FOR a child who was raised in poverty and deprived of many things in life, education was the only way out to rise above the challenges.
Giovanni Montejo, last April 8, completed his Doctorate in Philosophy, Major in Educational Management at Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC).
He said that his father had always been his inspiration to pursue success in the field of teaching.
“When a was a lot younger, I would ask my father for more coins because I want to always eat junk foods as I envied my friends but he reprimanded one day that we are not that rich to buy for extra snacks,” Giovanni recalled.
He took his father’s words truly and realized that he needs to earn money so he could buy what he wants and what he needs.
“And what other way to have break from poverty? Education. I made sure I do well in class so someday, we’ll have a taste of how it is like living beyond what we used to,” he added.
But it was not easy for him to get education, he has to work early to continue going to school.
"Pait kaayo akong kaagi sa elementary pako. Diha'y pukaon ko ni papa kaadlawon kay managat na mi, mouban ko sa lawod, pagdunggo namo ana, si mama na pod ang mobaligya sa among kuha, (It was really hard for my family when I was still in elementary. My father would wake me up early in the morning to go fishing at sea. When we get back to shore, it will be my mother who will sell our catch)," he said, adding that on Saturdays and Sundays, when he is not around, his mother accompanies his father in fishing.
He also shared spending part of his college life as a student assistant at HCDC while taking up Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSEd) Major in Mathematics.
“I was a vendor at the HCDC school canteen then I moved as a working student at the Assumption College of Davao (ACD) to sustain my education,” he said.
After graduating, he found himself teaching Mathematics and Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) at ACD.
Twenty years of rigorous work earned him as academic coordinator position at ACD-Sunday High School Education Program (ACD-SHSEP).
Giovanni is promoted as the Dean of the same college where he served as student assistant.
Ten years from now, he still sees himself as the Dean of College of ACD.
"Unya dako na kaayo ang college nga akong gidala, unya daghan na og mga accredited courses offered (The college would hopefully grow in numbers by then and there are already a lot of accredited courses offered)," he said.
He would visit his parents in Peñaplata, Island Garden City of Samal and treat them with what they could not afford then.
“Antos lang gyud aron makalabang (We just have to endure what life gives us),” he said.