Article by Hannah Estipona
LAMBUNAO, Iloilo – Stephen Lloyd Casono’s volunteer work for CheckMySchool (CMS) was brief, but it made a lasting impression on him. Now a public school teacher, Casono comes full circle as he joins CMS again, making public education his lifelong commitment.
“My main goal is actually to help my students,” he said. “How I can help my students is to first help my school. I love my students.” Casono first joined CheckMySchool in 2011, the same year the project was launched. As a graduating college student then, he was unable to continue on to CMS’s next cycle because he had to focus on his studies and find a job. Five years later, Casono rejoins CheckMySchool, which is now on its sixth cycle. He also teaches at Lambunao National High School in Lambunao, a first-class municipality in Iloilo.
Through Check My School, Casono found a way to fulfil his goal to improve the quality of education in his hometown. As one of CheckMySchool’s pioneering area coordinators, Casono participated in a training from which he learned not only from the CMS team and speakers but also from other participants coming from Baguio, Bacolod, and Davao.
This experience, he said, was an “eye-opener” because it showed him various ways to help his community. The project connected him with like-minded people who inspired him at the same time. Most importantly, CheckMySchool made him realize that their efforts can indeed bring about change. “Parang isa ang CheckMySchool sa nag-open sa mind ko (It’s like CheckMySchool is one reason why my I opened my mind): how I can help my place, how I can help my community, how I can help the country as whole,” he said. “Isa ang CheckMySchool na nagmotivate sa akin (CheckMySchool has motivated me).”
Edited by Charmaine Lirio