STRING OF PEARLS: Principal matters PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 September 2011 15:22

BY Christine Y. Guinacaran

Today, I write about principals -- principals I know or just know of , who  mean business with their duties and responsibilities and use their authority to make the lives of  their students and teachers easier.  They are the principals who live their lives true to the profession or in other words, principals who matter.

Dr. Dolores B.  Alcantara-  In City High , we call her “The champion of Teachers’ Cause.”  When she took over our school (She was the superintendent then, it was the first time that all the advisers were given one big can of floor wax.  We were all surprised and the day after the distribution, all our rooms were noticeably   extraordinarily shiny and clean.  She also gave us G- tech — one black and one blue. ( For the readers who are not familiar with this, it is an expensive must-have  sign pen for teachers that is very ideal for writing in the class record and forms). She also gave us pilot pens for our visual aids and we could ask as much manila paper as we needed.  She also gave us a Christmas Party for free and distributed gifts to everybody during the party.  It was our topic till graduation! When we went to see her in the office, she was very accommodating and sincere that when you left the office, you were assured that your concern would be attended to right away.  She has recently retired but    when I think of the desire of Ma’am Dolly to make us happy, I renew my commitment  to myself to be worthy  of the people who have been kind to me and of the students who were entrusted to my care.

Henry Ongchua-  Who has not heard of Henry Ongchua in the teaching profession in Zamboanga City?  He is a catalyst. He did not  become my boss but we  were together in Labuan National High School as teacher-1.  He is a very industrious and competent  man.  His second name should be “Mr. Efficiency”.  I noticed that he has no qualms in taking up a challenge  even with  inadequate  budget.  He would  just do the best he could even with limited resources that he has, and come up with excellent results.  Now that he is principal in Zamboanga City High School-West, his school is known for being  immaculately clean with no hidden dirty place. I went there to proctor one time and I was situated on the second floor.  I tried to look around and I could not really find anything filthy about the place. All the rooms are well-structured and spotless!  He has also hired two utility personnel  whose sole duty is to chase the “ escapers”. I like the way he has given dignity to the students by requiring all of them to wear black shoes. The students are reputed to be disciplined and their MPS have also increased from 38.26% to 46.90% and their school rank has catapulted to rank 15 from rank 33 in the first year of his leadership. 

There is one particular thing that is very uplifting with “Mr. Efficiency” and it is his kindness to the parents who visit his school.  He would announce in the microphone that the parents are free to use the toilet in the office.  When I heard about this, I was overwhelmed with admiration for this disciplinarian of the West because in spite of his strict exterior, he is very kind even to ordinary people.

Ms. Miraluna Pakarat- During our PROBE  ( Project in Basic Education) days, we used to go to our satellite schools conducting trainings and workshops.  There was one particular school that was administered by an old sickly principal.  Her school was  so untidy with unkempt -- tall  grass in the plaza and litters  inside and outside  the school  building.  There was every evidence of an ailing  leader in every nook and cranny of the school. Even the students matched their surroundings.  They were rowdy and disrespectful with the principal, teachers and visitors. Then one time, when we had our workshop there again, we were astonished to see the  physical appearance of the  place improve  dramatically -- like a woman who just had a face lift!  Then we found out, that it was Ms. Pakarat who had just taken over the school.  Even the students, realizing that order was being implemented, seem to have a little reservation with their demeanor and did not freely joke and get fresh with the school authorities.  The grass was newly “barbered” and the floors of the building smelled floor wax and antiseptic.  The teachers were more brisk in their gait and more businesslike with their dealings. The school  took on an academic ambience as whole after that.

Ms. Anabella Orpinano-  Ms Orpiano is the principal of Labuan National High School (LNHS).  She was given   this position after being the  topnotcher  of the RATB examination- this is an examination for administrators.  She was the OIC principal during the time I was a teacher in Labuan.  One characteristic that is remarkable with Ms. Orpiano which I appreciate yet find it hard to emulate, is her willingness to spend her own money for the improvement of learning.  I was assigned as one of the librarians in LNHS and the only books that were available   in the library were the excess text books in the school.  This was a cause of great concern to our young principal, that she shelled out  her own money for the purchase of the books that we the librarians deemed interesting  and beneficial to the students. Now as principal of LNHS, she has no reservation in sending participants to school activities, and her students hold their own in  inter- school competitions.

Dr. Felisa I. Munar-  She  is City High’s latest treasure.  There are many things commendable about Dr. Munar,  but I just have to name a few (due to limited  space). One thing with Ma’am Munar, is that  she is very relevant.  Whatever the occasion, Ma’am Munar does not miss the point in her message. She never bores us with traditional speeches about missions, visions and education just for the sake of giving speeches. Her speeches are applicable and easy to remember.  In  her  everyday dealings with us,  you can see that she looks highly on each teacher, always implying that we deserve to be promoted.  As a result, we are encouraged to be better teachers  because we want to live up to the image that she has established on us.

According to the teachers of her previous school, she encouraged them to pursue further studies, and during her time with them, a lot of them were able to complete  a post graduate course.  I also admire how she has opened her office to anybody --  parents, students, teachers can just see her anytime. She is very accommodating to all and she acts promptly on the interests of her constituents.  She does not listen to gossip nor think ill of her teachers.  She is the kind who fires - up  your fervor that you are  stirred to do your best because you are happy and satisfied in work.  It seems that Ma’am Munar likes all the teacher to advance in their career and does not miss an opportunity to encourage them so. — e-mail:  guinac93 @gmail.com