Joseph Ocol, president of the Gaudy and Joy Charitable Foundation, Inc., received the prestigious 2013 Kathy Osterman Finalist Award last November 12 in Chicago, Illinois where he has been teaching for almost 10 years.
Ocol was one of only two teachers chosen for their contributions in education and public service. He was cited for organizing a unique mentoring after-school program for high school and elementary school students in a violence-prone area of Chicago and for the humanitarian efforts he has been conducting in Catanduanes the past 20 years.
In Chicago, his program provided opportunities for his students not just to learn chess and math but also to teach chess and math thus developing critical thinking skills and keeping them out of trouble from gangs. In Catanduanes, he has been managing CITFI, a non-profit school, without remuneration.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand to congratulate Ocol and other awardees at the ceremony attended by business, government, labor, school and civic leaders at the Winter Garden of Harold Washington Library.
The Kathy Osterman Award is given by the City of Chicago to individuals for exceptional professional work and public service, a tradition that spans the past 45 years.
As president of the Catanduanes Institute of Technology Foundation, Inc. (CITFI), Ocol visits the Philippines every year to his father’s hometown of Virac, Catanduanes to oversee the school’s humanitarian efforts in educating students from poor families. Through his unique management style, he directs the operations of CITFI with his staff, administrators and fellow teachers. A large portion of his salaries goes in supporting CITFI, including paying salaries to its teachers and staff, and maintaining CITFI’sd ay-to-day operations.
Through its donors, Gaudy and Joy Charitable Foundation, Inc. also helps fund CITFI’s operations.
CITFI is the pioneer school in tech-vocational courses and computer engineering, and the only school offering electronics and communications engineering in Catanduanes.
Ocol has also conducted lectures for teachers and prospective teachers in the Philippines. This year, he held lecture-seminars to graduating students of Catanduanes State University, Cebu Technological University, and the Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges in Legazpi City.
Recently, he received a letter of appreciation from President Barack Obama, and a Chicago City Council resolution signed by Mayor Emanuel. One of his students became a national champion in the 2013 Super Nationals chess tournament held in Nashville, Tennessee. The Super Nationals is the Olympic version of K-12 chess tournament in the United States. His team also came in 6th Place in the whole USA, and is currently the top all African-American chess team in Illinois and Chicago.
“I dedicate this award to the Lord, to my late parents, to the teachers, staff and students of CITFI, to all my students and fellow teachers in Chicago, and to all the donors and friends who have been supporting Gaudy and Joy Charitable Foundation, Inc.– for without them I would have no inspiration. I just want to leave everything to the Lord because Thy Will be done and the best award of all will come from Him,”