If there was one thing that I never expected I would do as a BSMT student, it was visiting public and private high schools in Iligan City and speaking in front of the pupils to promote our course with Lyceum’s Marketing Team. It was around 8:30 am that sunny Tuesday and I was seated at a makeshift bench outside the gate waiting for the bell to ring, when I noticed the school van going towards my direction.
It was Sir Lavińa and he asked me if I could join them for a visit to different high schools. What? What would I do there? I thought that he was just joking, but when he offered to ask permission from my teacher (who happened to be C/M Legaspi), I realized that he really meant it.
But, I did not want to miss my class so I refused and went away. However, Sir Lavińa was persistent. He told me to just try and to see what the experience could give me. Actually, I was not interested, let alone gain any experience with this school visit thing because it had nothing to do with my dream of being a seafarer. So, I felt a little bit cornered. In fact, I was perspiring profusely. I was forced to hop in not knowing what to do next. And, when you are suddenly seated inside a van with people who are complete strangers to you, you get a little uncomfortable. I wanted to jump out and be with my classmates.
Inside the van were Ma’am Edith Ocon, Lyceum’s Guidance Counselor and two other students from Iligan Capitol College who I later learned were CBA Marketing OJTs. She showed me the school’s magazines and told me that my job was just to distribute them to the pupils after her short talk. As simple as that? Okay, so it was just easy. I browsed over the magazines and finally managed to smile. But then, she added. “Mag share pod ka sa mga pupils sa imong experiences as a BSMT student. Emphasize why you chose to enroll in Lyceum, why you are proud of Lyceum and why they should enroll in Lyceum”.
“Haaaaaaa?” I was totally caught by surprise. “Ipa istorya ko nimo sa atubangan sa mga istudyante Maam? I asked. “Yes”, she replied. “Because what you will share to them is a first hand experience and this will also inspire them to enroll in Lyceum”.
“Nah, di ko maam oi! Di nako na makaya!”, I quickly replied. “Di gani ko maka recite sa klase namo, kana pa anang daghang istudyante sa laing iskwelahan!”. All of a sudden, my hands became wet and cold. My heart pounded fast. This was insane! “Kaya lagi na nimo”, Ma’am Edith said. “Don’t worry I will guide you. The ICC student will also share his experiences”.
I wanted to protest, but when I looked at the ICC student, he was just smiling. On the way to Sta. Elena High School, I could hardly breathe. I was shaking! I regretted having sat at the bench outside Lyceum. I should have gone straight to the library. But, there was no way I could back out anymore. I was already seated there with them. Sir Lavińa told me to start my sharing by introducing my name first and then explain why I chose to enroll in Lyceum. He also told me to mention the school’s world class facilities and equipment. He kept on talking but I could not comprehend anymore because I was overwhelmed by fear. My mind wandered around. “Di lagi ko sir!”, I insisted. “Ang taga ICC lang ang ipa share sir!”
“Dili pwede kay ICC man na siya. Ikaw ang mo istorya para sa LYCEUM”, Maam Ocon blurted out. “Ayaw lagi kahadlok, kay sayon ra kayo na basta maka sugod na ka ug istorya”. Oh my God! It was like I was thrown into a lion’s den! I decided to gather all my English words and silently memorized my introduction. “My name is………” , “ I enrolled in LYCEUM because……”. “Pastilan, paita ani oi! Mura man noon ug kasukaon ko oi!”, I said. But, they just laughed at me.
In just a few minutes, we finally arrived at the Sta. Elena High School. Sir Lsvińa went straight to the Principal’s Office and we were ushered to the senior high school room, where the students were already waiting. The whole place is nice, with all the trees around. Their room is also spacious with a big flat screen TV in front, quiet unexpected for a public high school that is far from the city proper.
But, I could not totally appreciate the entire scenery because I felt so uneasy. There were many pupils inside the room, and I started to have goose bumps. To my surprise, when Ma’am Edith Ocon finally introduced me to the pupils, they shrieked! I thought they saw something frightening, but they were all smiling at me. The girls and the gays giggled a lot, and it was so infectious that I could not help myself but to laugh with them. The ones in front were a little flirty and they kept on moving to get my attention.
Perhaps, their giggles helped me feel at ease so when I started talking, everything just went on smoothly as if I prepared my sharing in advance. I did not even notice that they were already asking me some questions. I laughed with them, I joked with them and I enjoyed the whole time with them even if my English was a little crooked. It was an experience that I could not forget, but I was happy because I was able to do it without any preparation. Ma’am Edith Ocon told me that I did well, and that the pupils enjoyed my sharing very much. What a nice comment, indeed for an ordinary student like me. In fact, I found it very fulfilling.
On board the van again, I suddenly looked forward to the next sharing. Next stop was Sacred Heart High School in Sta Filomena where Dan Mabano, a third year BSMT student was said to have graduated in high school. It was funny because I was no longer afraid to speak in front of the pupils. I was even more excited to do it again. Sir Lavińa was right. All I needed to do was just to try it and to see what the experience could give me. Of course, if they will ask me to join their school visits again, I’ll gladly do it for Lyceum.