Jeneluj Cunanan, an elementary teacher at the Lanao Central Elementary School here, was chosen from nearly 200 applicants all over the country. Two other Mindanawon teachers — Leticia N. Palle (Malaybalay City Central School, Malaybalay City) and Ruben L. Abucayon (Alegria National High School, Surigao del Norte) – also made it to the Top Ten.
Cunanan and the other awardees were chosen for their admirable contributions in the advancement of the education sector as well as in community development. Each will receive a cash prize of P250T and a trophy.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma. Alicia Austria Martinez, Negros Rep. Jose Carlos Lacson, Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Taguig Mayor Sigfrido Tinga, De La Salle Philippines president Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, Philippine Stock Exchange president Francis Ed. Lim, and columnist and TV host Lourdes Siytangco.
Senator Richard Gordon is chair of the Board of Judges.
The Metrobank Foundation's Search for Outstanding Teachers honors educators who have dedicated their lives to mentoring the youth through classroom instruction and beyond, by serving as models of excellence is their respective communities.
Cunanan, who teaches in the Special Education (SPED) Center at Lanao Elementary School, is the second teacher from this city to receive the award.
Melrose Peralta, former assistant school principal of the Kidapawan City Pilot Elementary School (KCPES), one of the biggest elementary schools here, received the award in 2004.
Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco has commended Cunanan for her exemplary performance as a public mentor.
“If there is somebody who would feel proud of Cunanan’s achievement, it would be me. As a father of this city, I’m so glad we produce quality teachers like Cunanan. This also guarantees quality education,” said Gantuangco.
Cunanan has been in the teaching job for more than 20 years.
Aside from being a journalism coach, she also teaches Mathematics and Science.
When asked as to why she was chosen among the outstanding mentors, she replied, “I just love my pupils and treat them as my own children. I love the naughty until he learns to behave.”
Her parents, who were also educators, encouraged her to become passionate about teaching.
Other than Cunanan, this year’s winners are Fredo T. Lareles (Ateneo Grade School, Quezon City), Madeline P. Rivera (San Pablo Central School, San Pablo City), and Leticia N. Palle (Malaybalay City Central School, Malaybalay City).
Secondary level awardees are Glendale B. Lamiseria (Dulag National High School, Leyte), Ruben L. Abucayon (Alegria National High School, Surigao del Norte), Norma C. Pacaigue (Novaliches High School, Quezon City), and Cynthia B. Bangero (Barotac Viejo National High School, Iloilo).
National Book awardee and renowned poet Benilda S. Santos of the Ateneo de Manila University (Quezon City) joins internationally acclaimed physicist and National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) awardee Ceasar A. Saloma of the University of the Philippines (Quezon City) in the higher education category, the Metrobank press statement said. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)