DWAYNE Pido, 12, says that drawing is what he likes to do when he attends his classes and he is thankful that he found a place for his kind of passion at Alangalang National High School (ANHS) in a quaint town of Alangalang, a culturally rich town in Leyte province famous for its Lingganay Festival.
“I just love arts, and it makes me feel good that our school is giving us a special time to develop our talents,” Pido says.
Pido, along with 106 other students, belongs to the first batch of learners who will be promoted into the next level of their studies under the Special Program in the Arts (SPA) of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Leyte Division this March.
“Unlike in past, DepEd is now giving more emphasis to improve the talent, creativity, and awareness of high school students in arts. This is one way to unify and strengthen our culture,” says 27-year-old teacher Roy Aluel Pulma, who led Pido and 13 other students in their art exhibit during the SPA recital last Friday, March 9.
“The recital of the special program in the arts which we witnessed today is an emblem of a dream that takes a lifetime and not just be a dream of a lifetime,” said Dr. Ronelo Al Firmo, schools division superintendent of Leyte.
“I commend the efforts of our curriculum leaders for coming up with a proposal and finally have this SPA implemented, a vehicle that unleash the hidden talents of our learners and for making them instruments and inspiration in strengthening culture and arts in the municipality amidst highly modern era,” he added.
With the successful recital in Alangalang, Firmo said that SPA will soon be replicated in all secondary schools in the 40 towns under Leyte division.
Along with Alangalang National High School, the other three schools which already opened SPA are Palompon National High School, Isabel Comprehensive National High School, and Abuyog National High School.
Firmo said they chose Alangalang to be one of the first implementers "mainly because the town is known to be a haven of rich culture and heritage strongly coined with the Lingganay Festival.”
Ligganay Festival has etched a mark both in local and national scenes after it bagged top prizes in cultural and festival competitions from Pintados-Kasadyaan in Leyte to Sinulog in Cebu and Aliwan in Manila.
Firmo also acknowledged the support of the local government unit headed by mayor Reynaldo Capon Sr., with his tandem, retired Leyte schools division superintendent now Vice-Mayor Sarah Apurillo and the entire municipal council.
“Implementing a program like this on its first 2 or 3 years is quite a challenge, but the collaboration of everyone make things well facilitated and the journey becomes easy, lighter and fulfilling,” he added.
According to Warlettte Francisco Morados, SPA coordinator in Alangalang, students enrolled in their school are lucky because they can turn their skills in arts into a livelihood in the future.
SPA teachers have undergone training from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Morados said.
Music teacher John Hipe who handles the 30 students in rondalla said that joining SPA "is a good opportunity for them to improve their God-given talents."
Dr. Crisanto Daga, education program supervisor for Mapeh in Leyte said the introduction of SPA to all schools highlights the importance of developing multiple intelligence of the students.
Let us continue to give support to our students who have unique talents in music, dance, visual arts, drama, theater arts, and creative writing, Daga said.
“Some children are made and born for success and greatness, and each of them has the individual rights and capacity to excel and achieve something for themselves. Some may grow up academically great like Albert Einstein, some may be skillful and innovative like Bill Gates or a wonderful performer like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
"Maybe they can produce magnificent pieces out of words like William Shakespeare or produce internationally acclaimed masterpieces like our very own Juan Luna who painted the Spoliarium,” added Analie Antoni, the head teacher of ANHS.
In this very sense it is but proper to acknowledge that the learners should not be contained in the classical notion that success lies on academic-based knowledge but let us also recognize that there are talents and skills that make our children of great worth, Antoni said.
"Talents and skills in the field of arts like singing, dancing, drawing, painting, literary talent and the like, this type of talents that do not enclose itself in the academic language but is still translated as "education."