Dr. Elma D. Donaal
Mother of Nine
The SOFAD Experience
By: Angelica Binayan y Mendoza
The Baguio City National High School (BCNHS)-Main and its eight (8) Annexes; namely Dona Aurora, Sto. Tomas, Loakan, Bakakeng, Happy Hollow, San Vicente, Roxas and Fort del Pilar are the most privileged public high schools here in the City of Baguio. Although miles may keep them far away from each other, every chance they get, they become one. This is for the reason that, they are led by just one strong and amazing woman, their mother, Madame Elma D. Donaal, Ed.D.
For a day I had a chance to become her. I was the Scout Principal for a Day of BCNHS on the 16th of October, 2007. And for that day, I was able to experience the life of a Principal of nine public high schools although I just stayed in the main campus.
It was another busy day for her. The week that just passed has been the busiest, it, having a lot of co-curricular activities occurring. Tons of documents piled on her desk to be signed, meetings to be held, phone calls to be made, visitors to entertain and problems to be solved; a normal day for a busy mother of nine. The task given to me was simple, get the school’s trash for two weeks straight be collected by CEPMO, accept visitors and additional documents, and do routes. I was able to accomplish those tasks even before due time, and the feeling of fulfillment was great. I then asked myself, if I felt fulfilled with those little tasks accomplished already, how about for her? How much more fulfillment does she feel every afternoon when she knows she has done a lot for her nine children? On the fulfillment feeling scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, I’m betting a nine or ten on her.
So, here goes her day.
The number of documents to sign? Too many.
Meetings she had? Two or three.
Calls she made and received? Ten or less.
Routes she did? One.
And visitors she accepted? Three including the SOFADs.
Those two visits I cannot forget. Those happened somewhat simultaneously and the way she handled them was amazing. One of the visitors was from one of children, Fort del Pilar and the other, from Cathedral. The agenda of the old woman from Cathedral was for Virgin Mary since it was Rosary Month. Her son, had a more complex agenda, the relocating thing of her son. I remember her son arrived while she was having a meeting and after her meeting, that was the time she faced her son. When the meeting with her son was going on, the old woman just went in and seemed to have ‘barged’ the first meeting. Her agenda with the woman was snappy. Just a few hi’s and hello’s, introduction bites, after which straight in to the agenda and then boom! Done. It was that fast.
When my day was over I told my family and friends that I salute her. Every one asked why. I simply answered, “Because she is a woman who knows what she wants, she is strong willed and she can handle things.” She is, and I gotten to know, see and prove that only now that I am in my Senior year. But I don’t regret it. In fact, I am happy. For at least, even for a year, I was able to correct and prove something to myself, that indeed she is very busy and that she cannot face all programs of the Main because she has other bigger things to face and that she trusts the other heads that she makes them lead.
Knowing her, being her, even just for a day, was another spectacular moment for me. I remember complaining about our incentives to my mom and she said, “Don’t mind the incentive, think about experience.” Mothers truly know best, it is without a doubt, truly about experience.