Kababayan: Five years in the making

 (Scott Fong)

(Scott Fong)

Founded by Nina L. Floro and Jeffery Acidero , the Kababayan Program was first intended as a mentorship program to help Skyline students with their academic careers. In the spring semester of 2003, Floro asked current Kababayan Advisor Liza Erpelo to help expand the program, making English classes the centerpiece for the program. That semester, the program began with 24 Skyline students. Today there is upwards of 350 students in the Kababayan Program.The Kababayan Program is made up of four branches that include all members of the program. The Filipino Student Union, created in the fall semester of 2004, is the student organization for students that are interested in acting upon what they learn in the classroom.Through the FSU another branch of the program was born, Pilipino Cultural Night. Many of the FSU members were interested in putting on a PCN at Skyline College. Erpelo approved to put on one show for Skyline, and to her surprise, many people that didn’t even attend Skyline were interested in helping for the PCN. Through this the class English 104: Applied English Skills for Cultural Production was born, allowing students to organize PCN every semester since. PCN celebrates and showcases Pilipino heritage, values, and activities. A big event at the PCN is dance. Many students were actively involved in Pilipino dance, so they made yet another branch of the Program, the Kababayan Dance Troupe. “The KDT is all about having fun”, Erpelo said with a big grin on her face.The KDT started off as a class taught by a dance instructor from the Philippines. Unfortunately, the class had to be closed because the teacher, Victoria Hafalia, injured her back. Now the KDT is a club, but eventually will become a class again once somebody with qualified credentials can teach it.One of the most important branches of the Kababayan Program, the Kapatiran Mentorship Program “was accidentally born because we couldn’t find enough community mentors,” said Erpelo. This program focuses on having returning students mentoring new students in an effort to give students a chance to thrive.About 20 percent of Skyline students are Filipino and “we rank the highest, above college average,” for success rates of the Filipino students, Advisor Nate Nevado said. He believes the Kababayan program is a beautiful thing because every two years it acquires “fresh new students with fresh new ideas.”The Program is constantly putting their efforts together to make events happen for the Skyline community. Currently, PCN is the constant and events such as Rock the School Bells 3, The FOB Show, and fundraisers are in the making but require a lot of work to bring to Skyline.Skyline College is not the only school that Kababayan reaches. They also teach classes at local high schools such as El Camino and Westmoor. Counselor/Advisor Marissa Mariano teaches Career 650 at El Camino and Career 100 at both schools. Alongside Mariano are Skyline students Allan Gargaritano and Alex De Guzman as interns gaining relevant experience in teaching our future generations.Throughout the years, the Kababayan program has put together many events, from their annual PCN to coordinating the performance of The Romance of Magno Rubio, to their most recent 5-Year Anniversary Ball. Erpelo believes that no single event defines their program. She said “without the students, there would be no Kababayan program”; they are what define the program.