“The greatest truth must be recognizing that in every man, in every child is the potential for greatness” – Robert F. Kennedy
Hazel, 11, lives in the town of Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte. She is the daughter of Alex C. Daleon and her late mother, Emma. Since her mother died when Hazel was still four (4), her lola Cornelia, and lolo Anatolio has taken good care of her. Hazel’s father works as a platoon sergeant in the special civilian auxiliary action in Jabonga whose income is just enough for their daily subsistence.
Weaving her way out from poverty, Hazel is very serious in her studies and she is a consistent first honor student since first grade. Her determination pushes her to finish studies and graduate with flying colors despite poverty. As an honor student, she has received various awards such as Declaimer of the Year, Best in English, Best in mathematics, and Best in Filipino. She is also an awardee of the Metrobank-Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines, Girl Scout of the Philippines, Journalist of the Year, Quizzer of the Year (Math and Science), and Leadership Award.
Her exemplary performance in school has echoed Hazel’s participation in her very own community. She joins various activities in their barangay such as singing competition, flores de mayo, and youth gathering.
At 11, Hazel dreams to be a teacher someday. She wants to help other children through education, teach them her secrets, and encourage them that poverty is not a hindrance to success.
Seeing her good deeds and noble works, the municipal link officer of Jabonga, together with the school principal and the barangay captain, nominated Hazel as municipal representative to the Provincial Search for Exemplary Child, and consequently won. Bringing her nits and talent, she was hailed as the Regional Exemplary Child 2015 and garnered the Best in Interview award.
On becoming a teacher, Hazel shares that in the instinct of a poor child like her, education matters and serves her bridge to cross the path of poverty to self-sufficiency.
“Dahil gusto ko pong makatulong sa ibang bata na may pangarap makapagtapos ng pag-aaral at makamit ang kanilang minimithing gustong marating. Tuturuan ko po sila ng magandang asal, dahil kasabay ng talino, ang magandang pag-uugali po ay kapantay ng anumang siyensya. Kung wala po ito, para lang din pong wala ang anumang kanilang naabot. Aagapay po ako sa kanila, dahil ngayon, umaagapay po sa akin ang aking mga butihing guro sa aming paaralan,” Hazel shares.
Hazel is always grateful to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program for helping her in her studies. She remembers their hard time back then in finding money to pay her tuition fees, and miscellaneous at school. Now, her family’s cash grants from Pantawid Pamilya are of great help in her school expenses.
“Noon po, hirap po kaming bayaran ang mga gastusin sa school, ngayon po na may Pantawid Pamilya, nakakabayad na po kami sa tamang oras. Malaki po ang pasasalamat ko sa Pantawid Pamilya dahil naging tulay ito sa pag-abot ng aking mga pangarap,” Hazel adds.
There may be upcoming obstacles in her life, but Hazel is confident that with the help of her lola, lolo, papa, her determination and with Pantawid Pamilya, reaching her dreams will not be as difficult as before###.