Domestic worker, 60, graduates from junior high school in Zamboanga City

RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2017 11:46 PM

A 60-year-old domestic worker is part of a class of grade 10 students of Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School who will move up to senior high school next school year.

Normalita Cabibi, who grew up in Dumaguete City, enrolled in the open high-school program of the Department of Education in 2013. 

The program gives an opportunity to working students and older people who want to finish high school. 

According to Cabibi, it was her employer's neighbor who encouraged her get into open high school.

She was hesitant at first out of fear that she would be bullied by younger students, but her determination to finish school pushed her to continue studying.

During the first few months, Cabibi would bring extra clothes so she wouldn't have to wear her school uniform after class. She eventually became comfortable in school, adding that she even encouraged other students to wear their uniform even after the class.

Cabibi grew up poor in Dumaguete City. She moved to Basilan when she was 15 to work for the Bucoy family.

Forty years later, she found herself still working for the same family that treated her as one of their own.

According to Cabibi, she once thought of continuing her studies during her first few years with the Bucoys but her plan never materialized.

She plans on continuing her studies if given the chance.

Socorro Canaya, the principal of Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School, said the school has prepared a special recognition for Cabibi during the moving-up activity in April.

She added that Cabibi is an inspiration to young students; despite her age, she was determined to finish her education.

Cabibi is among more than 100 students who took part in the open high school program from Don Pablo Lorenzo who will move up to Grade 11 next year.

Canaya said her school is among the first to offer the program in Zamboanga City.

The program has produced thousands of graduates since it was launched in 2005.