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   IN MEMORY OF A LITTLE ROSE

“Lucky is the person who remains faithful under trials!”
 

A line that has helped me go faithfully through challenges and difficulties in my lengthy years stay in The Sisters of Mary School...my second home… my destination!

“It was not you who chose Me. It was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit .”

It was May, 2003 when my mounting desire impelled me to have my first step in the school founded by Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz. It was not easy …. “Many were called but few were chosen!” God was so good …. I was exceptionally chosen after expressing my fervent   aspiration to be one of the school’s mentors. With God’s grace and will, along with my persistent attitude, I started to be a part of the school’s mission and vision on May 17, 2003.

The first three years was complicated….the music was so good and yet my feet could hardly tag along…adjustment…ajuste ,  ajustement (whatever you may call it) -  the full of joie de vivre and know-it-all  students, the daunting memos day after day, the disturbing  scenario of sudden apparition, the challenging  and wounding remarks from colleagues, the demanding mound of paper works, the many why’s and how’s of insurmountable  facts of SOM life….But in every child’s eyes… I have found myself renewed and motivated to the real challenge of life…I was called to a mission… “j’aime les défis!” God has brought me here to make a difference in other people’s life.

“Any teacher can bring a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn!” – Helen Keller

Amidst the ups and downs of my life in The Sisters of Mary, the naive and yet dejected life of each of my students has always been a reason why I stay long…. it’s the utmost inspiring factor why I still (until now) continue a good fight… persist to run my race. My experiences with my students are too many to mention … but in the stillness of the night, they keep on reminding me that I have to be strong to give forte to these young dreamers. In the quietness of my lull, these encounters with my students make me smile as I close my eyes in retirement… I have touched another life… I have saved another soul. “I am the wind beneath their wings!”

I used to be an unswerving dreamer… and dream for a dream for another dreamer….With the kind of life I have gone through and still going through, the candle remains lighted….to give radiance to a million.

“The fragrance remains in the hands that give the rose!”

One breezy morning as I was about to enter the school premises, a set of beaming teeth approached me and elatedly uttered… “ Ma’am , kayo po si Ma’am Hellen? Tanda nyo po ba ako? Hindi nyo po ako naging student pero hindi ko po kayo malilimutan. First year pa lang po ako noon hinahanap ko po ang clinic kasi may sakit ako at kayo po yung napadaan na teacher. Sinamahan nyo po ako sa clinic. Naramdaman ko po yung pagmamahal at dinala ko po yung ginawa nyong kabaitan mula noon hanggang ngayon.  Salamat po.” (Ma’am, are you Ma’am Hellen? Do you still remember me? I had not been your student but I could not really forget you. I was in first year then when I looked for the clinic because I felt sick. It so happened that you saw me and you went along with me in the clinic. I felt your love… and I have kept that simple act of kindness in my heart since then and until now. Thank you so much.” )

Tears fell……. in the engineer’s eyes.......in my eyes! It’s an overwhelming feeling…. One in a million students who has to remind me of the word COMPASSION – which in truth, almost fogged up by all the interminable pressures and heartbreaking experiences I’ve been going through . This testimony and many others are my greatest accomplishment…..my sweetest harvests…the communal fragrance unfolds into our beings.

It’s just one. There have been other expressions of admiration and appreciation that have made me feel a beautiful person…… as Joan Clayton said, “A loving heart makes one beautiful.” and I quote, “in the eyes of those who look beyond…. Feeling good about oneself begins with serving others.” To wit: “Ma’am, you look like my mother”, “Ma’am, I want you to be my mother”, “ Ma’am, kayo po ang inspirasyon ko” (Ma’am, you’re my inspiration), “Ma’am, sana po maging kasing tatag nyo ako” (Ma’am, I hope I can be tough like you), “Ma’am, thank you very much for all the life’s lessons you’ve taught us, we will always treasure those”, “Ma’am, as our thanksgiving, we wish you a beautiful life ahead of you…”, “Ma’am, you have tamed us that makes you so special to 9th  batch..”.

One former student, Maxim Raymundo sent a message in “facebook” and it goes (uncut, unedited)….“Thanks Ma’am! I think I will never forget a teacher like you ---- above and beyond the skills you have, is you have the heart of touching lives which truly fits you to the profession! I was a teacher then and I think I was able to creatively adapt some practices that you have which made me effective and truly a teacher! Kudos Ma’am! I don’t forget the time that you sat with me and would simply asked me "kamusta ka na?" - those had meant a lot to me!” ---and thousand messages which I have kept not only in my aged box of cards and letters but as well as in the deepest part of my heart.

As Helen Keller’s commentary on her teacher Anne Sullivan says… “My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. All the best of me belongs to her – there is not a talent, or an inspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch!” Only then I realize that teaching is not just a profession … it’s my LIFE!...My weapon is not just my knowledge as a teacher, it’s my FAITH that has helped me go through. Thus, my zealous yearning is for the fragrance to linger after my days on earth.

“Life goes on… and those who refuse to go on with it are left alone to wallow in their desolation!”

Ten long years is not easy… fifteen… sixteen…..seventeen long and fruitful years. By year 2011, I will celebrate my debut in this institution. Like a young lady who would be introduced to her world… I am unveiling these thoughts to the world in order to see the heart and soul of a teacher in The Sisters of Mary School.

Given some more years of love and service… I wish to be the Little Prince who would always be responsible to the rose he has tamed… Anne Sullivan who would be stirring factor to the unlighted minds of the young… a candle that would continue glowing to enlighten someone else’s life….a rose that would always spread its heavenly scent. As a teacher, I may not be like Father Al in the life of every student…. I may not be like Princess Diana in the eyes of England… I may not be like  Mother Teresa in the hearts of the deprived and ailing…Nevertheless, I am just the simple MA’AM HELLEN …with my encouraging words and gentle touch….I long to may bring new courage and hope to many.

“….The discovery of one’s giftedness is the essential response to God’s call within each and every human being!” - William Burkert and Louahlan Sofield

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi has gifted me unfathomable connection with my encounters with these young …. “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace… where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon.., where there is doubt, faith, where is despair, hope…where there is darkness, light…where there is sadness, joy…”

To many life is short…. but for those who have lived life to the fullest… it’s a never-ending journey…a long-lived life. I may depart from this world of art… I may be gone…nonetheless, somewhere along my journey, I have traveled both to the east and the west… north and south… that wherever’s heart my name be recalled… it would shine like sunshine has given hope to every waking hours…it would radiate like jewel has fascinated man…it would sing like songs have given meaning to saddened hearts. The legacy remains… hope keeps on…love resides…faith breathes… and no matter what road each of my student takes….may all the motivation I’ve long-drawn-out  ring like heaven to them ….The gift of love from God is the gift I am bestowing to every one’s life.

People come and go … plants survive and wither…songs are sung and fade away…flowers bloom and die… even the little rose may shine or lose its radiance….hence, the most significant is memoir lingers in the hearts of those who have perceived and benefited from its purpose.

My profound appreciation to Servant of God Father Aloysius Schwartz for giving me a chance to be a part of this institution….to all my students who have been my strength and inspiration…  all their comments in “facebook”  have really made me feel so loved and cherished … and  above all…. Thank you my Lord……. for creating me one little fragrant rose!

“Teacher – and that was all… it will be my answer in the dark when death calls.” - Helen Keller


5/25/2010
(Sgd)
MS. HELLEN TOLEDO HERRERA
SISTERS OF MARY SCHOOL (BOYSTOWN)
ADLAS, SILANG, CAVITE
E-MAIL: jellentoledo@yahoo.com

 

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