Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reliving School Year 2010-2011

As classes come to a close, we take a last look at some of the key moments that marked Mano Amiga’s 2010-2011 school year. It was certainly a year of firsts, which began with the announcement of Ms. Rev Tria-Siasoyco as the new Principal as well as the opening of Mano Amiga’s first social enterprise.

Here’s a look at some of the milestones Mano Amiga Academy achieved over the year:

  1. Healthy body, healthy mind: Bistro 3846, Mano Amiga's first social enterprise, delivers a unique, novel, and nurturing cafeteria experience in Everest Academy International school, where it serves healthy, age-appropriate lunch meals to the students. 100% of the profit is donated to the Mano Amiga scholarship fund and 90% of the staff comes from parents of the Mano Amiga scholars. Bistro is headed by Cordon Bleu London graduate and Everest parent Chef Amelia Ann Alba.
  2. Enriching school events: There's a very good reason why Mano Amiga students hardly get excited about summer vacation. Their teachers always make sure to give the students a fun, learning experience. Lessons in the classroom are supplemented by fun school activities that aim to increase the children's realm of experience and give free reign to their imagination. Events that were held during the year include English Month, Buwan ng Wika, UN Day, Christmas Play, and Quiz Bee.
  3. Livelihood Program: Lovingly made by hand by the Mano Amiga mothers, the Jesse Tree is an Advent Preparation kit that consists of a handpainted tree, a set of handcrafted ornaments and a booklet of readings and daily reflection. Christmas 2010 was the Jesse Tree's second year in the market and it garnered attention for its uniqueness and profound message. The Jesse Tree was one of the highlighted products in the DTI Christmas bazaar, and was featured in several newspapers and television shows.
  4. Community Development activities: According to an African Proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." Mano Amiga works closely with the families to help build a community that would support the positive development of the children. The school offered free development services all throughout the year to the students, their families, and other families living in the community. These are services that seek to address their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. The programs include free Medical and Dental services, Parenting classes, Back to school program for Adults, English classes and skills development, values formation seminars and spiritual talks.
  5. Football Fridays and Ballet Saturdays: Children who come from low-income families rarely have the opportunity to explore and pursue their interest in arts and sports. Thanks to Futbol Funatics and Dance Basics who graciously volunteered their time in the school, Mano Amiga students were able to take Football and Ballet lessons for free.
  6. Veggie Tales: 100 Starbucks partners volunteered their time and planted a vegetable garden in the Mano Amiga schoolyard. The vegetable garden project aims to develop the children’s knowledge of living things, foster greater appreciation and love for their surroundings, and instill a responsible attitude towards the environment. The garden will also help generate income for the families since the produce will be harvested by the Mano Amiga parents and will be sold to Bistro 3846.
  7. Amazing Field trips: Field trips are always considered by children as the highlight of the school year. For teachers, field trips are important because it enables that students to connect abstract concepts learned in class to real-world experiences. For School year 2010-2011, Mano Amiga students met real life NASA astronauts, roamed around an amusement park for a day, and watched a movie in the big screen for the first time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Step Closer to their Dreams: 2nd Batch of Preschool Graduates for Mano Amiga Academy

Principal's Award for Excellence Recipient Nicole Cruz addresses her fellow graduates

Prep students giving their own rendition of Miley Cyrus' The Climb

Keith Adi shares his dream to be an astronaut or a race car driver someday

The Mano Amiga Action Team (L-R): Principal Revelyn Tria-Siasoyco, Specialist Teacher Malou Fernandez, Mano Amiga Academy inc Development Director Eleanor Pinugu, Prep Teacher Marie Roxas &Grade 1 teacher Justine Loteria

"This Graduation day is particularly meaningful for me," Mano Amiga Principal Revelyn Tria-Siasoyco shared in the Graduation ceremony's opening remarks. "If you remember, I was the first teacher who handled this class. It seems only like yesterday when these children were only in Nursery and would spend every morning crying loudly by the window, pleading with their Mothers to bring them home. To see them now, so well-behaved, happy with school, and ready to take on the challenges of being a first-grader, truly fills me and the rest of their teachers with a sense of accomplishment."

The stage was artfully decorated with the slogan, "Follow your Dreams," an apt title that captures the Mano Amiga Prep students' three-year journey in preschool and their parents' proud sentiments that their children have taken a step closer to their dreams. When the children first entered Mano Amiga, most of them did not know how to read or write and could barely speak in complete sentences. The developmental milestones they have achieved are apparent not just in their academic performance but in their social and cognitive skills as well.

Under the direction of Prep teacher Marie Roxas, the graduates performed a heartwarming rendition of Miley Cyrus' The Climb. Afterwards, each child announced what he would like to be when he grows up and offered a portrait he made of his future self to his parents.

Nicole Cruz, batch valedictorian and recipient of the Principal's Award for Excellence, gave a speech thanking the teachers for all their hard work. She encouraged her fellow graduates to make the most out of the opportunity that Mano Amiga has given them by always giving their best so that they could someday achieve the dream professions that they shared.

Students in Mano Amiga are provided with 14 years of education(preschool until high school). We look forward to the next 12 years when our second batch of Prep graduates finally finish high school, excited and well-prepared to pursue higher opportunities because of the quality formation they had received.

Congratulations to the Mano Amiga Academy 2010-2011 preschool graduates!

2010-2011 Awardees

Principal’s Award for Excellence: Nicole Cruz

Silver Medal Awardee: Arzel Sumalinog

Bronze Medal Awardee: Sheryl Gerarcas

Subject Awardees:

Best in English and Catholic Formation: Nicole Cruz

Best in Science and Friendship Award: Arzel Sumalinog

Best in Math and Leadership Award: Sheryl Gerarcas

Apostleship Award: Myles Gonzales

Athlete Award: Dave Jamir Pangilinan

Conduct Awardees: Daisy Anne Aton, Michaela Pagaran, and Erica Gerero

Monday, April 4, 2011

Book To The Future

Earlier this month, Mano Amiga Academy held "Book to the Future", a special book fair for the students and other kids who frequent the Mano Amiga community library. Adarna Publishing house set up a booth and organized a morning of storytelling and fun games. Youth volunteers joined the activities and sponsored a book for their child partner.

Book To the Future volunteer Vicky Herrera shares how Dr. Seuss influenced her life and why it's crucial for children from all walks of life to have access to good books.

When I was a little girl, I remember how my kindergarten would allow each student to take home a book over the weekend to read. I decided one day to take home the book “The Cat In The Hat…Comes Back” by Dr. Seuss.

I loved the book so much that I took it home…..Every Weekend.

I don’t even remember the story anymore. But I do remember how I felt when I would read. My imagination took over and I’d be so excited to sit down and read it over and over again. I used to have tons of books around me, and I still do.

Last Weekend, Adarna House visited Mano Amiga Academy (in Taguig). Each student was able to take home their own book for free. I loved how they wanted to encourage young kids to read.

Some of the books were written in Tagalog. From “Si Pagong at si Matsing”, to “Ibong Adarna,” to “Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya,”- all I could think was… Dang, if I had these maybe my Tagalog skills would be better!

I guess watching them sit down in their seats and go over their book gave me flashbacks to my Dr. Seuss days, and it reminded me of how important reading was to my own development. Maybe if I never picked up that book, I wouldn’t like rhymes and wordplay (there goes hip-hop!)… maybe I also wouldn’t be writing…

Kids these days…their minds that are so fertile, it’s important we feed the right messages. You never really know what a can influence a child.

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