Graduation Ceremony at Alcadev School, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao

source: Embassy of Belgium in Manila  Local Newsletter  |
On March 15, 2011, the 4th Graduation Ceremony of Alcadev School was held in Han-ayan, Diatagon, LiangaMunicipality, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. The Alcadev School, which is supported by the Belgian NGO “NewWorld” (Bevrijde Wereld), provides a basic education with agricultural skills for the local youth. Alcadev trains the students to become channels for introducing agricultural techniques and knowledge into their communities, while responding to their needs suited to their culture, protection of land and theenvironment. The graduation ceremony was attended by Mr Jozef Naudts, First Secretary, and Ms. AnneBloemen of the Belgian Embassy in Manila. Ambassador Mr. H.E Christian Meerschman who also intended to attend the graduation had to cancel at the last moment.
The guests of honor arrived in the afternoon of March 14 and were welcomed by the Mapasu Council, Alcadev’s board chairperson, Sr. Helen S. Makiling, school principal, Ms. Marife Magbanua, and the municipal mayor of Lianga, Mr. Roy Hegino Sarmen. After a short rest at the Kansilad beach resort the
visitors proceeded to the Alcadev school, an one hour ride in the mountains west of Lianga. Leaders and members of Mapasu Organization were greatly honored with this visit. To enable the visitors to attend the graduation day the Mapasu members worked hard, entirely voluntary, to repair the road portions that were badly damaged by heavy rains and floods earlier. An alternative bridge was erected one kilometer from the school site while deep bumpy portions were patched in order for the vehicles to pass. Excited and proud as
they are, the people organized themselves to be stationed in Barangay Diatagon waiting to meet the visitors and accompany the car including a caravan of motorcycles all the way to Alcadev School.

In the evening of March 14, 2011 Mapasu leaders, Alcadev staff and the different visitors who had arrived during the day attended a solidarity dinner. Before the dinner a ritual was held to request for the blessing of the local spirits. On the 15th of March, 20 Alcadev learners, of which 14 girls and 6 boys, were honored after having been confirmed graduates for the school year 2010-2011. This batch has left a breaking record with 17 graduates (100% of those taking the test) passing the Accreditation and Equivalence (A&E) test organized
by the Department of Education – Bureau of Alternative Learning System,  which is quite an achievement for an alternative learning school. Through Mr. Jozef Naudts, assisted by the chairperson of the board, Sr. Helen S. Makiling, the Belgian Embassy to the Philippines awarded gold medals to all A & E passers and to selected special awardees. In this tribute portion of the program short emotional scenes filled the morning. Parents were teary eyed after their graduates passed for the diplomas and certificates and hung them the medals they received.

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