Spanish Prof for 28 years talks about his heydays in Adamson
by Jane C. Mangalus
Born at a time when Spanish was still widely studied and spoken in premier universities—and even in the homes of families descended from Spanish colonizers—Prof. Carlos Florez Certeza (and don’t his three names all sound very Spanish?) unsurprisingly learned this European language as if it were his native tongue. Blame it on more than a century of Western colonization, the country has inhabitants who have embraced the Spanish language, culture, and tradition fused with our own. Prof. Certeza could even be mistaken for a Spanish national as his well-chiseled features resemble those of Europeans, with a freckled white skin and a towering slender figure to boot, in his 65-year old frame.
Prof. Certeza was one of the awardees in the Institutional Awards during the University’s 77th Foundation anniversary last February 13, 2009. Together with a plaque, he was given a 25-k ring, which marks more than 25 years of service in Adamson.
Among his credentials were being chairperson of the Spanish Department from 1999-2000, news editor of Nueva Era publication from 1990 up to the present, and passing a set of exams given by the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Spain for Spanish as a foreign language as per evaluation made by the University of Salamanca granted on February 22, 1993.
He retired from teaching at Adamson on October 31, 2008.
Touchstone: What are your fond memories of the University and of the students?
Prof. Certeza: Before I can talk about my fond memories of Adamson, let me begin by talking about the person who was instrumental in bringing me to Adamson. He was Sr. D. Guillermo Gomez-Rivera. He was then the Chairperson of the Spanish Department. He was a prolific writer in Spanish and English and a great academician in his own right. He is also a dance instructor for flamenco (Spanish dances). He was then in need of an additional faculty for his department and because of this, he convinced me to give up my work as a Secretary Interpreter at the Consulado General de Costa Rica and guided me continuously until I learned the trade of teaching of Spanish.
Touchstone: Can you cite particulars?
Prof. Certeza: Since I am a family man like most of us, any increase in salary and other benefits, granted by the Administration through AUFEA, was a source of joy for my colleagues and me. These of course, can be one of my fondest memories in this Institution.
Touchstone: What about your students?
Prof Certeza: With regards to students, what I can say is that I had more fond memories of students I handled 5 years ago or even before, academically speaking, than the present groups of students. The problem was that I could not recall their names because of their number. I had also fond memories of common events celebrated yearly in the University like Christmas, Foundation Week, Graduation exercises, Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Sept. 27, and Feast of Miraculous Medal, Nov. 27. These yearly events bring about happy memories to me, to my colleagues, as well as to the student body.
Touchstone: Why is it still important to learn and study Spanish to this day?
Prof. Certeza: Institutions like Instituto Cervantez, and even our Center for Language Learning, still offer such courses. Learning languages, apart from English and one’s vernacular, gives one an edge over others; learning language is a literacy skill that one may use in conversing with other races and helpful especially when you plan to work or study abroad.
Touchstone: What do you think is your biggest contribution to Adamson?
Prof. Certeza: It is such a difficult question to answer; perhaps, my greatest contribution to the University was how I go about my job inside the classroom, for 28 years, I have always tried my best to be fair to my students, by teaching them the subjects I was handling to the best of my ability and inculcating upon them the virtues of St. Vincent de Paul particularly simplicity, humility, and love for those who have less in life.
If Prof. Certeza had his way, he would certainly still love to practice his craft until the gift of language escapes him.