The Heaven’s Call For A Soaring Dove

Lyka Louisse Villaflores | Feature Editor | The OLPSian Times

In a heart-wrenching incident that has left the whole OLPSian-Paulinian community in shock, Ms. Denice, a beloved and dedicated educator, tragically lost her life in an unexpected accident. The news of her passing has cast a somber shadow over the school and its students, as well as the entire OLPSian Paulinian community she served. Through this, let’s pay tribute to Ms. Denice’s contributions as a daughter, teacher, and OLPS employee.

Ms Denice Aparentado pose during the OLPS Retreat at Mount St. Paul Retreat House. (Photo courtesy of Mr. JC Royeca)

Due to the reign of Typhoon Doksuri (Egay), countless citizens struggle to keep themselves dry and under a stable roof. Devastatingly, the passengers of a ferry in Binangonan were no longer able to board the shore.

On July 27, twenty-seven people died tragically from a boat that capsized in the lakes of Brgy. Kalinawan, Binangonan, Rizal as a result of the typhoon’s strong winds. According to the Coast Guards, the passengers fled to one end of the boat just before it overturned.

One of the passengers, and Our Lady of Peace School’s teachers, Ms. Denice Antonil Aparentado was one of the poor passengers who passed away, thus her mother, Mrs. Glenda Aparentado expressed her grief to the media seeking justice every anak, especially hers, deserves. Becoming one with the sea and heavens only at 24 when she only intended to come home to her family was an absolute tragedy.

Call for justice of her parents

I want there to be justice, I want to know who should be held accountable for what happened,” Mrs. Aparentado stated. Her spouse, Mr. Domingo Aparentado also grieved about how he did everything to save his daughter but was unsuccessful in doing so.

Authorities vowed to investigate in order to identify the number of passengers on board, but they have not yet made their findings public.

A good shepherd to the students

The OLPS family of Ms. Aparentado paid tribute and mourned for her kind soul. Individuals who we interviewed about her along with their experiences with her described her as a respected, disciplined, intelligent, and generous teacher.

One of them being Stephen Merecidio, an alumni who worked with Ms. Aparentado during his work immersion. “I recall the great, fleeting memories I had with her, like those brief meetings along the corridors of our dear school.” He states, followed by saying even though he never had the privilege of being her student, he is one with those who mourn for her passing.

As the community mourns this devastating loss, students have come together to share their memories and celebrate Ms Denice’s life through candlelight vigils and memorial services. Parents and colleagues have expressed their admiration for the dedication and inspiration Ms. Denice brought to their profession.

A message from a co-teacher

The accident serves as a tragic reminder of the unpredictable nature of life, prompting conversations about safety measures and the importance of appreciating those around us. The school and community are working together to ensure that Ms Denice’s legacy lives on, exploring ways to honor their memory, such as establishing a scholarship fund or dedicating a memorial space on campus.

In times of such sorrow, it becomes evident how influential educators like Ms Denise in shaping the lives of young minds. The impact they leave behind stretches far beyond the classroom walls, touching the lives of countless individuals who were fortunate enough to cross paths with them.

Mr. John Carlos Royeca who is a part of the Araling Panlipunan department and is also known to be one of Ms. Aparentado’s close friends warmly shared with us a message he dedicated to his “Denesy”:

To Denesy, Palaban, Magaling na Guro, at Mabuting Tao. Kung ako ang tatanungin, ganyan ko ilalarawan si Denice bilang isang katrabaho at kaibigan. Babaeng palaban, isa si Denice sa masasabi kong guro na kayang ipaglaban kung ano ang alam niyang tama at may paninindigan sa desisyon na kanyang gagawin. Ilalaban niya ang sa tingin niya ay dapat iwasto at marunong din siyang magpakumbaba kung kinakailangan. Magaling na Guro, nakasama ko siya ng isang taon sa pagtuturo at masasabi kong magaling siya magturo sa larangan ng Araling Panlipunan, mabusisi siya sa kanyang mga gagamitin sa pagtuturo, madisiplina sa tamang lugar, at kasundo niya rin ang mga bata na kanyang tinuturuan. Nakikita kong nirerespeto siya ng kanyang mga naging estudyante kahit hindi na nila siya guro. Pang huli, si Denice ay naging isang mabuting kaibigan, naaalala ko pa noon, bago pa lang kaming guro ng paaralan, isa si Denice sa tumulong sa amin sa paggawa ng lesson plan, exam, pag gagrado at iba pa. Ibinabahagi niya samin ang kanyang kaalaman nang sa gayon ay pare-pareho kaming umangat sa pagtuturo, hindi siya madamot sa impormasyong kailangan namin bilang isang guro kaya ganun na lamang yung nabuo naming samahan sa loob ng isang taon na hindi ko sukat akalain na tatagal lang pala ng isang taon. Ngunit naging maigsi man ang aming pagsasama, isa lang ang napatunayan ko na si Denice ay totoo at naging mabuting tao hindi lang sa kapwa niya guro, kaibigan at estudyante maging sa Panginoon. Maraming salamat Denesy (tawag ko sa kanya) sa isang taong pagkakaibigan, sa tawanan at mga rants natin sa buhay! Mananatili ka sa aking/aming puso’t isipan at sayo pa din ang korona bilang External Kween. Mamimiss ka namin Denesy at tulad nga ng nasa damit mo sa litrato “You are Home.”

The OLPSian-Paulinian Community is grateful for the years Ms. Denice has spent with the school. Ms. Denice is a respectful daughter, an inspirational teacher, and a hardworking employee. These memories will last forever in their hearts.

While the pain of Denice’s loss will undoubtedly linger, her spirit and dedication will continue to inspire those who were fortunate to know her. As the community navigates through the grief, they will undoubtedly find solace in the lasting memories and positive influence Ms. Denice has left behind.

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