Back to regular programming: HOPE classrooms welcome back students for face-to-face classes

With the easing of quarantine restrictions, the HOPE classrooms have warmly welcomed back students for their first face-to-face classes in two years! Many of our classrooms, including those in Kiaol Elementary School, Emiliano Gala Memorial Elementary School, Hornalan Elementary School, Polomolok Creek Integrated School, and ​​Casini Elementary School have opened their doors to wide-eyed and eager students once again. On their first day of school, the atmosphere is abuzz with excitement to learn as the schools transition from a fully modular setup since the pandemic hit to a fully on-site one. 

For some schools, this is not the first time HOPE classrooms are being put to use. Hornalan Elementary School was able to make the most out of their HOPE classroom by using it as a clinic or isolation area during limited face-to-face classes. Now that on-site classes are back in full swing, the classroom is being used as what it was truly intended to be: a home away from home fit for learning.

Emiliano Gala Memorial Elementary School in Quezon Province has been holding fully face-to-face classes for their Grade 1 and kindergarten students since late August of 2022. Besides their one HOPE classroom, they have two others from BPI and Dunkin. The HOPE classroom can hold up to 27 students and in total, the school can accommodate 94 on-site learners in all three classrooms. 

While the up-and-running of the school is going smoothly now that students can physically attend classes, Emiliano struggled during the online setup. For one, it was difficult to reach the learners who had no internet connection. The school opted to distribute printed materials for students, but even then, some were not able to receive their modules on time. Students still need to follow certain health protocols such as regularly sanitizing and the strict wearing of face masks. It’s understandable, given their very young age, that doubt and fear are still visible in their eyes–but one cannot ignore the excited twinkle in them as well. 

Speaking of excitement, Kristine Comeros, a Grade 11 student from Polomolok Creek Integrated School, is equal parts thrilled and nervous about going back to face-to-face classes after two whole years. Education is very important to her; she hopes to continue prioritizing her studies, especially now that she can use the HOPE classroom dedicated solely for just that. She’s currently taking the Humanities and Social Sciences strand for the primary reason that she wants to pay it forward someday by becoming a teacher herself. 

On the other hand, Casini Elementary School gladly opened their doors to Grade 3 and kindergarten students back for the school year 2022-2023 last August. The two grade levels are first-time users of the new HOPE classroom. Because they are still adjusting to face-to-face classes, teachers have taken it upon themselves to help them the best they can. Through different activities, the young learners find themselves at ease and with a sense of belonging. 

These five schools each have their own unique back-to-school stories to tell. What rings true for all of them, however, is that the HOPE classrooms have been able to provide a space within four walls dedicated to furthering the students’ education. After two years of modular and online learning, physical classrooms serve as a concrete means of attaining the education the students deserve. Beyond students, teachers are likewise thrilled to return to the normalcy of everyday face-to-face classes. As more and more schools transition to fully onsite classes, students are more excited than ever to return to their respective schools. Let’s not forget the impact we can make with just a little bit of effort and a lot of kindness. Thank you HOPE heroes for your support; it goes a long way for these kids!

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