My name is Queenie and I am currently a senior in high school. I have always had a passion for learning and exploring new subjects, which has shaped my academic journey thus far.
I was born and raised in a small town in Maasin City. I grew up with my two younger brothers Jake and Joloh. My family does not belong to the high-class elites in society. We are among the humble and simple netizens in the state faithfully contributing taxes to the nation. We live in the mountains far away from the city where the primary source of income is farming. I enjoyed a childhood of peace, in contrast to my parents who had grown up amidst intense trials and tribulations. My parents worked hard for us not to feel the hardships of life as they had experienced before. My mother is a teacher in our hometown and my father works in the city. Though my parents tried their best not to let us feel the toils of life we were still able to open our eyes to what is real. Expenses are still very hard on our end due to a lot of house expenditures most especially because we are an extended family. I am living together with my grandfather, my very own “Lolo Nanding” who would usually prepare breakfast and dinner for us, my superman. We don’t have our own house so we just stayed at Lolo’s. Together with us is my uncle Jezreel already in his thirties but still single, has no work, is addicted to cigarettes, and just staying at home adding to mother’s headache. However, even if my uncle doesn’t have a stable source of income, he still tried his best to be of help in the family through his side jobs, cooking meals for us and helping in the house chores. He serves as our second father most especially because my father is always not around. He would scold me if I did something bad, praise me if I did something good and he loved me as I am.
My life at our home usually goes like this: During the morning due to lack of water, I and my siblings would usually go to springs or so-called “tuburan” in our local dialect which is a steep downhill and 2-kilometer walk from our house just to take a bath and prepare for school. I would then pack all necessary stuff for my journey to school of course not leaving Mama’s special munchkins which I would later on sell at school.
In elementary school, I was an eager learner, always raising my hand to answer questions and participating in class discussions. I like most of my subjects and my favorite among all subjects is RECESS.
After the refreshment I would then get my special munchkins ready to be sold. “Oooohhh Munchkins mo dira!!!” (“Oooohhh, who like some munchkins!) my usual introduction for my retailing. If nobody was able to notice my presence, I would shout out louder and would go to my classmates and teachers personally to ask them if they are interested to buy some of my products. If a classmate of mine bought some of the munchkins the rest of my classmates would then be swarming around me just to buy munchkins. Before the day end all my sales are sold. Happily going home, I would give my sales to my mother usually around 50-100 pesos, she would then give me 6 pesos as “suhol” or my minimum wage and the rest would be used for our snack the following days.
As I transitioned into high school, new things suddenly came to arise like new people, new environment, new culture, and new learning to explore. I am currently enrolled in a boarding school. What makes it peculiar is that it’s free and it’s a “one in, one exit school”, what I mean by that is once you enter there is no turning back you will have to start the journey as a grade 7 and finish the journey as seniors, if you give up then there will be no more second chances.
I became more involved in extracurricular activities. I joined the school’s debate team, I also participated in various clubs, such as the science club and journalism club. I even tried to join sports like Arnis, Football, and Wushu.
I became the class president for almost 5 years which greatly helped me develop my leadership skills. During the managing of my classmates, I was able to encounter various personalities and varying perspectives about life. I was able to learn a lot of things from them and was able to discover lots of good points and bad points I possess. I encountered lots of fights and eventually was able to learn from it.
On March 11, 2020, the world was faced with the declaration from the World Health Organization that the novel coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic.
This news sent shockwaves across the globe, leading to the closure of schools, businesses shutting down, and a significant economic downturn. Our school was not exempt from these challenges, but we were determined to adapt and find solutions. Through the implementation of online and modular learning, we were able to continue our education.
Amidst this uncertain time, my anxiety grew, not for my own well-being, but for the safety and health of my family. I found solace in the knowledge that we were not alone in our struggles. The grace of a higher power and the dedicated efforts of the school staff helped us navigate through the challenges with relative ease. I made a conscious effort to keep myself occupied, diverting my attention from the gloomy situation. I poured myself into my academics, engaged in activities that brought me joy, and fervently prayed for global peace and healing.
As time went on, I became consumed by my daily routine, momentarily forgetting about the weight of the situation. Then, in September, a glimmer of hope appeared. We were finally granted the opportunity to communicate with our families after the long months of lockdown. The excitement and elation were palpable, and we were all filled with immense gratitude. Our communication was scheduled by family, and when our turn arrived, I rushed to the school’s E-Library, eager to connect with my loved ones. With anticipation, I logged into my Facebook account, hoping to see them online. However, my heart sank when I discovered their absence. In that moment, joy turned to worry, and sadness washed over me. Tears welled up in my eyes, and a mix of emotions consumed my being. I thought that I would not be able to get a chance to talk or even just to message to them and it was so heartbreaking. Suddenly, my eyes grew wide open, my mind processing the information I just read from my chat box “Hi ‘te must na man ka dira sa school, gi mingaw na mi nimo diri…” (Hi, you must be at school, we miss you here)my mother chatted. I started to cry out hard not because of sadness but this time of the joy and happiness I felt. I chatted with my whole family with all sincerity, wasting no time and was happy with the news that they were safe.
As I approach the end of my high school journey, I am excited about the next chapter of my life. Excited about the uncertainties of tomorrow and I am excited to continue learning, growing, and making a positive impact on the world. I wanted to be a broker and a lawyer, I am excited to venture on to this. Looking back, I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped me into the student I am today. I will continually remind myself of the strength and resilience I have shown throughout this journey called life.