KEITECH president Atty. Allan Barcena awards a certificate of recognition to class valedictorian and Oscar M. Lopez awardee John Fery Torreon, accompanied by his mother, with Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez, DPATwenty-two-year old John Fery Torreon and his friends tried their luck at KEITECH Educational Foundation in 2021. When the results of the exam were released on his birthday, all of them passed—except him. This challenged him to apply again last year. To his surprise, he qualified and made it to the top 10 passers.
After almost a year of training at the center, Torreon twisted his fate and turned it into a sweeter success. During the commencement exercises, he was recognized and awarded as the class valedictorian and recipient of the Oscar M. Lopez Award of the 14th batch of KEITECH’s regular training program.
Torreon’s inspiring story is just one of the other 59 trainees who recently graduated from KEITECH, a 14-year-old training center that offers values-based technical-vocational education supported and operated by Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
For school year 2022-2023, a total of 60 trainees graduated and completed a rigid eight- to nine-month regimen of in-campus skills training and three to four months’ industry exposure with KEITECH’s partners and sponsors in Leyte and Cebu City such as PASAR, Primary Structures Corporation, FREQit Solutions and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Twenty-nine scholars are residents of Kananga, with 11 scholars from Ormoc City and 20 from Isabel. These students receive at least four to five national certificates upon graduation.
Life’s bitter reality
Torreon recalled how life had been before entering KEITECH.
“My struggles began at an early age when my father died due to a heart attack while fishing in the middle of the sea. I was aware that my mother cannot sufficiently support our daily basic needs so I worked as a construction worker. A year after, I applied as a janitor in PASAR, anything to help my mother with our financial concerns,” he narrated.
But the challenges went on and on, especially when he started his first day at KEITECH.
“Being away from home and being away from our families for the first time is one of the reasons many of us thought of quitting. It got worse because of the no-cellphone policy and strict house rules like waking up as early as three in the morning to get ready, the military training, housekeeping and the skills training itself,” he said.
KEITECH president Atty. Allan Barcena shared in his welcome message during the graduation ceremony that discipline, top-of-the-line skills and purpose-driven values are “KEITECH’s remarkable formula—training students to achieve world-class skills that are perfectly combined with a set of distinct values that make you empowered and sought after by employers locally and globally.”
KEITECH was established to help underserved high school graduates become highly skilled and employable, particularly in industries with high demand for workers such as construction, metals and engineering.
In his commencement speech, Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez, DPA, imparted to the graduates: “One advice that I can give to you is to make learning new things a lifelong process. When you learn something new every single day, you will never get old.”
And the KEITECH graduates learned their lessons and realized why they had to experience that rigorous training and military discipline for more than 300 days, armed with knowledge, skills, discipline and determination.
For Torreon, he is ready to take on more challenges in his journey outside of KEITECH. He is confident that for every slight chance of success on the first try, there will always be unlimited attempts to make things better and sweeter the second time around.
(Story/Photos by:Jolly Jamoralin)