Monday, January 18

Grandma, 71, graduates grade school

URDANETA CITY , Philippines  – She was the proudest graduate in the class.
And with good reason, for it was not easy for Filomena Zamora, 71, of Sitio Tambuyoc, Barangay Cayambanan, to realize her dream of earning her elementary diploma.
She faced strong opposition from her family, especially her five children, when she made known her intention to study.
Filomena’s children were afraid that she would be humiliated in school because of her old age.“Aren’t you ashamed? Your classmates are very young,” her daughter reportedly told her.
But her children’s apprehensions did not dampen her spirit.
She asked them to understand her craving for education, her desire to learn to read and write.
Last Monday, Filomena proved to all that education has no age limit when she graduated from Tambuyoc Elementary School.
Filomena related to The STAR how, accompanying her granddaughter Joana, then in grade one at Tambuyoc Elementary School, she was inspired to go to school.
“I felt then that I wanted to study,” Filomena told The STAR yesterday.
She then inquired about the possibility of studying despite her age.
When she got the nod of Joana’s teachers, Filomena patiently went to school everyday with her granddaughter.
Her granddaughter moved up to second grade while she, at 66, was admitted in first grade.
She recalled that she would appeal to her classmates, who called her lola (grandmother), to help her read and write.
She also shared that it was Joana who would tutor her and help her with assignments.
There were times that Joana would get mad at her because she couldn’t cope with their lessons, but lola would appeal for patience.
Filomena said mathematics was her weakness.
“I know how to add, subtract but when it’s multiplication and division then carry one, borrow one, oh that made me crazy,” she said laughing.
Dr. Cresencio Alejo, the school principal, said the jolly grandmother easily adjusted to school life.
“Initially, her hands were so stiff when she was learning how to write and she slowly read syllables,” Alejo said. “But she was everybody’s lola.”
He also admired Filomena for being diligent and for taking care of the ornamental garden in school.
Filomena was given the Most Helpful award during their graduation.
She was also the one who read the Pledge of the Graduates, a privilege normally given to a salutatorian.
“Is that so, sir?” the surprised but visibly honored Filomena told Alejo, as she firmly clutched the diploma she had longed for.









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