis and Kyle Victoriano
Prepared by Isha Cagunot

Aiming to ignite the advocacy for free and accessible quality education, PrepErya 2022 immersed Gabayanos through a series of talks about the current education sector and Ateneo Gabay’s initiatives last October 4 this year at the Escaler Hall.

Unlike its past iterations, PrepErya 2022 was a one-day event centered on the discourse regarding the state of the education sector under the transition of government terms and learning modalities, as well as how Ateneo Gabay’s Education Operations (EdOp) committee stood its ground in the midst of these difficulties. The event aimed to prepare scholars about Erya insertions to teach kids in partner schools and offer a fresh perspective on the initiatives of EdOp for public elementary school students while extending the organization's advocacy.

Hosted by Cass Quisay and Missy Albangco, the event commenced with welcoming remarks from current EdOp Committee Head Rona Simbajon, and consisted of three talks from four different speakers, respectivel

The first talk of Dr. Carmela C. Oracion, the Director of the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED), featured the state of the education sector of the Philippines under the direction of Former President Rodrigo Duterte and Incumbent President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

“Hindi kasi alam o nararanasan ng mga tao sa itaas ang mga tunay na nangyayari sa ibaba,” Dr. Oracion claimed, stressing how even we, as students of Ateneo de Manila University, have power and must utilize that to reach those in need.

It was then followed with a talk from Ms. Jihannah Genova, a former Gabayano who is presently a Grade 4 Teacher-In-Charge at Assumption Antipolo. She shared her sentiments regarding the education sector at the present time, especially her experiences as a new teacher put under a hybrid learning system.

Lastly, former EdOp committee heads, Ambross Elvin John Sumaylo (4 AB IS) and Myra Joanna Arce (4 AB POS-MPM), revealed the hurdles they had encountered during their time as committee heads, specifically regarding the transitions, changes, and decisions undertaken by EdOp under this new educational situation, and how the concept of ‘pagtataya’ applied to their endeavor.

Sumaylo expressed his grievances over the education system amid the pandemic, saying, “Hindi naging tapat ang Pilipinas at ang buong konteksto sa pangako na walang batang maiiwan.” The pair also enumerated their struggles in making Erya operational despite the online set-up, but nevertheless pushed through because of their love for the sector. “Ang pagtataya ay isang araw-araw na pagpili, ang pagtataya ay panghabambuhay na pag-ibig,” Arce stated.

To cap the event off, the audience was asked to participate in a simple activity wherein they shared their dreams and plans for the Erya Kids, the public elementary school kids from Holy Spirit ES and Industrial Valley, located in Quezon City and Marikina, respectively. A video footage featuring current EdOp members, previous EdOp committee heads, and Erya Kids who have graduated already then sent out a query to the audience asking “For you, what is Erya?”

The event proceeded with a short raffle portion and concluded with its closing remarks from the current EdOp committee head, Pat Ludovice. “Paglabas natin, may isang malaking Erya na naghihintay sa atin. Prepared ka na ba? Tara, Erya!,” Ludovice ended, urging everyone to look forward to the upcoming EdOp initiatives.

Overall, PrepErya 2022 garnered a 4.928 rating from its 46 participants, 38 of which were situated on-site while the rest were online in a Zoom call. The event would not have been made possible without the contributions of event’s core team: Rona Simbajon, Pat Ludovice, Cass Quisay, Step Josef, KM Catiis, Nadine Dante, Sab Libay, Evea Alviso, Sarah Cutaran, Nor Villarin, Kyla Estorba, Cath Golles, and Mariella Gerelingo.