“Even in death we can take refuge in God, for through Christ, death is merely an event that brings us to the presence of the Father. Death is not really the end, but the beginning of life as it should be. God made us to spend eternity with Him, and although we get a foretaste here of His presence someday we will see Him face to face. The best is yet to come.” (Darlene Sala)
Who is Mrs. Ofelia J. Vinluan to us?
“Good morning my dear pupils!” That’s the way Ma’am Ofelia J. Vinluan would greet the children at Jolencio R. Alberca Elementary School every after flag ceremony. The last time she uttered these words was exactly five weeks ago.
Let me to emulate her words. “Good afternoon my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Ma’am Vinluan first stepped in our campus as our principal on July 18, 2007. From that day on until November 9 this year she made a difference in our school as well as in our lives.
Ma’am Vinluan was a generous person. As what one of my co-teachers said, “Si Ma’am Vinluan dako ug kasing-kasing, taas ug kamot, mabaw ug bulsa”. Every time we had a faculty meeting, each teacher would bring a mug, plate or spoon for it was expected that she would prepare food for us.
Who can ever forget among us the siopao…the pomelo..the mangosteen..durian…rambutan..clothes..bags…all of which were given to us by Ma’am Vinluan? Yes, these may be little things but for us these little things she did constantly had touched our lives.
She would invite us every time there were special occasions in their family…birthday, fiesta, wedding, thanksgiving. Husbands and wives of the teachers were also invited. No wonder even the family members of teachers in our school were also close to Ma’am Vinluan.
If there were school programs, she also allotted her own money for the prizes. Indeed, Ma’am Vinluan had the heart to share her blessings among us.
As a principal, she was so dedicated and committed to her work. If she had a meeting that would start at 9:00, she would report to school first.
She was strict when it comes to punctuality and attendance. She valued time. She always encouraged the teachers and pupils to go to school on or before time. We are grateful for this because we also learn. We also grow professionally.
She always reminded us to strive for academic excellence…to work hard and not to settle for mediocrity. Even if we belong to a rural school, she inspired us to win in different contests initiated by the Department of Education. It was her dream that she may hear that our school would win in a regional contest. Two days before her last breath, she was able to fulfill that.
She managed well the financial status of our school. She has the intelligence. She was humble. She never boasted for her accomplishments.
She also loved the pupils. She called them by name. She prayed for her children and she prayed for the children in our school, too.Moreover, she gave them bags, pens, shirts, slippers, etcetera even if it’s not Christmas.
In times of need, we found refuge in Ma’am Vinluan. She would lend her money.
We salute her for the life she shared with us. We learned a lot from her. We’re proud of her.
Farewells are so hard, especially when we’re saying them to someone we love so dearly. This moment, our hearts are wrenched with pain when we have to say good bye to Ma’am Vinluan. Even if we hate death we can’t avoid it. We want to stay together forever, but we can’t do it by our own selves. As Christians, there is hope. We believe that the greatest family reunion is coming. That’s exactly what God has planned for us. We’re all going to be together again…And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Who is Mrs. Ofelia J. Vinluan to us?
She’s not only our principal…She was also our mentor, our sister, our mother, and most of all a friend.
(I read this on December 14, 2010 during the necrological service of the late Mrs. Ofelia J. Vinluan. I miss her so much.)