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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Teachers' Hard Work Deserves Respect*

I'd like to express my profound gratitude to those who have chosen the noblest profession---teaching, the "mother" of all other professions.

They are underpaid and yet indefatigable. For their professionalism and dedication, they are unsung heroes. They toil day and night so our children will learn and become successful.

They go to college and become experts in some academic field and then they go through rigorous student-teaching training and acquire the necessary professional certifications. They participate in regular professional development and keep up with the latest trends in education. They collaborate-teach with other teachers to share knowledge and skills.

Without teachers, we wouldn't be who we are today. Our teachers have played pivotal roles in shaping our lives. They are, undeniably, partners in building our future through our children.

With all the things going on in Suffolk, the City Council and School Board should carefully examine their priorities regarding the city budget. Our children's education should be near the top of the list of our priorities. This means we should pay teachers more---a competitive salary commensurate with their education and experience.

Teachers deserve a pay raise for all the hard work and for all the humiliation, disrespect and unpleasant treatment they receive from problem students and others.

Teaching is not an easy job, especially today. They deal with a lot of students with different backgrounds and personalities. Yet, teachers do what they love to do.

There are times when teachers become psychologists, guidance counselors, doctors, nurses, police officers, mothers or fathers in the classroom. Most do more than what is expected of them professionally.

They also volunteer for extracurricular activities at school. Yet they still find time to help students pass their classes, the SOL (Standard of Learning) and other benchmark tests, and move on toward graduation.

Let's give Suffolk's teachers a pay raise so they won't seek greener pastures elsewhere. They deserve every extra money and status.

Here's a poetic tribute to teachers:

Teachers are Educators

Teachers are educators
taught, trained and tested
dedicated, motivated, liberated
caring, giving and loving
enduring, forgiving, interesting
intellectual, philosophical and social
listening, speaking and thinking
experimenting, discovering, researching
enlightening, encouraging and inspiring
hoping, praying and wishing
for the best in all of our students.

-Chris A. Quilpa, a North Suffolk resident, is a retired U.S. Navy veteran who maintains a blog at onebuddingpoet/writer-chris.blogspot.com. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.

*Published in the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Sunday, April 20, 2014. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hello, April!

Hi, everyone! Good day to y'all! How are we all doing? Me? I'm thankful and glad to be alive and well. Thank God.

The "madness'"of March is gone, for sure, with cold and wintry, snowy weather. Nevertheless, we still have unpleasant events that happened here and there that remain to be solved or resolved such as the following: the mystery crash/disappearance of Malaysian Airline that up to this time we don't know what really happened, how and where it disappeared with a crew and passengers of about 240(?), the mudslide in Snohomish county in Seattle, WA, with over two dozens killed and a number of residents missing; the fiasco over the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare, the turmoil in Ukraine as a result of the takeover or invasion (?) of Cremea by Russian forces, political instability of other countries or other parts of the world, etc. I keep wondering and asking myself why, though. Despite the advances we have in technology, it appears to me that the world has more and more problems. Insurmountable and unresolved. And such "peace on earth" wish remains elusive and far from becoming a reality. Why? Just asking and wondering...

Now, the reality is seasons change. The much-anticipated springtime is here! Thank God. Hence, let's welcome and say Hello, April! Hope you're bringing us much fun, comfort and relief to our weary heart and soul. I'd like to think positive and optimistic that we'll get better, as a people of/with love and compassion, as days come and go...

What did I do and where did I go for the past days/week? Let me recall, folks and friends...Last week, I accompanied my young adult daughter, Tintin, to a local oral surgeon's office. She had her three wisdom teeth (that have been bothering her for weeks) extracted. Thank God, she's doing well and into full recovery soon.

The past weekend, we had a road trip to The Capital. In spite of a wet, rainy weekend, it didn't dampen our spirit to be excited to visit my young adult son Andrew and to watch him perform, with the rest of the cast, in the play "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad" that Saturday evening. I enjoyed the show; we had a great time with the family. Sunday morning, after our breakfast in the hotel, we attended the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, DC. After Mass, we had lunch there at the Food Court. Then, we said goodbye to Andrew and braved the nasty weather on our way back to Hampton Roads. Overall, we had a wonderful weekend together as a family.

Monday, I did have a couple of errands to make. After preparing the bills to be mailed, I went to the post office, with Tintin. Then we went to a store, bought some stuff, then ate lunch at Hardee's.

Yesterday morning at ten, I did go visit my former workplace (back in the days when I was U.S. Navy active duty), NMCP, where I had a follow up medical appointment. On the other hand, daughter Tintin drove herself to her follow up dental appointment. It was a long day for me at the hospital because I ended up having another doctor's appointment in the afternoon. So tired, hungry and exhausted I was that, on my way home, I stopped by at Totoy's Filipino restaurant to buy food to go. Arriving home, I ate my "brunch and early dinner" hot food. My, what a day it was! I needed that rest and respite so bad! But I'm glad, and so thankful to be alive and well...

Well, that's about it, for now. Until next time around, my dear folks and friends. (I have an errand to make. I have to pick up my prescription med refill.) Oh, before I forget, the photos...I've shared them to our Facebook folks and friends already. I'll see if I can embed some in this post. Otherwise, if you're interested to see them, visit my Facebook page under the name Fernando. (You and I can be FB friends.) How's that?

Thanks for reading/visiting my blog. Take care and Have a wonderful day! May God bless US always!-chris a. quilpa, 02 April 2014



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Welcome, Long-awaited Spring*

“And Spring arose on the garden fair/ Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere/ And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast/ Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.” — The Sensitive Plant, Percy Bysshe Shelley

Finally, it’s here! After months of cold, dreary, snowy weather, it’s undeniably springtime.
Just look around you. Signs of spring are everywhere — in the shopping malls (spring fashion collections, with lots of yellow and blue), grocery stores and supermarkets.

Easter lilies, daffodils, dandelions, tulips, crocus, cherry blooms, cute little flowers in our lawn, birds flocking around in our backyard, hopping from fence to fence, pecking at something in the ground. The fields, mountains and hills are covered with grass and wildflowers, and the golden sun and clear azure skies are a beautiful sight to behold.

Nature is so beautiful, colorful and wonderful in the spring.

I love spring. I feel so invigorated when it’s spring. It’s about time to open up our windows and doors and smell the natural, fresh air outside. — so good and healthy, isn’t it?

We’re getting active again, now that the sun is shining brightly and inviting us out of our cubicles to see and smell, hear and touch and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Spring is the time to rise up, to stretch and spread that body that has been in a cocoon for months of cold, wet and snowy weather. With longer days, we can create something worthwhile, such as growing flowers and vegetables in our gardens or establishing relationships with neighbors.

With brief morning showers, then white clouds that gradually disappear, and the sun ready to rule the land, there’s no doubt in my mind that we have golden, productive days ahead.

There is spring cleaning to be done. We all have clutter scattered around the house. This is a good opportunity to get rid of some stuff and give it away or donate it to charity.

On the other hand, there’s this spring break for students and teachers who have been busy with school. I’m sure they can’t wait to spend some time off going somewhere. But I hope while they’re having a short break from school, they continue to engage in worthwhile learning activities and experiences.

Now, to welcome spring, I’d like to share with you, “The Cool Spring,” one of my short, simple poems that captures the season:

When the sun is up
And the sky is clear
There’s warmth all over
There is no more fear.
As the land turns green
And our vision’s keen
Everyone’s excited
Happy and committed
To get out and moving
To welcome the cool spring.
While the sea is inviting
To beach-lovers cavorting
We hear the sweet sounds of spring
Welcoming the renewal
The beauty and revival
Of good living and loving.

We see flowers blooming
Leaves of trees sprouting
Birds chirping and singing
Butterflies fluttering
While busy bees buzzing
Humming new life in spring!

As the comedian Robin Williams says, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”
Have fun and enjoy spring with all her colorful offerings.

Chris A. Quilpa of North Suffolk is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.

  *Published in Suffolk News-Herald, Saturday, 29 March 2014. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Good Education is the Answer*

I have come to the conclusion that a good education is the answer to the societal problems we have, from poverty and illiteracy to alcohol and drug abuse to crime and teenage pregnancy.

When we have had a good education, we become productive, responsible and law-abiding citizens. We can also inspire others to become successful in the their own way.

Parents play a vital role in the educating their children and should do all they can to give their children the education they deserve. Parental support and encouragement can go a long way toward ensuring students' academic success.

Children in poverty can also aspire to improve their conditions by obtaining a quality education. To these children, poverty is not a hindrance.

This situation, in fact, describes my life growing up in the Philippines in a family of 11 children. My father was a laborer doing odd jobs, while my mother was a homemaker. They could hardly send us to high school.

I stayed with my paternal grandparents and my older (married) sisters, who tried to help me continue my schooling. Eventually, I became a self-supporting student who had to transfer from one high school to another while working several jobs.

My diligence, perseverance and hard work paid off when I graduated from high school as one of the top 10 students out of (about) 700 graduates. After graduation, I had wanted to join the U.S. Navy when Subic Naval Base, in Olongapo, was still in existence, but because I knew no one who could assist me with the application process, I put that dream on hold.

With financial assistance from my relatives who immigrated to the U.S., I matriculated to college. I didn't disappoint them, because after four years, i became the first in my family to graduate from college and blazed the trail for my nephews, nieces and children.

After college and passing the teachers' board exam, I taught at private and public high schools, while pursuing graduate studies on weekends. I later landed a job as a college instructor at (the) University of Northern Philippines prior to emigrating to the United States.

After working for two years in San Jose, California, I finally realized my high school dream of joining the Navy. It was a wonderful learning experience providing health/medical care and radiologic exams/services to patients from one duty station to another. Eleven out of 20 years were spent here in Virginia.

After 20 years of military service, with a wife who teaches chemistry and two young adult children, both gainfully employed college graduates, I had to retire due to physical disability. despite this, I still try to share my passion for educational empowerment.

I believe that if you have a good education, you can always use it wherever you go, and nobody can take it away from you. In addition, it takes a village to raise a child. Hence, I am forever indebted to my family, teachers and co-workers who have inspired me to overcome obstacles and challenges to succeed in life.

Success is not about how much money I have but how much I've lived and turned my life around for the better.

I hope my story will inspire students, especially in high school, to stay in school and obtain higher education or to join the military and further their education.

A good education enables us to be free, responsible, productive citizens. Being able to think independently, speak up or voice out your opinion fearlessly, worship your own religion, practice your profession and to have a choice since you have a voice---that is liberating.

-CHRIS A. QUILPA, a resident of North Suffolk, is a retired U.S. Navy veteran who maintains a blog at onebuddingpoet/writer-chris.blogspot.com. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com

*revised/edited version of my original article, "The Importance of Education" and was published Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Suffolk News-Herald, an award-winning newspaper and Suffolk's news and information source since 1873. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com.

The Importance of Education*

*(Author’s Note: The following is the first draft of my article submitted to Suffolk News-Herald on March 12, 2014. Initially, the original title that I had in mind was “Education is the Solution.” After I’ve written the piece, I changed it to The Importance of Education.)
With all the societal problems we have such as poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, alcohol and drug abuse, crime, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy, economic inequality, to name a few, I have come to the conclusion that a good, decent education is the answer. If we have a good, decent education, we become productive, useful, responsible, and law-abiding citizens. We can also inspire others to become successful, in their own way.

Parents play a vital role in educating their children and should do all they can to give them the best education they deserve. Parental support and encouragement can go a long way in students’ academic success.

Children in poverty can also aspire to improve their conditions by obtaining a quality education. To these children, poverty is not a hindrance. This situation, in fact, describes my life growing up in the Philippines in a family of eleven children. My father was a laborer doing odd jobs while my mother a homemaker, and they could hardly send us to high school. I stayed with my paternal grandparents, then with my older sisters who tried to help me continue my schooling. Eventually I became a self-supporting student who had to transfer from one high school to another while working several jobs. My diligence, perseverance, and hard work paid off when I graduated from high school as one of the top ten students out of seven hundred graduates. After graduation, I had wanted to join the U.S. Navy when Subic Naval Base, in Olongapo, was still in existence, but because I knew no one to assist me with the application process, I put that dream on hold.

With financial assistance from my relatives who immigrated to the U.S., I matriculated to college. I didn't disappoint them, though, because after four years, I became the first in my family to graduate from college, and blazed the trail for my nephews, nieces, and children. After college and passing the teachers’ board exam, I taught at private and public high schools, while pursuing graduate studies on weekends. I later landed a job as a college instructor at University of Northern Philippines prior to emigrating to the United States.

After working for two years in San Jose, California, I finally realized my high school dream to join the Navy. It was a wonderful learning experience providing medical care and radiologic services to patients from one duty station to another. Eleven out of twenty years were spent here in Virginia. After twenty years of military service, with a wife who teaches Chemistry and two young adult children, both gainfully employed college graduates, I had to retire due to physical disability. Despite this, I still try to share my passion for educational empowerment.

I truly believe that if you have a good education, you can always use it wherever you go and nobody can take it away from you. In addition, I believe, it takes a village to raise a child. Hence, I am forever indebted to my family, teachers and co-workers who have inspired me to overcome obstacles and challenges to succeed in life. Success is not about how much money I have but how much I've lived and turned my life around for the better.

I hope that my story will inspire students, especially high schoolers, to stay in school and obtain higher education or to join the military and further their education.

A good education enables us to be free, responsible, productive, law-abiding citizens. Being able to think independently, speak up or voice out your opinion fearlessly, worship your own religion, practice your profession, and to have a choice since you have a voice - that is liberating.

-CHRIS A. QUILPA, a resident of North Suffolk, is a retired U.S. Navy veteran who maintains a blog at onebuddingpoet/writer-chris.blogspot.com. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Before and After Sunday Church

Hi, everyone! Good day to y'all!

After a two or three-day spring-like, mild weather, we're now encountering cold weather again. Well, I hope there's no more snow on the way because we've got enough already for the past two months , I would say.

This weekend, my daughter Tintin came home because she's scheduled to play piano in this Christian church in neighboring city, here in Hampton Roads. As always, we're glad to see her home from D-ville where she's currently employed.

Yesterday, Tintin, my sis-in-law Rose, wife Freny and I visited our tax preparer in Virginia Beach. We submitted important papers/documents she needs in preparing for our tax returns for 2013. Afterwards, we decided to go to one of our favorite Filipino/Oriental restaurants, FeLynn's. There we bought rice cakes and other food to go.

Today, Sunday, Tintin, Freny, and I attended Mass at our parish, St. Paul's Catholic Church in Portsmouth. No, Freny and I  did not have any assignment or were not scheduled as Eucharistic ministers in today's Eucharistic celebration. Nevertheless, we're ready and available to fill in if one of our fellow Eucharistic minister (or ministers) doesn't show up. Rev. Fr. Gino, our parochial vicar, celebrated the Mass with us.

After the Communion, we left the church quietly because we don't want to be late for daughter Tintin's scheduled gig as a paid pianist in a Christian church in neighboring city, every other Sunday, unless otherwise indicated.

As always, we participated in the church worship service there. We prayed and sang with the rest of members of faith community there. Pastor Dan delivered a stirring sermon, talking about issues relating to exploitation of natural resources for their own benefits, damaging the environment.

After church, we had lunch at Taco Bell in Chesapeake. Then, we went home. After an hour, Tintin left 757 for D-ville. Btw, she called us a few minutes ago informing us she arrived there safe and sound. Thank God.

Well, to capture the moments we have had together, here are the photos for you all dear folks and friends, near or far...Thanks for watching and reading my blog. Do appreciate it.








































 Texts and photos (c) 2014 by Chris A. Quilpa

Well, this is all for now and until next time around, folks and friends. Thank you for your time. Hope you're doing well. Take care. Have a wonderful day. May God bless US always!-chris a. quilpa, 03.16.2014