“This Christmas and just like all the other past Christmases, I consider myself luck to be born prematurely, with a curved spine and an enlarged heart with a hole. Family and friends say that I am God’s miracle in progress and I believe this with all my heart!” says Gloria Requilman Leal, principal and founder of the STEP Learning Academy and an Outstanding Citizens of Baguio, adding “I know that I am a living testimony of His healing love and power.”
Gloria in Excelsis Deo, “Praise to God in the Highest” as it is His birthday today. Let us greet each other, Merry Christmas.
Today, we glorify and honor Him. And true to Gloria’s name of praise and honor, she chooses to pay it forward by doing quality service and good deeds in her fields of endeavor: as an educator, administrator, trainer, coach, counselor, and prayer warrior.
In spite of her physical condition, she still opts to take the road less traveled. “I accept the challenge. I want to make the lives of the less fortunate and people with disabilities .more meaningful and I can do this thru my sponsorships of their causes.”
Gloria’s pensively conveys, “If a cat has nine lives. I already surpassed four lives: during my infancy, when I had a bad case of scoliosis in 1984, when they found out that I had a hole in my enlarged heart. Then last September 2022, a battle with an acute case of dengue. I am really God’s miracle in progress. The hurdles of life do not stop me from pursuing my dreams and vision for the school.”
Her parents, Efipania and Andres, both demised come from Pangasinan. Five of her seven siblings, Pat, Bien, Camilo, Thelma, and Baltazar, all passed away.
The surviving siblings are Conrado, Brenda, and Glo, including the demised ones were all born in Baguio. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications at Saint Louis University. She also has a diploma at the University of the Philippines and took language studies at the Open University.
Gloria also earned post graduate units at the University of the Cordilleras. Her leadership trainings include seminars and the conduct of mini camps for the Children’s International Summer Village (CISV), a program for 11 years old children. Her involvement with CISV, where she is called tita Glo spans more than 10 years.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not dampened her spirit. “It was difficult, but the school did not close, “recalled this Outstanding Citizen Awardee and survivor of three major surgeries. On her back are the permanent marks of 76 stitches, imprints of life’s struggles. Underneath the skin are rods and wires,” Gloria explains.
“In spite of the decrease in enrollment and because of various reasons, we still survived. Notwithstanding there was no increase in tuition. We were able to sustain our operations. I attribute the sustainability of our school to the resiliency of the staff and the teachers.”
STEP Learning Academy employs about 15 teachers. The pre-pandemic enrollment was more than 300 plus students, but this decreased to 225.
Her volunteerism extends to many people in need. She is grateful for the trust people put in her and the school as a “drop off center” for donations during calamities. This gives her an opportunity to share God’s abundant blessings to the less fortunate and victims.
Gloria is victorious. She survived many obstacles in her life. Her strong faith in God is her rock, unwavering. She is stalwart in her belief in the goodness of others.
She wants to inspire and motivate more people to do a little acts of kindness to one another. She champions “paying it forward” as this will make us better persons today than yesterday. To do this, we would be giving a nice Christmas gift to one and sundry.
Gloria is not only a living miracle; she is a testimony to God’s greatness.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Merry Christmas everyone.