Note: “Ate” is pronounced “ah-teh” and means “older sister,” a term of endearment or respect for any older non-related female.
by Kaye P.
“Sabi ko nga, kapag aalis ako, mamimiss ko talaga ang mga batang ito (I told myself that if I leave, I’m really going to miss these children),” Jenifer Añonuevo says with a fond smile on her lips when she was asked what part of her job she enjoyed the most.
For her, a simple “Hi, Ate!” from the countless students of Xavier School Nuvali is enough to lighten the pressure of being a school guard.
Ms. Anonuevo, also known as “the Ate Guard in the gym…the one with the bun,” is stationed at the gym entrance of the Xavier School Nuvali. Every morning, she greets the students and parents with a bright smile, and holds out the ID scanner for the little children to reach it. Her job, although simple, was hard to obtain for Ms. Añonuevo.
“Galing ako sa Manila. Kaso lang, wala nang ibang pwesto dun kaya dito ako napunta. (I started out in Manila. But there weren’t any places there for me, so I got assigned here),” she says with a nod, recalling how her previous agency refused to give her a job.
Ms. Añonuevo then decided to apply to “Commander”, her current agency.
“Sa awa naman ng Diyos, kinabukasan may pwesto. (With God’s mercy, there was a place for me on the next day),” she says with a smile, saying how much this event helped in raising her children.
However, this job required her to leave her children in Bicol to protect the students of a school all the way in Nuvali. When she was asked how she balances the pressure of being both a mother and security guard, Ms. Añonuevo just waves it off with a smile. She has complete trust on her husband, knowing that he will do his duty as a father while she is away working.
She has high hopes for her children, as most parents do. Her only wish is to see her children live a better life. She wants them to finish their education; it’s the one thing that gives her the determination to start each day.
“Kasi, kung magulang ka, lahat ng kaya mong ibigay, ibibigay mo. (That’s what parenting is: you give your children everything you have to offer),” she says with firm nod, showing how much she can attest to this saying.
For Ms. Añonuevo, the duty of a school guard relies on the determination to keep the children safe. She believes that every guard in the school campus must work together do this duty; their work requires fast eyes, so there is no room for mistakes. For her, if a problem arises, not only one guard will be held responsible but all of them.
“Kasi kasalanan ng isa, kasalanan ng lahat ‘yan. (The fault of one is the fault of all),” she says when asked why all of them will be held responsible for one person’s mistake.
She also believes that mistakes are inevitable; this just makes teamwork more crucial in their work. Each of them must support the one who has made the mistake and remind them that that mistake affects all of them.
Now, three months into her job, the one thing Ms. Añonuevo enjoys the most about her work are the students. Their constant chatters and bright smiles never fails to lighten the her mood. This makes a person realize that a simple “Hi!” or “How are you?” can mean a lot.