Venancia Catay was taken out of school at the end of her 4th grade by her father who didn't think his daughter needed any education after that, to become a wife and mother. How wrong was Lolo Tatay! It's not that he was stupid. He did not know better. This would become even more critical when Venancia married Natalio and moved to the United States of America.
Venancia came to America in 1947 knowing one word in English. No, since it was the same word in her native Visayan. As her eldest child learned to speak English in the New York City public school system, so did she, as well as from the other wives in our New Hyde Park neighborhood as they gossiped over the fences between our yards and on the sidewalks.
After16 pregnancies and 10 surviving children, the realities of living in New York City caught up with Venancia. Against her husband's inane wishes, she went out of the house and got a job in the Housekeeping Department of Long Island Jewish Hospital, a few blocks from her home. It was a relatively well paying job with great benefits for a 4th grade primary school graduate.
In gratitude for her niece's help, our mother helped Julita finish her last 2 years of high school in Tagbilaran City, and her 4 years of college in an agricultural school in Bilar, Bohol, which included a school field trip to Columbia, South America. With those qualifications, she was able to secure a job with the Dept of Agriculture in Ubay, Bohol.
Just think what Venancia could have done had she a college education, not just with her job, but with her children. So in memory of Venancia, we, her children, grandchildren, relatives and friends would like to stem that provincial barrio thinking of not educating the mothers of our future generations by creating a scholarship to help the girls in our extended family back in the Philippines get a college education.
We have helped our cousin's Marcing daughters, Lulu and Lilet, complete their college after the untimely death of their father Sammy. We all miss Sammy and will let him rest in peace by making sure that his daughters have to opportunity to finish their college educations that they have striven for, not to be lost to a circumstantial tragedy despite their efforts...Joey Tabaco
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