Ms Universe third runner-up Shamcey Supsup joins the Inquirer read-along program and reads a book to students from Optimus Center for Development, Virlanie Foundation, S. Benitez Elementary School at the Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Matikas Santos
Tales about different kinds of love regaled more than 100 children on Feb. 15 in the special Inquirer Read-Along session that featured Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup, Sophia School principal Ann Abacan and students from Optimus Center for Development.
Supsup read “Putot,” a story written by Mike Bigornia about a dog that eventually realized how special its short tail was.
Abacan read “Magnificent Benito and His Two Front Teeth” by Augie and Mike Rivera, which tells of a young boy who realized the value of his two extraordinary front teeth.
Twenty-one students from Optimus Center for Development in Binangonan, Rizal, performed Robert Magnuson’s “Mister Beetle’s Many Rooms,” a story about a bug who learned the value of loving his neighbors.
The speech choir was accompanied by their coach, Lorna Matienzo, an English and Filipino teacher. “We were inspired to do this piece after attending the Inquirer Read-Along Festival last year,” Matienzo said.
The session also featured a special awarding segment for the winners of last year’s Inquirer Read-Along Festival Essay and Photo competition.
Greeted with shrieks
Upon entering the venue, Supsup was greeted with shrieks by the audience, which included special children from Virlanie Foundation. She said it was her first time to read to children.
“The experience was fun because the children were very attentive. They interacted with me as I read, and they were very excited to hear my story,” she said.
Supsup said the book was inspiring. “I feel that there are many kids who go through that feeling of comparing themselves with others and finding fault about what they have or do not have.”
“You have to be contented with what is given to you and to think that you are always blessed,” she said. “We should embrace what’s positive with [ourselves] and focus on [them].”
Frederick Manuel Fronda, the winner of the essay writing competition, said he had not been fond of writing before joining the contest.
“I just wanted to try it because I enjoy joining extracurricular activities and because I was encouraged by my teacher. I found writing the essay challenging at first, but eventually I started to really enjoy what I was doing,” he said.
His mother, Mavy, said her son was the top student in his class. “He is really good in academics but I also encourage him to pursue his other interests. When he told me that he would be joining the essay-writing competition, I just wanted him to do his best. I was so happy when I found out that he actually won,” she said.
Given citations for their participation in the festival photo competition were Andrea Lopez and Juliana Ysabel Victor. They said that while they were interested in photography, the Inquirer contest was their first photography-related competition.
Lopez’s mother, Jeannette, said her daughter’s entry was shot with an iPad. “I was not aware that she was into photography. I thought the photos that she took were really good,” she said.
Lopez said she was “not expecting anything” when she joined the contest, especially since she was not that confident of her skills. “I just wanted to try it. I was so excited when I found out that I was to be given a special citation.”
Victor was “inspired” by her father, Joboy, who owns a photography studio. “I joined because of my dad and also because I wanted to see if I have a talent for it,” she said.
Joboy said he was “so proud” when he found that she was given a special citation.
Judges in the essay contest were Junior Inquirer editor Ruth Navarra, Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega and Inquirer Metro editor Volt Contreras.
Navarra and De la Vega were joined by the acting chief of the Inquirer photo section, Edwin Bacasmas, in the photo contest.
“I love the story of Putot because it teaches us how one should be thankful and content with what you have,” said Janika Cadiz, an 11-year-old pupil of F. Benitez Elementary School.
For Optimus student James Cenido, 11, “Mister Beetle’s Many Rooms” was a favorite because it taught him to be generous and to not be selfish.
“I learned the importance of accepting what you have through Putot,” said Errol Chen of Optimus, 10.
Asked about their favorite part of the program, the children from Virlanie responded with wide grins.
Proud of his students
Jaime Naval, president of Optimus Center for Development, said he was proud of his students. “I’m happy that the Inquirer is able to provide an activity like this. I think it is great that children are exposed to different facets of learning,” he said.
“We gauge the standards of our school through how our students perform in competitions, and I’m happy to know that we are at par with other schools,” said Evelyn Naval, the school’s directress.
Children were treated to snacks courtesy of Pizza Hut’s Book It! program. Backpacks and shirts, also courtesy of the fast-food chain, were given away as prizes during the question-and-answer segments.
Pizza Hut’s Book It! is a six-month reading incentive program designed to motivate children to read more. In partnership with 112 schools nationwide, the company gives a free Buddy Pan Pizza every month to a child who completes his reading goal.
Currently, the program serves over 6,000 children.
Friday’s session was hosted by Inquirer researcher Kate Pedroso and Abacan.
The next read-along session will be held at the Inquirer main office on March 9 at 10 a.m. Interested parties may contact Ellen Caparros at 897-8808 loc. 329.—Reports from Kate Pedroso, Schatzi Quodala and Marielle Medina, Inquirer Research; and Odeng Orolaza, Jackieh Cobrador and Roxanne Abad, Inquirer Library
With video and audio courtesy of Inquirer.net