At 52, driver graduates despite odds

Benjie Estillore is not your usual Senior High School graduate. At 52, he juggled his studies at night with his day job as a TNVS driver.

However, he set his mind on finishing his lessons even if he is already working, having been inspired by his wife, a teacher at Rizal Elementary School in Makati, to go back to school. Thus, he followed a strict schedule to manage his time.

For his effort, he was commended by Makati Mayor Abby Binay for his resolve to finish schooling despite his age.

“I am proud and amazed by Mr. Estillore’s determination to pursue his education despite his age and the Covid-19 pandemic. On behalf of the city government, I applaud him,” Binay said.

Estillore first enrolled in the Alternative Learning System offered by the city and then proceeded to enrol in Senior High School at the Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino High School.

In fact, Binay noted he was among those who graduated with high honors when he was in Grade 11.

Estillore believes that education is a powerful tool and a great investment and plans to pursue higher studies after graduating Senior High School.

He emphasized that he does not regret losing considerable income by attending classes instead of working, because he believes he will eventually earn more after finishing his studies. He said he intends to enroll at the University of Makati for a degree in Political Science.

The driver expressed his gratitude to the city for all the benefits he received while studying in Makati City, and called on other local chief executives to emulate Binay’s leadership style.

“I am so thankful to the Makati government and to Mayor Abby Binay for the privilege of studying in Makati where everything is free. We receive free uniform, shoes, socks and school supplies. We are also given food packs, a jacket and a tumbler. I hope other LGUs will follow the mayor’s example. I used to doubt the line ‘Ganito kami sa Makati’ when I was not a resident. But now, I have proven it is true; this is how we really are in Makati,” Estillore said.

When asked for a message for today’s youth, he answered, “Don’t give up, just carry on with your studies.”

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