Remember 'dahon girl' of Bohol? She's moving up to Grade 7

Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2017 12:18 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2017 12:19 PM

Jhesa Balbastro, 12, poses for a photo during her first day in junior high. Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A year after showing the plight of poor students during the final presidential debates for the 2016 elections, Jhesa Balbastro, 12, is now entering junior high.

Balbastro, then 11, pulled on the heartstrings of viewers as she narrated how she had to use banana leaves for her notes in school because she had no money to buy writing paper.

"May spelling test po kami noon. Walang pera po kami pambili ng papel. Nahiya po akong manghiram ng papel sa mga kaklase ko kaya dahon na lang sinulatan ko," she recalled.

Despite the humiliation, the young girl, now a Grade 7 student at the in Cangawa National High School in Buenavista, Bohol, remains determined to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. 

Balbastro said her dream to finish her studies never ceased because she wants to help her family. The 12-year-old girl is the eldest among a brood of 7. 

Her mother has no work and her father is a farmer.

DahonGirlFamily || The family of Jhesa Balbastro. Annie Fe Perez, ABS-CBN News

Just recently, a family friend in the same barangay, pledged to pay for Balbastro's schooling in junior high and allowed the girl to stay in her house as her school is far from home. 

During the first day of classes on Monday, she and her siblings also received school supplies from Sagip Kapamilya, Bantay Bata 163 Cebu and TV Patrol Central Visayas.