DepEd tells students: Spend your summer vacation productively

MANILA, Philippines -- Education Secretary Armin Luistro called on to students yesterday to spend their summer vacation wisely by allocating more time with their families and doing worthwhile activities.

The summer vacation-which officially started on Monday, April 11-is among the most-awaited time of the year especially by the students. Among the activities suggested by the DepEd chief himself include organizing traditional summer games and tournaments such as sipa, tumbang preso, arnis, sungka, saranggola-flying and others under the leadership of the local Sanggunian ng Kabataan.

"It would also be nice to know, visit, and enjoy local culture, cuisine, traditions and beauty of the Philippine heritage sites and natural wonders with your family and barkada," he said.

Aside from recreational summer activities, Luistro encouraged students to do volunteer works particularly for housing projects such as those spearheaded by Gawad Kalinga or Habitat for Humanity. "They can also join activities which will protect the environment such as coastal cleanups and other greening initiatives," he said.

Luistro also encouraged everyone to join Brigada Eskwela, also known as the National Schools Maintenance Week which will run on May 23 to 28. "The Brigada Eskwela is a school maintenance program that engages all education stakeholders to contribute their time, effort and resources in ensuring that public school facilities are set in time for the forthcoming school opening," he said.

Students spending their summer vacation can also jam with their friends and play Original Pilipino Music. "Better yet, compose your own OPM band and organize a free concert in your local park," Luistro said.

The DepEd-through the Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs (CSCA)-has also opened its doors to students who want to turn their idle time into productive hours and needed income for school-related expenses through its annual Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

Though summer vacation is meant for students to take some time off from school works, Luistro reminded them-particularly those who have just graduated-to have the confidence to face and hurdle more difficult challenges ahead.

"The true value of education is in knowing that, as you graduate, you now have a bigger role to play in society and in our quest for a better nation for all Filipinos," Luistro said. "You, graduates are indeed the building blocks to make Philippines a prosperous nation," he added.

Recently, Luistro inspired graduating students in Payatas C Elementary School. The school, which is located in an urban poor district in Quezon City, was personally chosen by the DepEd chief to be the only commencement exercise he would attend this year.

Luistro encouraged the 321 graduates of Class 2011 to be part of the change the country needs and even gave them an assignment. "I have an assignment for you," said Luistro. "I hope you could make a good story that would change your life, our country, and change the world," he said.

He also opened DepEd's lines of communication to the students to saying that the stories-which will be emailed to him at sec@deped.gov.ph-will also serve as an inspiration to him. "I will share and cite your stories the next time I give a message like this," he said.

Luistro shared that he is always inspired when he sees young people graduate. "Given our situation now, this gives me inspiration and hope," he said. The DepEd chief added that students who go up the stage to get a diploma are "proof that the whole country is behind the youth." (With reports from MGL)

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