In its annual statewide conference held Feb. 25-27,2022, the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA) honors two Filipino Teachers with OUTSTANDING TEACHER Award. Both are from San Diego, both are immigrant teachers and both are members of the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CLTA) based in San Diego. The award is a recognition of their excellence in teaching the language and their dedication and commitment to their students.
The Filipino Language Program in San Diego is one of the most successful language programs in the nation. From one class of Filipino when it started in 1988 at Bell Junior High School, it now has close to 2,000 students enrolled in San Diego County. It is second only to Spanish in terms of number of students enrolled. There was a time when only the major languages, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian and German were taught as Language Electives. After Filipino was introduced, nineteen other languages followed suit; Vietnamese, Arabic, Pashto, Lao, etc. From its humble beginning, the Filipino Language Program in San Diego has gone a long way. In the words from Sacramento, it has become the “Model for the Less Commonly Taught Languages in California”.
Jacquilin Magat-Lapid known as Jackie to her countless friends and colleagues came to the US as a 15 year old immigrant from the Philippines. She hails from the province of Pampanga. At Morse High School, she came under the tutelage of Mrs. Rosalina “Sally” Idos who opened up a class of Filipino for Native Speakers. It was a felt need at that time because many of Jackies contemporaries who all were Philippine born immigrants were finding it difficult to transition to the American way of life. There was a constant clash in campus among the Philippine born and the US born students because of cultural disconnect. The boys without them realizing if started to act like a gang committing some petty crimes. They got in trouble with the law. Some of them were brought to the Juvenile Hall and in the worst scenario some of them were deported back to the Philippines. Some of the girls had unwanted pregnancies. When Jackie was taking a class under Mrs. Idos, she joined Kaisahan where she became one of the star performers of Philippine Folk Dances. Her Filipino class and her active involvement with Kaisahan enabled her to withstand the tremendous peer pressure from her friends who have lost their way. When she was about to graduate, through the strong recommendation of Mrs. Idos, Jackie was awarded a five year scholarship which enabled her earn her Bachelors Degree from San Diego State University. She went on to earn her Masters Degree from Alliant University.
Ginang Jacquilin Magat-Lapid started teaching Filipino in 2005. In 2016 she moved to Mira Mesa High School where there is a large concentration of Fil-Am Students. Then she started teaching Filipino at Miramar College. She welcomes positions of responsibility as an opportunity to serve. At one time she was the President of FILAMEDA (Filipino American Educators Association). At another time, she was the President of CTFLC( Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture). She worked with San Diego Unified School District as a Curriculum Writer and was a Co-Chair for textbook adoption in Filipino in the District. Her advocacy for Gawad Kalinga brought her to a presentation of the International Conference of WCCI (World Council for Curriculum and Instruction) held in Pecs, Hungary in 2010. She is the Producer and Director of “Voices of the Fil-Am Youth” which aims to tackle issues related to the Fil-Am Youth of San Diego and is conducted through live streaming. One of the popular programs she got involved with is with CCAP (Career College Access Pathways) where her students at Mira Mesa High School could earn units which will be credited in College. Her approach to teaching is Holistic. She wants her students not only to learn the Language but also to become leaders in the community and in the Global stage. She teaches from the heart and her students love her for it. Her students are very much involved in Filipino community events. They do the annual Culture Night and she accompanies them to the Disneyland and does a lot of other things to build beautiful memories in their school life. Her achievements were not left unnoticed. For 2022, she is honored by CLTA (California Language Teachers Association) with an OUSTANDING TEACHER AWARD. Jacquilin Magat-Lapid is a recipient of the same statewide honor and recognition bestowed on her Mentor Mrs. Rosalina V. Idos 25 years ago. Hers is a beautiful and inspiring story. Jackie has become a treasure in the Filipino community of San Diego.
Jackie was raised by her aunt, Sylvia. She is married to Michael Lapid also a teacher of Filipino. They have a five year old son, Mickey.
RIZALYN M. CRUZ, Guro
Mrs. Rizalyn Cruz, Guro hails from Davao City, Philippines. She earned her Bachelors Degree from Ateneo de Davao, a Jesuit run University in Mindanao. Back in the Philippines she was a High School teacher and part-time college Instructor. She migrated to the US in 1997. She studied at San Diego State University and in 1999 she started teaching Filipino at Southwestern Colleges. In 2010 she was hired as a Teacher of Filipino at Otay Ranch High School. Initially, she had only three classes of Filipino. This jumped to five classes the following year. Her teaching is standards driven and she uses a wide variety of teaching methodologies to make her students engaged in the learning process. Her students are having fun at the same time that they are learning the language. At Otay Ranch High School she organized a Dance Troupe, Pangkat Sayaw which performs not only in campus but also in the community especially in Convalescent Homes. She has a separate Club called Bayanihan which manages the Annual Culture Night. This enables the diverse students of Otay Ranch High to showcase their own culture. She is one of the strong supporters of the annual Magkaisa Conference where parents, students and teachers come together to discuss issues relevant to the Filipino community. Mrs. Cruz is a a Teacher Trainor of SAILN (Southern Area International Languages Network) where current and would be teachers of the Languages are trained to become Fellows of the Languages in the state of California. In 2018, she was the Pilot Teacher of the very first after school Filipino Language program in the Elementary level. The Principal of Salt Creek Elementary school was very much impressed with her teaching skills. Mrs. Cruz is currently the President of CTFLC (Council for the Teaching of Filipino Language and Culture) which meets regularly once a month. She meets separately with the Board when there is a need. During her incumbency, she initiated the publication of a CTFLC Bulletin. This supplements the CTFLC website as a means to inform teachers and the public of activities and issues related to the teaching of Filipino in San Diego. She also initiated the formation of a Rondalla to develop greater appreciation for Philippine music. In a joint venture with San Diego Unified School District and Poway Unified School District teachers and students of Filipino in San Diego are connected with their counterparts in the Philippines. She strongly believes in establishing a strong working relationship with various organizations like COPAO, SAILN, FLCSD, CLTA, San Diego Unified School District, Poway Unified School District and Sweetwater Union School District.
As a beginning teacher of Filipino, Mrs. Cruz was in attendance when Mrs. Rosalina V. Idos was honored as an Outstanding Teacher in the Languages in the state of California in 2007. By her own admission, what she witnessed has become an inspiration in her teaching career. Her Jesuit education has made her truly believe that Service to Humanity is what gives meaning to our life. She takes pride in the nobility of the teaching profession that the word Guro (Teacher) is attached to her name. Congratulations Ginang Rizalyn M. Cruz, Guro.
Ginang Cruz is married to Arthur Cruz, a Health Care Instructional Assistant. They have two sons.