The Official Website of DOLE-CAR
Ahead of the Race
SPES Beneficiary Reaps Awards
(July 25, 2011)
For Nover Keithley Mente, the trek to the academic top is an arduous struggle that required a lot of grit, self-discipline, resilience and indomitable spirit to confront the odds and win over them. Exuding of self-confidence, though lanky and harried, he is an impressive young man, with a perceptive mind and depth of person that he claimed were gifts from living life out, which in many respects, has not always been kind. On its 24th year anniversary celebration, job facilitation through the conduct of Jobs Fair was DOLEs means of commemorating the historic event.

For Nover Keithley Mente, the trek to the academic top is an arduous struggle that required a lot of grit, self-discipline, resilience and indomitable spirit to confront the odds and win over them. Exuding of self-confidence, though lanky and harried, he is an impressive young man, with a perceptive mind and depth of person that he claimed were gifts from living life out, which in many respects, has not always been kind.

Nover, who garnered high grades graduated last May, 2011 at the University of the Cordilleras (UC) with a degree in Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English. He has been a beneficiary of the DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) for three consecutive summers under the employ of the Local Government Unit (LGU) in Tuba, Benguet.

He was especially grateful for those summer jobs. Aside from tiding him through financially and helping him meet the costs of tertiary education, he has been afforded exposure to the real world of work. In 2008, he was assigned in the Engineering Office where he learned to systematize filing of technical blueprints. He enjoyed his 2009 work assignment the most though where he teamed up with others in going around one of the barangays to distribute Skills Registration System (SRS) forms. There, he had the chance to gain a first-hand look of the situation of most people in his town where he got appalled by the staggering statistics of the unemployed. The experience also enabled him to widen his social network.

When first introduced in 2010, he topped the SPES qualifying exams for Tuba. In that year, he was assigned at the Municipal Planning and Development Office where he took part in the conduct of an economic survey for the municipality. Through all those years, he learned that industry, patience and perseverance are indispensable traits to cultivate in any work environment in order for one to survive and stay ahead.

The salary he received as SPES beneficiary helped augment the allowance and tuition fee subsidy he has been receiving as a recipient of other scholarships. For landing consistently in the Dean’s List, he was entitled to a 30% discount in tuition fees in addition to the Ps. 6,600 tuition fee subsidy per trimester that he received from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a Student Assistance Fund for Education (SAFE) Scholar.

Further, being a SPES beneficiary in 2008 also opened another door of opportunity for him. He was included in the list of three (3) student-recipients from Tuba to receive a Ps. 6,000 allowance per trimester under the Benguet Scholarship Program of the Provincial Government of Benguet. Said scholarship rigidly screens for poor but academically gifted students.

Without the above scholarships and work opportunities under SPES, life should have been doubly difficult. Raised singly by his mom along with two (2) older siblings through vegetable vending in the city’s market, he became aware early of life’s harsh realities and the difficulty of living in the midst of want and deprivation. He lost his father when he was in Grade 5 from a strange illness which was undiagnosed at the time and since then has to help out by taking on odd jobs to help his mom scrape a living and build a decent life for them.

In fact, an Information Technology (IT) course was what he truly aspired for but has to settle to taking a BSE course due to considerations of his family’s limited financial resources. In the process though, he came to love teaching and still was able to integrate his passion for IT. His extensive knowledge of various software like powerpoint, publisher, and movie maker aids him in creating his instructional materials in order to bring life to the classroom and revolutionize classroom teaching. His stint as the Editor-in-chief of the “Pedagogue”, the newsletter of the College of Teacher Education and as the Vice President of the Pedagogical Society of UC from 2009-2010 which was involved in many outreach literacy programs in nearby city communities afforded him with wide exposure , immensely built his self-esteem and made him discover his passion for educating children and guiding them through the endless wonder of learning.

For his leadership qualities and skills, he is an awardee of the UC President’s Leadership Award and is one of the university’s three nominees to the Region’s Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. Though he lost, being a nominee to the prestigious award is a feat in itself.

By May, even without his license yet, he has already an assured teaching post at the Westmont School Montessori located along Camp7 in Baguio City and is currently handling English classes both at the elementary and secondary levels.

He should have gone to Jakarta, Indonesia. With an array of tempting benefits and a high salary to teach there, he opted however to serve his own people first, plans to review for the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) and later on pursue a master’s degree in education.

“When things seem dark, never lose sight; instead raise your eyes and always look for possibilities” was what has guided Nover throughout his climb to the academic top. For someone who has come a long way, he intends to somehow make the path smoother for others. He plans to save money and, in turn, support some poor relatives in pursuing tertiary education too. “I should pay forward,” he said, “for if each one of us will make one good deed to others, we can potentially create a change in the world.”

Indeed, Nover Keithley Mente is one fine portrait of the Filipino youth that we hope our country to be firmly built upon.

(Lorna Bacolong -LEO III)




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