Mrs. Maria Amelia Pino-Calumpang
A Perfectionist Cancer Survivor
As School year 2011-2012 comes to a close, her calendar for a busy summer opens. It starts off with the 2012 National Schools Press Conference scheduled right after the Holy Week. Next in line is a journalism workshop for Grades 4 to 6 pupils from Silliman and other schools that stretches until the official end of summer break. Her line-up of work-related involvements over summer keeps her away from family. But her energy and passion for her craft buoys her up for a series of enhancement activities for students whom she has considered her “other children”.
“I’m a perfectionist! I want things done correctly at all times. I don’t like haphazardly done jobs. When I work on something, I make it a point to give my best. That’s what I also expect from my kids and students. I always remind them to put their best foot forward,” she says.
Mrs. Maria Amelia Pino-Calumpang — “Amy” or “Amz” to her colleagues — is an English teacher at the Elementary Department of the School of Basic Education. She is also the adviser of the school paper, Stones and Pebbles. She also coaches students in journalism and public speaking.
She obtained her two undergraduate degrees from Silliman: Bachelor of Mass Communication in 1985 and Bachelor of Science in Education in 1999. She joined University as a faculty member in the same Department right after completing her second course in 1999. Her professional career with Silliman celebrates its 13th this year.
Her story is one of strength and determination in the midst of trials. Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 2A) in 2008. She survived six sessions of chemotherapy and is still under close monitoring by her doctors whom she visits once every three months. Despite the threat to her health, she fuels her drive to make a difference in the lives of her pupils. She continues to coach and accompany them in writing and speaking competitions. And how she lives and draws inspiration from life, she shares with her pupils: ”Work hard and be the best the best that you can be.”
Ever faithful, Amy says of cancer: “God has a reason why He gave me cancer, so, in good times and in bad, I still choose to praise Him. No matter what circumstances we all are in, we just have to entrust everything to the Lord.”
Let’s get to know Amy more outside the four walls of the classroom.
Describe yourself in three words.
Amiable, motherly, passionate
What is your mantra in life?
Nothing is impossible with God.
What makes you laugh/cry?
Funny movies, jokes, lively and smart companions make me laugh. It makes me cry seeing or hearing someone suffer.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
I look forward to every Sunday because it is the only time we can be together as a family and spend time to worship the Lord.
What do you love doing when not working?
Cooking for my family and making the house spic-and-span.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
The Library and Cafeteria.
What makes you blush?
When I'm embarrassed.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
I’d like to be Angelina Jolie. I like her energy and her active involvement in charities for children. I love kids, both my biological children and my students. She reaches out to a lot of children from different nationalities, which means, she also loves children.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I’m a perfectionist! I want things done correctly at all times. I don’t like haphazardly done jobs. When I work on something, I make it a point to give my best. That’s what I also expect from my kids and students. I always remind them to put their best foot forward.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
I used to love playing jackstone when I was young.
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
A relaxing day would be when I don't have to think of school work.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
By the grace of God, I survived cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 2A in 2008. I have survived six sessions of chemotherapy. I was able to overcome such ordeal with the support of my family and loved ones. Right now, I’m still under close surveillance, going to my doctor once every three months.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord” by Don Moen. God has a reason why He gave me cancer, so in good times and in bad, I still choose to praise Him. No matter what circumstances we all are in, we just have to entrust everything to the Lord.
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Pray, read my Bible and spend quiet time with the Lord.
What’s your idea of a family?
People who love and care for each other no matter what the situation may be.