“Ma’am, salamat po sa kaunting kaalaman na nabigay mo pero magdro-drop na po ako. Mahina po kasi ang signal dito sa isla at ang mahal ng load,‘di po kaya tustusan ng mga magulang ko, mangingisda lang po ang tatay ko,” was the first line I wrote on my June 28 article, titled “Ramil left the group.” It was Ramil’s last message, left in our class group chat before he finally decided to drop out in the past semester. 
 
Few hours after the article was published, someone reached out and informed me that her boss was moved by the story and wished to help Ramil. Indeed, we tried to find Ramil, but we failed in that mission, part of which was, I guess, the timing. It was already a semestral break when I wrote the piece as part of introspection on my, and my students’ struggles amid the pandemic. 
 
The giver then pledged to provide financial support to some of our students from remote islands who are financially and technologically-challenged, come the opening of the new school year.  
 
It suddenly dawned on me that a simple gesture could shine a light on a gloomy situation and could be a source of hope for others in dire need. We may not be able to make a huge difference out of our small act, but we can create possibilities for others who are furthest behind. We can touch someone’s heart just by doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We can’t deny that a bad situation can bring out the worst, but it can also bring out the best in us.
 
Writing Ramil’s story also made me realize that real-life heroes do exist. They’re just around the corner waiting for the chance where they could lend a hand.
 
We might not be capable of being a hero financially, but we can be one in our own respect. We can share our talents to lift someone’s spirit. We can give our time, or spark volunteerism as long as we don’t endanger our lives. We can share whatever we have with those who have less. Most of all, we could grow and spread positivity to inspire others to also do their share. The end result may not be a sweeping change, but it will make a difference—for sure. 
 
I don’t want to overlook our giver for today. Let me thank Palaweña, a wellness travel and real estate company, for helping more “Ramils” overcome their circumstances, and for teaching us the lesson that helping has no price tag. Helping doesn’t need to be of a grand scale for it to be considered as such. We can start a simple cause and see how it multiplies.
 
We have seen how this pandemic overwhelmed our education system, let’s not allow it overwhelms us. Let us once again awake that bayanihan spirit to accomplish something for which our future generations will laud us. 
 
As I always tell my students after taking exams to pass their paper one at a time, now I’d say, let’s help our students, one at a time. Remember that, a game is won by winning one set at a time.

 
 
 

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