February 21, 2011

From afar the noises from this classroom might sound like those of children reciting nursery rhymes, hungry for knowledge and hopeful of what the future might bring.

But these students are way past their prime. In fact, most of them are already grandparents who have only begun lessons on reading and writing. For them, it is never too late.

Lola Remedios is one of the students in the class. At 66, she is at Kindergarten and has only started to learn how to read and write. For most of her life, she could not read the signs around her and could not even write her own name.

A few months ago Remedios was recruited by Teacher Cathy to an Alternative Learning System (ALS) class where out of school youths and adults are taught basic education. Today, Remedios can spell her name albeit in a childish scrawl.

Although already 78, Lola Catalina is the most active and participative student in class. Her advanced age and blurred vision have not stopped her from attending the weekly sessions. Lola Catalina was able to finish elementary school when she was still young but was never able to enter high school. In attending Teacher Cathy’s class, she hopes to receive her most coveted high school diploma.

The only male student in class is Lolo Bartolome. At 72 he takes pride in his aptitude in math especially in arithmetic and fractions. His education in the ALS has given him confidence to declare that he might even be able to defeat any high school student in a math contest.

The shy Lola Remedios, the hyper active Lola Catalina and the confident Lolo Bartolome are only three of the many adult students in Teacher Cathy’s class. Their different personalities combined with the irritability brought about by old age are a lot to handle for just any teacher. Thankfully Teacher Cathy is not just any educator. She, herself, is a product of late education which is proof that it is never too late to study and learn.

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