A lot of people would say that life is unfair. Yet many of those who experienced a lot of hardships managed to overcome the challenges and achieve their dreams!
Take for example Jonny Viray, a Doctor of Education who shared his inspiring story on DepEd Open Educational Resources (OER), a group on Facebook.
Because he was born to a poor family, Viray grew up with a lot of difficulties. The family never experienced celebrating special events such as birthdays and graduations because they were too poor to buy special food. They didn’t even have pancit, he recalled.
Even when he graduated from high school as salutatorian, his family didn’t celebrate the occasion. He ended up going to one of his classmates’ house to enjoy a graduation party.
Back in elementary, Viray could only afford to buy lugaw with his meager allowance of Php2. But by the time he went to high school, things were even worse because he barely had anything to eat.
Believing it was best to put his children to a private school, their father enrolled them at Pampanga Institute in Masantol, Pampanga. He had to pay Php244 per month. It wasn’t really expensive for most people but for the struggling family, it meant having less money for food. So, Viray often fainted because of hunger.
He was ready to quit school out of shame for always passing out due to hunger, but his Filipino teacher Mrs. Juliet “Jhet” Jimenez encouraged him to stay.
“Kung titigil ka kase gutom ka, lalo kang magugutom bukas kung hindi ka mag-aaral; may pag-asa pa,” she said.
The words of encouragement worked. Viray stayed in school. Mrs. Jimenez also made sure to bring extra food for Viray, ensuring that he never fainted out of hunger again.
Though he graduated as salutatorian, his parents were not able to throw him a graduation party. Afterwards, he learned that he could not proceed to college because his parents couldn’t really afford to send him to school.
So, Viray became a ‘kargador’. The job is physically difficult, but his pride was hurt the most. He had so many dreams for the future, but he was too poor to reach any of them. Or so he thought.
“Tapos kapag nakikita ko yung mga classmates ko nung high school, nagtatago ako. Nagtatago ako sa hiya. Nahihiya ako kase alam nila na mataas ang pangarap ko tapos nasa pantalan ako. Hindi ko ikinahihiya ang trabaho ko pero sadyang nakakalungkot talaga kapag hindi mo maabot ang pangarap mo,” he shared.
But God works in mysterious ways, indeed. One day, Viray’s mother met Ms. Mafalda L. Manansala, his former Economics teacher who’s recently moved near their home. After learning that he’s working at the port, the teacher invited him to become a working student.
The young man happily agreed, juggling his time for work and his studies. He did not mind walking to his school or workplace, even if the distance between Masantol and Macabebe is around 17km.
What’s really sad is that he was belittled for being “just a servant” by some people. It hurt but he used those words as inspiration to try harder. Soon, he graduated as Magna Cum Laude from his education course! He worked at a call center to fund his LET review.
The Department of Education (DepEd) accepted him as teacher in 2013. The job also gave him the opportunity to further pursue his studies at Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University where he finished his Master of Arts in Education Major in Educational Management.
Afterwards, he completed his Doctor of Education. The former ‘kargador’ happily shares his journey to becoming a Doctor of Education to inspire others. Congratulations po, Dr. Jonny Viray!