For bravery, girl gets free school-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
DESPITE her small features, nine-year-old Rhea Tisoy never thought of herself as a hero.
Until one fateful Monday night, when a fire struck her village, Sitio Hawod, Barangay Bulacao in Talisay City that destroyed about five houses, including that of Rhea’s family. The blaze also killed Rhea’s three-year-old cousin, Mark Lester.
Rhea, a Grade 3 student of the Bulacao Elementary School, became an unlikely hero in the face of a family tragedy after she rescued her year-old brother, Rayven Anthony, from being trapped from their burning house.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Rhea revealed that just before the fire started, she was playing inside her mother’s room. Her room was adjacent to the room of her twin brothers Mark Lester and Mark Anthony.
When she heard the twins shouting for help, Rhea noticed that fire was coming out from the ceiling. While her father, Antonio, and other members of the family immediately took out water buckets to douse the flames, Rhea immediately carried her sleeping brother and brought him outside.
Outside their house, Rhea saw the flames growing. While her father and relatives were
carrying the children, she noticed that Mark Lester was not with them. But Mark Anthony was able to escape the house after she tagged along with his adopted mother.
Alarmed, she and her older relatives returned to the burning house in an attempt to rescue Mark Lester, but they weren’t able to after the fire tried to push them back.
“Ang kayo murag nipurma og tawo. Musige ra ug dasmag para dili mi kasulod (The flames looked like people. It pushed us, keeping us out),” said Rhea’s father Antonio, in a separate interview.
Rhea said that she cried when she heard Mark Lester cried out just before the fire totally engulfed him.
Four days since the fire, Rhea said she tried to live normally without remembering what had occurred. She said she had not gone to school for two days, but explained that she was just helping her family in salvaging what’s left of their house.
Yesteday, Cebu City Councilor Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba met Rhea, who is an incoming Grave 4 student in Quiot Elementary School, and her family in his office in City Hall and vowed to shoulder Rhea’s education from elementary to college.
She will be transferred by Alcoseba from Quiot to Southwestern University the next school year where the councilor also has a pool of scholars.
When she reaches college, Alcoseba said Tisoy can take whatever course she wants.
“And if she needs allowances and other expenses such as buying books, ato ra pod siyang tabangan,” the councilor added.
Asked what she wants to be, the nine-year-old child said she wants to be a teacher so she can help and enhance the knowledge of other kids.
In granting her scholarship, Alcoseba said he only wants to help Tisoy and her family and make sure that she will have a better future.
The three-term councilor is running for Provincial Board member in this year’s elections in the first district of Cebu Province where Talisay City is part of.
“Mas maayo man gud ning pa-eskwalahon nato siya kaysa hatagan nato ug financial assistance kay ang kwarta mawa ra man pero ang scholarship makatabang gyud sa iyang kaugmaon (It’s better to send her to school instead of giving financial assistance since it will help her future),” he said.
Alcoseba then asked the child to maintain her grades at school so the scholarship will be sustained.
Aside from granting her a scholarship, Alcoseba also gave Tisoy yesterday P2,000 and relief goods. They are among the five families who lost their homes.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2013.