January 25, 2019 was the day we took a break from activities in school. It was a holiday in MC because we were celebrating President’s Day. But for the teachers— particularly me and my partner Teacher Gene—and the students of the MC-Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf (MC-SAID), it was a much-awaited day.
This opportunity to visit Emerson stemmed from the first President’s Challenge. Teacher Gene and I handled the first group of students who competed in the challenge. The task of having to prepare the pitch, the prototype, and the exhibit were all unreal. To go through the concrete process of identifying a problem they’d like to solve and making an actual project as a solution was something new for our students. It was a tough start for us because most of them were reluctant to join. It was a leap of faith to wait for brave souls who were willing to accept the challenge.
When the MC-SAID winner was announced, everyone was so ecstatic that silence broke in the hallways. Aside from winning for the first time, one of the things the winning group got was an invite to visit the multinational company, Emerson Electric Asia. Thanks to one of the judge’s intentions to help the winning group understand their project better and be able to look at it from a wider and different perspective.
MC-SAID, of course, grabbed the opportunity. Right after that invitation, we communicated with the BEU coordinator of the Henry Sy, Sr. Innovation Center, Mr. Jeff Zulueta, to make this tour a reality. It took us three months to organize and realize this dream. A lot of preparations were done as we wanted to get the most out of this rare opportunity.
At the opening of the new year, we announced that not only was the President’s Challenge group winner going but that Emerson requested for us to bring more students! The tour was a great opportunity for the winning group to prepare for their upcoming exhibit in February and a great exposure for the rest of the MC-SAID students.
Heading to Emerson, we were given a tour of the different facilities. After a brief presentation about what the company does, the students learned how companies like Emerson solve various concerns and problems of a community.
Our first stop was their Solution Center where we got a glimpse of all their extraction and water separation processes. They demonstrated to us a miniaturized setup of the actual equipment and how it is operated. Afterwards, we moved to their IT department, which is quite large as it involves managing the global computer network of the company. The department is also responsible for controlling the industrial and commercial equipment of their clients worldwide.
Next, they demonstrated how a walk-in refrigerator works. The students also got to enter and experience how cold it was inside.
Finally, some of the engineers lent a helping hand to the students’ project proposals. The experts patiently critiqued the project of the students and suggested materials or instruments that will help them build their “solutions-based project”. There were a lot of questions and the Emerson experts redirected the ideas to something feasible. They were very much willing to support us is any way possible.
Hearing and seeing everything happening that day, we can see how the students made the effort to ask questions even if their queries were just out of curiosity. The facilitators patiently answered each question and welcomed more.
With the help of companies like Emerson, MC-SAID students are now more inspired and empowered to become solution-finders who can contribute something good to the community.