Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated every October 5 to mark the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation regarding the Status of Teachers.
But the day can also be our opportunity to express our gratitude toward the people who challenged us with seemingly unsolvable lessons and tests, shaped our minds and character, and made us believe we were capable of doing so much more. (Read: 3 Misconceptions About Your Father-In-Law, Debunked!)
Two broadcasters and two beauty queens look back on how their favorite teachers made a huge impact on their lives. To them, these professors and class advisers are much more than just teachers: they are also second parent, mentor, inspiration, and friend.
You might say Ateneo elementary teacher Sansan Borja “discovered” broadcast journalist and occasional actor Atom Araullo. “When Atom Araullo was Grade 3, he was my student,” said Teacher Sansan in a video for stepupph.org. “I took a look at him and said, ‘this kid can be Oliver Twist.’”
Despite his shyness, Atom followed his teacher’s gentle prodding. “And then I think from then he never looked back,” she said with a smile, of her student who continued to take on lead roles in Ateneo Children’s Theater until he was Grade 7. “Sometimes it’s just as simple as that, you see something in the student then you push them.” (Read: From Pupil to Pope: Lolo Kiko During His Schoolboy Days)
In a letter to his favorite teacher, Atom expressed his admiration for the lady who encouraged him to come out of his shell. “Lalo tuloy akong namangha nang ialay mo ang iyong buhay sa isang napakahirap ngunit napakarangal na propesyon,” he wrote. “Sabi mo sa akin noong isang linggo sa Facebook proud ka sa akin. Pero ang totoo, mas proud kami sayo.”
She placed third in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant, graduated magna cum laude in her architecture degree at the University of the Philippines, and topped the 2010 Architect Licensure Examination.
After all her success, Shamcey Supsup-Lee has one other dream: to be a teacher. “Because I think a teacher has a great influence on her students,” she said in an interview. “Like ako, I have some great teachers that I can remember and I want to be like that.”
Apparently, she made quite an impression on them too. Upon her return to the Philippines, the country’s representative to Miss Universe toured the Metro. Among her stops was her alma mater, Makati High School, where she graduated salutatorian in 2003. (Read: Anti-Terror Bill: Beauty Queens Urge Filipinos to Speak up, Be Informed)
Even then, Edita de Jesus, Shamcey’s class adviser and English teacher, saw potential in the budding beauty queen. “She was a consistent honor student…(and) was even sent to Japan as an exchange student and to Baguio for a leadership training,” says the proud teacher.
Before he was the evening news’ weatherman, the host of educational shows like the award-winning Matanglawin, and everybody’s kuya, Kim Atienza was a college student. At the University of Santo Tomas, he majored in education for a year then transferred to the University of the Philippines (UP), where he took up film at UP’s Film Institute.
There, he met his favorite teacher, Prof. Arminda V. Santiago, who was appointed dean of the College of Mass Communications (CMC) last February. (Read: Kuya Kim Shares Heartfelt Letter From His Son On His Graduation Day)
“What a pleasant surprise to find out that my favorite teacher in UP CMC is now dean of the college!” Kim said in a post on Facebook. “Armi Santiago taught me the basics of photography and film waaay back in the 80s.”
Virtual Binding of Synthetic Nucleoside Angalogues and Phyto-brassino steroids to NS5 Dengue Virus mRNA 2’-o-Methyltransferase Domain Using Dock Software: this mouthful of words is actually the title of the undergrad thesis of Ariella “Ara” Arida, third runner-up of Miss Universe 2013.
Originally a veterinary medicine major at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, the beauty with brains shifted to chemistry in her second year and completed the degree in 2010. (Read: 5 Pinay Beauty Queens Who Are Leading the Fight Against COVID-19)
She credits her academic adviser, Prof. Ernesto J. del Rosario—Sir EJ to his students and one of the country’s leading experts in biofuel—for being more than a teacher to her. “Sir, salamat sa lahat ng wisdom,” she wrote to the “coolest and smartest teacher she has known” on the acknowledgment page of her thesis. “Mapa-Science, Philo, Psy, religion, love life, in short, anything under the sun, ang dami nyo pong natuturo sa akin.”