The schoolyear hasn’t been easy on anyone, but those in the provinces have had it extra, extra tough. In a normal non-pandemic year, rural schoolchildren already have to contend with long hikes just to get to class. But with Covid-19 causing schools to move to distance learning and virtual classes, many provincial students have found it very hard to even join in, given the lack of access to mobile phones or the internet.
But when it came to graduation, public schoolteachers weren’t going to let their students feel shortchanged any more.
The teachers in at a number of rural public schools—including Kimogkog Elementary School and Puntian Elementary School, both in Bukidnon; and Lawigan Elementary School and Tulatula Elementary School, both in Antique—decided that they were going to let their kids have the graduation they deserved.
If the kids weren’t going to have a graduation to go to, they were going to have the graduation go to them, no matter what. For this year’s “mobile graduations”, teachers from rural public schools built a small stage, complete with bunting and a tarp for background, and packed it all up to go.
While it was a post from the Lawigan Elementary that went viral, other schools have been having their mobile ceremonies over the past week. Lawigan’s graduation stage was unique, because it was loaded on a cart drawn by a carabao. The other schools used multicab trucks and pickups for their mobile stages.
This makeshift setup might not seem like a lot, but it affords students the opportunity to have their photos taken with their parents and truly mark the occasion—graduation being a potentially life-changing milestone they never take for granted.
According to sources who spoke to Coconuts, this heartwarming initiative was largely the schoolteachers’ idea, since many families would not be able to access the internet for virtual ceremonies. Approved by the local Department of Education offices, the mobile graduations were an inventive compromise that allowed students to experience a graduation ceremony with family members, but without having to violate social distancing protocols.
There’s absolutely nothing in these photos that isn’t going to warm every cockle of your heart—the proud parents, the shy students, the graduation march blaring over a tiny PA system, and hardworking teachers determined to give their students at least one good memory from SY2020-2021.
This article, Public school teachers in remote areas delivered graduations-to-go, by truck, pickup and carabao (PHOTOS), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.