CENTEX at 15: Inspiring Young People to Dream
Twenty-year-old Robelle Soratioza lost her father when she was still in pre-school. After her father’s passing, her family barely got by. In their home in Tondo, Manila, Robelle’s mother would do a myriad of different jobs—do the laundry for neighbors, iron clothes, clean homes, and sell food.
“It’s amazing how our mother was able to support us through high school, and I was able to finish college,” shares Robelle. Robelle has two other siblings.
In 2013, Robelle graduated from the Technological Institute of the Philippines with a degree in Information Technology. During her graduation, Robelle received a Leadership Award from her school for all her leadership involvements in the school.
Her leadership values and many of the things she does now, Robelle attributes to the strong foundation she received from her primary school days—a school that helped her and her family through her education.
Robelle is one of the very first students of the Center of Excellence in Public Elementary School Education (CENTEX) Manila. Established in 1998, CENTEX is a project of Ayala Foundation Inc., and arunning partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), corporate sponsors, and local government units. It aims to provide bright but economically disadvantaged children with an education equal to that of the best private schools in the country.
“Ang laki nang naitulong ng CENTEX sa akin. Kung wala ang CENTEX, I don’t know where I would be right now,” shared Robelle.
CENTEX believes in improving the physical, financial, and human resources of an ordinary public school and seeks to be a model for private and government partnership. There are currently two CENTEX schools in the Philippines – one in Tondo, Manila, and one in Bauan, Batangas.
On March 17, CENTEX Manila celebrated its 15th anniversary with its all its partners and likewise acknowledged CENTEX Manila teachers who have been in the service for the past 5, 10, and 15 years, and have been models of the school’s core values – Integrity, Excellence, Commitment and Patriotism.
To date, a total of 1,106 students have graduated from both CENTEX schools, with a record of 95-percent elementary cohort survival rate, or the rate of grade one students who complete their elementary education.
In 2013, Robelle and her classmates from the very first batch of CENTEX students have graduated from college. A total of 39 alumni of the first batch of 75 students have already graduated. A number of alumni are likewise expected to graduate this year. From the first batch of CENTEX alumni they have now become registered nurses, a certified public accountant, a teacher, a psychology graduate currently in medical school, a political science graduate in currently in law school, among others.
“My hope for CENTEX is that it can help more people. I hope it can inspire more young people to dream,” says Robelle.
This year, CENTEX will run a series of Teacher Training programs in the Visayas and Mindanao for public elementary teachers and principals to help replicate the CENTEX experience in various public schools in the country. The Teacher Training program aims at improving the capacities of public school teachers and principals through a series of trainings and year-round mentoring sessions with focus on pedagogy, teaching methodology, and values integration. The Teacher Training program will be launched in April 2014 in Visayas and Mindanao.
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