Contributed by: Carrie Tharan, Synergeia Program Officer for Bohol
Amidst the gloom and doom of the pandemic are stories of kindness and compassion, of hope, and strength of character and tenacity of the spirit.
The story of Scott Angelo, a 19 yr old senior high school student of Pagnitoan National High School, a rural school in Maribojoc, Bohol is a story of struggle, of perseverance and hard work.
At a very young age, his parents separated, leaving him to the care of his paternal grandfather and aunt. His mother moved to another province and he does not have any recollection of her. His father also left for another place and has since raised a family.
Scott’s grandfather and aunt took care of him until he was in 8th grade when he was forced to leave home because his aunt could no longer afford to support him. From then on, his life was one of moving about from one friend’s house to another, working as an errand boy in exchange for shelter and food. He became a houseboy and later also worked at a ‘carinderia,’ an eatery. In school, he sold snacks to earn a few pesos as pocket money. At night and weekends, he worked at internet cafes to partially support his schooling. Later, a teacher adopted him under the AGAK Program, a province-wide DepEd initiative of caring and nurturing wherein teachers give support to poor deserving students. Scott was provided with financial assistance to help him pay for school fees and school projects.
In the midst of these struggles, Scott Angelo found comfort and solace in his classmates and teachers who were very supportive of him, cheering him, encouraging him to carry on and believing in his capacity to fulfill his goals. Thus, he was highly motivated to do well in his studies. Scott earned honors in Grade 11. He won as Student Government President and garnered 8th place at the Provincial Video Tour Guiding contest in Bohol. In his senior years, he participated in Technical and Vocational Livelihood related contests.
During this pandemic, he lives with a newfound friend who has offered to shelter him and provide food. In exchange, he does house chores and helps his friend with his school work. Managing time has become a real challenge for him especially as he also has Friday deadlines to beat to be able to accomplish his school work.
The daily grind of waking up early in the morning, meditating and saying prayers, doing household chores, completing module assignments, is a testament to the struggles of this young man.
Scott Angelo remains hopeful and persevering. He says:
“My classmates are lucky to have their parents beside them, guiding and supporting them in their studies. I am on my own. But I am also fortunate to have met people along the way, who have encouraged me and motivated me to persevere in life and in my studies despite my difficult circumstances. God has given me a life and I need to take every opportunity that comes along and make the best out of it.”