NOT even Super Typhoon Yolanda could stop thousands of students in the provinces from graduating this week.
The Department of Education (DepEd) Region 8 office said a total of 76,121 public school students from Yolanda—ravaged Eastern Visayas will finally receive their diplomas on April 7, 2014.
Of that number, 46,679 will complete their elementary education while the remaining 29,442 will graduate from high school. These students come from the provinces of Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, and the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban which were severely affected by the typhoon.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro extended his “warm congratulations” to the Yolanda-hit students who stood tall despite the odds.
“I know you’ve been through a lot. In spite of that, you’ve prevailed in spite of the bad weather and once again showed the world that Filipinos can do anything,” he said.
The graduation rites were supposed to be held on March 27 or 28 following the 2013-2014 DepEd school calendar.
However, DepEd Region 8 Director Luisa Yu said, “Schools that requested for the extension of classes and the holding of commencement exercises were given up to April 7.”
This allowed students in the provinces to make up for lost school days. A total of 7,300 students had missing school records because of the storm surge.
Normally, the DepEd only allows a 20-day extension when classes are suspended because of unforeseen circumstances like calamities.
However, students in Eastern Visayas lost over a month of school days after Yolanda’s visit in November last year.
Yu said about 15 to 20 Saturdays were used to complete the 201 calendar days for school year 2013-2014.
The DepEd added that about 1,487 public schools in Eastern Visayas were partially damaged or totally destroyed by Yolanda. About 2,800 classrooms had to be replaced and 13,000 required repairs.