BALANGA CITY, Bataan – “Napakasaya ko dahil hindi ko ineexpect na mabibigyan ako ng award… Ang dami-daming teachers pero bakit isa ako sa nakasama?” Dr. Bernadeth Bernalte Gabor said in an interview about her recent accomplishment – she is one of the four honorees of Bato Balani Foundation Inc.’s ‘The Many Faces of the Teacher 2017’.
After finishing her education in Balut Elementary School and Bataan National High School, she took her undergraduate degree in BS Industrial Education major in Food Technology at Bataan National School of Arts and Trades, her Masteral degree in Education major in Technology and Home Economics at Bataan Polytechnic State College, and her Doctorate degree in Philosophy major in Technology Education at Rizal Technological University. Fast forward to June 2016 up to this date, she is the Dean of the College of Technology in Bataan Peninsula State University.
Bato Balani Foundation Inc., the award-giving body, is a non-stock, non-profit organization engaged in the conceptualization and implementation of education development programs. Yearly, they search for four to five (4-5) honorees all over the country that involves teachers who have advocacies aside from working in the four corners of a classroom. Fortunately, after careful screening, validation, interviews, and visitation, Dr. Gabor made it as one of this year’s “Many Faces of the Teacher” out of more than 100 nominees.
Her advocacy is called “Hope Behind Bars” in which she, her co-workers, and other volunteers conduct different skills training for the detainees of the Bataan District Jail. Dr. Gabor firmly believes that not all those who are in jail have committed crimes and that maybe those who have committed crimes, have already changed for the better. “Tayo ang dapat tumulong sa kanila para mas magkaroon ng direksyon yung buhay nila paglabas,” she said.
The skills training that they offer to the detainees include bread & pastry production, food & beverage services NC II, housekeeping NC II, refrigeration & air-conditioning, welding & fabrication NC II, automotive NC II, candle-making, t-shirt printing, and dress-making. She said that once they have finished their training, there will be a TESDA assessment and graduation. When they are finally released from jail, a certificate from BPSU and TESDA will be given to them, making them ready to be productive in the outside world again.
Asking Dr. Gabor what she felt when she received the award, she said “nung panahong nagturo ako sa jail, I’m not expecting any reward. Ang sakin lang, sige magtuturo ako, dahil I’m into community service naman.” She didn’t even know that an award like that actually exists, so when she received it, she felt so fulfilled. “Yun palang ginagawa ko noon, eto na inaani ko na siya, na binibigay sakin ni Lord yung recognition,” she added.
Moving forward, she vows to continue living up to her advocacy in helping the detainees. In fact, it is not only her advocacy to give hope to the persons behind bars that has happened, but giving them hope gave back hope in her life as well.