Digicast Negros

Topnotchers best friends

Keana Marie Bartolome and Venus Nicole Jucal (l-r)*

For Keana Marie Bartolome and Venus Nicole Jucal, both 23 and education graduates from the University of Saint La Salle-Bacolod, their friendship has lifted them to where they are now — as secondary teacher board topnotchers.

When the Professional Regulation Commission released the results of the 2023 Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) Friday afternoon, May 19, Bartolome was in fourth place and Jucal was in ninth place.

In an interview Saturday, both of them said that they were still overwhelmed with the results, adding that it was the work of God that after all the hard work they passed and were among the Top 10.

Bartolome works as a teacher at St. John’s Institute- Northpoint Campus and Jucal is an online English as Second Language (ESL) teacher.

“When the results came out, I was riding a van for our school trip and I was just informed by my co-teachers and my cousin and I could not believe it,” Bartolome said, adding “It felt surreal because I found the board exam difficult. It was God who let me pass the exam”.

Jucal also confessed that she also found the exam hard saying “I just thank God for his goodness”.

Their friendship started when they entered grade 7 at Himamaylan National High School in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental. Bartolome is from Brgy. Nabali-an and Jucal is from Brgy. 3.

Bartolome’s parents had passed away and she lived with her grandparents while her aunts financed her education in high school. She got a scholarship from the Department of Science and Technology when she went to college and it covered almost all her expenses at USLS.

Jucal is the daughter of Adonis and Leila Jucal, who work at the school canteens at the Himamaylan NHS and Carlos Hilado Memorial State College.

The two friends graduated with Bachelor of Science in Education degrees from USLS last year. Bartolome was Summa Cum Laude and Jucal was Magna Cum Laude. They reviewed and took the board exam together.

“We are together in every pair or group activity, even in taking the same majors until doing our thesis. Even until the day before the examination, we stayed in the same dorm and reviewed until midnight instead of taking a rest,” Bartolome said.

“It’s good to have a reliable friend”, Jucal said. Her friend had been there if she needed someone to talk to or to de-stress from the review, she said.

“Every time we encounter a challenging topic or question, we can rely on each other to find solutions for it. Even if there is nervousness, at least we are nervous together and we made it,” Jucal said.

After they knew the results, they called each other up and were both in disbelief, Bartolome said.

They said they dedicate their feats to their families, friends, teachers and professors, and everyone who supported them.

Aside from having someone to rely on as a friend, Bartolome advised future LET takers to know themselves better like what kind of learners they are, what is their best time to study, or what things would help motivate themselves.

“When we lose our drive, I believe that discipline should come into play. They should find ways to enjoy the review with friends and devise creative ways to study”, she said.

Meanwhile, Jucal also advised future takers to study earlier to avoid cramming as the exam has a broad scope.

“It’s important that you have a goal, a dream you really want to reach because these are the things that would remind us when things get rough,” she added.*

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