Mrs. Jafnah A. Odal
She is among a rare breed of people who enjoy the complexities of mathematics. In fact, of all the books that she could get her hand on, it is the math book that Mrs. Jafnah A. Odal of the High School Department enjoys reading the most.
Jafnah was born in the town of Bindoy, located north of Dumaguete city. She is the eldest in a brood of three and the only daughter of parents who both worked in government. Her mother was a public school teacher, assigned to teach in the mountain areas of their town, and her father, who worked at the Department of Agriculture, was stationed in Ayungon. Because her parents worked away from home, Jafnah grew up with her two younger brothers without much time with their parents. As the eldest, she learned to be mature and responsible at an early age.
Helping care for her younger brothers did not, however, get in the way of her studies. Jafnah managed to maintain superior performance in school and completed elementary through college as an honor student.
It was in 1994 when Jafnah took the bold move of leaving home to stay with her mother's relatives in Dumaguete, in order for her to attend a Catholic high school in the city. She was 12 years old at that time but was determined to be educated in an environment quite different from the rural life she was used to in Bindoy. It was a decision she was able to stand by; four years later she was already contemplating a course to pursue in college.
Civil Engineering was her top choice. She took the admission and placement exam in Silliman in 1998 and passed. But her mother insisted against her choice and encouraged her to consider a degree in Education. Jafnah followed her mother’s advice; she took up Bachelor of Secondary Education program major in Mathematics.
To help pay for her college fees, she applied for a scholarship offered by the Commission on Higher Education and was accepted. While her scholarship covered most of her fees, it required her to render service in the University. This gave her the chance to experience work in an actual office setting while a student. She was assigned at the Guidance Office where she spent around ten duty hours per week.
Into her junior year, she joined the Rhoans Fraternity and Sorority. This exposed her to service and leadership opportunities, and later inspired her to take on a leadership positions in the student council. By her senior year, she became governor of the College of Education student body.
Jafnah knew her priorities well. While active in extra-curricular activities, she maintained her focus on her academics. She consistently clinched a spot in the honors roll. In 2002, she obtained her degree in Education, graduating cum laude.
In August that year, she passed the Licensure Exam for Teachers. She recalls: “there was never a dull moment” after graduation. A teaching job at Trinity Christian School in Bacolod, where Jafnah spent five months for student teaching, awaited her. While at Trinity, she received an invitation to teach at the High School Department in Silliman. It was a welcome development that taking the offer was a decision made without any second thoughts.
When asked what the greatest challenge is in teaching math to high school students, she says: “It is in making them realize how important math is.” This task grows increasingly hard especially in this age of technology where gadgets and the internet offer options for quick computations. This leaves Jafnah unfazed though; she remains committed to fighting apathy towards math.
Unlike her fight against students' apathy towards math, Jafnah's love story was not as complicated and tough.
She recalls finding herself looking for a table in 2005 during the annual Buglasan Festival in the province. It was a busy night that left almost all seats taken by families and friends enjoying each other's company over a meal from the kiosks. Jafnah recalls having no choice but to share a table with a stranger in order for her to eat her meal. That night may not have been serendipitous but it opened doors for her and the bachelor that she was at the table with to exchange numbers. Communication between the two remained strong, and months later, casual conversations ripened to romantic relationship.
In August 2010, Jafnah exchanged vows with Lyndon Odal, the stranger that she simply shared a table with some five years ago. Lyndon is a police officer who is with the provincial Special Weapons and Tactics Unit.
Eagerly looking forward to raising a family together, Jafnah and Lyndon prayerfully waited for her pregnancy. But the months turned to years; so they began seeking professional help. In January 2014, Jafnah started her fertility treatment. Nine months later, good news came in the form of two small lines on a pregnancy test stick.
Filled with thankfulness for the Lord, Jafnah, who is a Catholic, committed herself to praying the rosary every day. She recognizes that God alone, who gave her the gift of life in her womb, would have the sovereign power to carry her and the baby safely through the pregnancy.
Describe yourself in three words.
Energetic. Artistic. Passionate.
What is your motto in life?
Nothing is impossible with God.
What makes you laugh?
Nothing in particular, I laugh at anything funny. But what makes me happy is knowing that my students understand me and appreciate what I teach them.
What makes you cry?
When people around me do not appreciate what I do for them
What’s your favorite time of the day and why?
Evenings at home because it’s a time for rest
What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
Sundays, because my husband and I always make it a point to treat ourselves on that day — it’s been our “tradition” since the beginning of our relationship.
What do you love doing when not working?
Clean the house.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
My classroom. This is the same room I was assigned to since I was doing student teaching in college.
What makes you blush?
Sweet words and compliments from my husband. He never fails to tell me that he loves me.
If you were an actress, who would you be?
Tell us a fact about yourself.
I’m known for teaching math in an easy way.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
“Shakay,” Chinese garter, “sudsud,” and “dakpanay”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
No checking of papers, no school work, no house chores; just me, my husband and our baby lying in bed and enjoying each other’s company.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
Many people don’t see me as a religious person but I pray the rosary every day and I always make it a point to attend church every Sunday.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
I don’t recall the exact title of the song, but it’s a song about God’s faithfulness.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Pray the rosary
What’s your idea of a family?
A family should be one’s source of inspiration and happiness. It is group of people who will drive you closer to God.