by Kazzandra Ysabel R. Baysa
Make a mark.
They whisper. Their hands on her back, their blood on her veins.
Make a mark.
Her hand gripping the paintbrush, her eyes reflecting the spectrum of colors lying within her reach.
The world is your canvas, make a mark.
And so she paints with the 17 colors of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) taken to heart. Her colors, inclusive, alive, and aware, smear the minds of those who wish to learn. Her hands, reliable, responsible, and strong, guide the young ones – her students – to success.
And with each stroke, with each line, she casts an outline to complete her masterpiece. The outline in which the colors will soon follow, the outline that will not only guide the master, but also her apprentices and colleagues.
Alas, it is the master and her soon-to-be masterpiece: Mrs. Maancelene G. Carag and her Project KAMALAYAN.
KAMALAYAN: ARMING THE CAUAYEÑOS WITH THEIR RAINBOW PALETTE
Embracing the Overflowing and Rich Filipino Culture for Our Nation and Other Countries.
This is what Kulturang Pinoy ay Mayabong at Labis Ating Yapusin Alang-alang sa ating Nasyon at iba pang mga Bansa or K.A.M.A.L.A.Y.A.N. means.
“It will be an avenue for students under the Special Program in the Arts Curriculum to showcase their gifts. While their skills are being nurtured they will discover and understand more about our rich culture and awaken their desire to spread the 17 [Sustainable Development] goals,” said Mrs. Carag as she introduced her project.
As an English teacher in the 10th grade of Cauayan City National High School Main, Mrs. Carag has already introduced Global Citizenship Education (GCED) to her students in the said subject. And as she is also a Theatre/Media Arts teacher in the Special Program in the Arts (SPA) Curriculum, she decided to utilize arts as the medium to be used in Project KAMALAYAN. She believed that arts will effectively raise both the students’ and teachers’ awareness about GCED and the SDGs.
But before her teaching experience sketched the first lines in her future masterpiece’s outline, before the calligraphy pens and the charcoal pencils, before the varying shades of acrylics and the struggles with oil paints – she first used a crayon to transfer her thoughts into paper.
Before an action there was first a reason, before an effect there was first a cause, the way Mrs. Carag’s present first had a past; art was already in her history, it was their blood that tainted artworks made to last.
Mrs. Carag’s father, Mr. Manolito “Doy” Gaming, owned an arts shop where he displayed his portraits of famous Filipino actors and actresses during the 90’s. He also took other related jobs to support his family, however he died at the young age of 42 years old due to a cardiac arrest, leaving his legacy behind for his wife, three daughters, and two sons. As the eldest of the five siblings, Mrs. Carag witnessed how much her mother, brothers, and sisters struggled without the head of the family.
But time, like all things, passed by, and with it came the healing of wounds. The five siblings have made, and are still making their mother proud, as four of them have already finished college and one is graduating.
Their father’s legacy still remained carved in their hearts, guiding their hands and quietly whispering.
Make a mark.
And she does. Etching a piece of her into her students, Mrs. Carag uses her skills, her hands and fingers to guide the youth to a treasure she already possesses.
With passion, determination, and her Project KAMALAYAN, she hands the splashed palette to the young Cauayeňos, readying their brushes as they spill the first drops of warm, vibrant ink into their canvas – their homes, their community, their country, their world.
INK-STAINED FINGERS: GRATITUDE FOR THOSE WHO LENT THEIR HANDS
Alas, the master’s ink stained fingers reach out as young, unmarked students marvel at her hues. And she brushes her hand against them, one by one, staining them with the colors of the SDGs.
But there are still more, so many more young ones that need to learn – and her hands are already full. She stares at their hungry eyes, their thirsty minds filled with grays and whites, waiting for a rainbow to be painted by their teacher. She smiles, she need not worry.
No man is an island indeed.
“I am still in the implementation phase of my project and it is really tough to do it alone so I asked for my colleagues’ help and support. I am now creating a team which will promote the ideals of GCED and nurture talented students to attain the program’s vision,” said Mrs. Carag when asked about her struggles with her project.
With her co-teachers in Cauayan City National High School Main, her mission is no longer only hers to carry. Together, they aim to learn and understand GCED on their own. The teachers also plan on tackling lessons that cover values of culture and arts while at the same time, determining and nurturing the students’ skills.
Inspired by their City Mayor, Hon. Faustino Bernard Dy, an SDG advocate, Mrs. Carag presented and proposed different activities to the Local Government unit, specifically to the SDG Focal Person, Ms. Shaine Marquez. Through the help of the LGUs, all the activities within Project KAMALAYAN will receive support – both physical and virtual.
And thus, more hands reach out to help her, staining themselves with her ink as they bring out their brushes.
With the Korea-Philippines Teacher Exchange Programme Alumni Association (KPTEPAA), International Cooperation Office, Special Program in the Arts group, and the CCNHS-Main family lending their efforts, Project KAMALAYAN’s outline has finally turned to a darker shade. And with the firm and solid sketches, Mrs. Carag lays out her goals.
TRACING THE OUTLINE: PROJECT KAMALAYAN’S GOALS
With the extra hands, the extra brushes, the same set of colors and the same set of goals, the students beam happily. A smile that transcends virtual screens, a sun ray that glows through the pale colored websites. They glow, not in a dull gray, but in different colors of miniscule spots. Spots that grow with each touch from their teachers.
Spots that in time – will soon be a masterpiece.
“The highlight [of this project] would be the showcasing of individual talents while carrying their local identities in spreading the goals,” said Mrs. Carag, and this was manifested as GCED was already featured and integrated in their media arts in the past year, and more films are being planned and hoped to be released this year.
With the support of her friends and colleagues, she aims to establish the SDG’s Urban Art Street – a themed painting on street walls by young artists which would become an official Cauayeňo landmark once finished.
The SDGs will also be featured in an art show tour filled with the masterpieces created by the young students.
For musically inclined students, a Jingle Writing Contest will also be held while short films highlighting the UN goals will be featured in the SDGs Film Festival.
“Culture and Arts are inter-reliant components and arts is indeed a powerful tool in cultivating young minds about our worlds’ diverse culture and is a powerful tool to invigorate the realization of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Goals,” said Mrs. Carag.
And with each color and line, with each dialogue and delivery, the SDGs are taken into heart, and the youth’s talent is showcased. With the students as the catalysts of change, each and every single sustainable goal must be upheld in making globally aware and globally responsible citizens.
Each and every sustainable goal must be upheld to make an inclusive and understanding world. And it can always start within the classroom.
Alas, what was once colored freckles are now finally forming a picture of a better community.
The mark is forming.
They laugh. Their hands smeared with colors, spots of paint on their canvases.
The mark is forming.
Their hands grip the paintbrush, seventeen colors reflected by their gleaming eyes.
The world is their canvas.
And with each stroke, with each line, the students and colleagues follow. Alas, it is the master and her soon-to-be masterpiece: Mrs. Maancelene G. Carag and her Project KAMALAYAN.
And now she made the mark.