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Our Valedictorian IS A COMEBACK QUEEN

The story is nice when you hear it, pero kasi, tapos na.

First time kong makakita na ang mga medal na dapat sana ay isinasabit sa valedictorian ay INAGAW ng graduate at isinabit sa kanyang mommy.

8 medals all for mommy

8 medals all for mommy

Very symbolic. Very heartwarming. Very touching. I am proud that a leader molded by my Alma Mater is very thankful and gratuitous to her parents.

Joan Gatapia and her mom

Joan Gatapia and her mom

She is Joan Gatapia, the valedictorian this year for the Laguna BelAir Science School secondary level 2014. I do not really know her personally, I am just telling you the story as to what I heard among the teachers and her valedictory speach.

Consistently an honor student. I know the feeling. Dumaan ako sa ganun. Oo, mayabang ako, blog ko to. Pero this time, ipagyayabang ko sa inyo ang valedictorian namin sa school year na to.

It was during the school year 2013-2014 when her dad died. Sabi niya, she fell figuratively. Ikaw na bigla kang nawalan ng gabay at sandalan, kahit gaano ka katalino at katapang, magbi-break down ka. I can just imagine tears and lonely nights from her. Naramdaman ko yun nun namatay ang lola ko. Masakit. Parang hindi mo alam kung san ka lulugar. Parang hindi mo alam kung anong oras ka dapat kumain. Wala ka na sa huwisyo mo nun.

She was about to recover from the emotional pain when something physically bad happened. Na-injure siya. Femural something. Kinailangan lagyan ng turnilyo ng mga buto niya para hindi kumalas. Fragile ang katawan, oo. Pero ang pagkatao hindi.

Our principal, Ms Michelle Zeta, told me na sinet niya na ang mind ni Joan, saying na since 20 days siyang wala sa klase, mahirap na maging top. Ito siguro ang naging drive ni Joan. Being very passionate, nahabol pa rin niya ang grades niya. She still ended on top.

Here is a copy of her valediction:

To  our beloved Director, Ms. Mercedes Contreras-Dannenberg, our principal, Ms. Michelle Zeta, the chairman of the Board, Atty. Anthony Charlemagne Yu, our special guest of honor Congresswoman LeniRobredo, teachers, school personnel, parents, fellow graduates and friends, good evening.

Passion. It is what drives us to go on. This is what drove me to be here and stand with no more injured leg and crutches, with no more words left unsaid to my father, and with no more grudges from the past.

As a student, we all have those moments when we lose our way. I lost mine the moment I entered my last year in high school. You might be thinking, “What does a consistent honor student have to say about losing her way when her path has always pointed to the top?” I can assure you that my path has faltered like anyone else’s has. You see, despite my grades, I am like any other student, any other human – I commit mistakes, I doubt my abilities, and I fall. And I have fallen literally and metaphorically.

Falling metaphorically. What happens when a strong pillar of a structure falls? Like one post of the covered walkway breaks? The structure won’t be as stable as it once was and most likely it will fall. This is what happened when my family lost one of its strongest pillars – my father. I have always pictured myself with a family so strong and happy that nothing could ever break it. But like I said, I am also human. I am like any other human.My family and I were not able to escape the reality of loss. When my father’s inevitable death came, our family fell and with it… I fell.

I lost the urge to wake up in the morning to face the reality of a father gone. I lost the will to walk the school corridors with a liveliness of a teenager. I lost the drive to learn, and more importantly, I lost my passion to become the best person I can be.

Falling literally. Three months passed and I slowly accepted my reality. Life goes on, whether I pick myself up or not. I chose to move on and find my happiness with my father guiding me from heaven. I slowly regained my once cheerful disposition and enthusiasm. People even commended me for my strength. However, due to the turn of significant events, I fell. As in bumagsak.Yung tipongtumatakboka, taposnabunggoka.Taposnahulogka.After that, I found myself yet again in a familiar territory – the hospital.

Standing in front of you is a girl who had a fracture in her right hip and femoral joint. She had to endure an operation; she had to had screws implanted in her body. Without those metal implants, she wouldn’t be able to stand and walk ever again. Yes, I was absent for almost a month and I knew I missed so much – all the lessons, quizzes, tests, and projects. I had to go to school riding a wheelchair, using a walker, or having a cane in my hand. It was very embarrassing to be honest. My faith was tested and I doubted Him.I did not know God’s purpose but I still believed that everything happens for a reason. Eventually, I did see and realize what He wanted to tell me. I had to slow down. Just this moment, slow down. Give time for yourself and appreciate the little things you have, and be grateful of the people around you. One of the best things this accident taught me was to how love my family, most especially my mother.And the same goes to my class, to those who pushed the wheelchair for me, to those who picked up my pens when they fell, to those who volunteered to pass my test papers and notebooks to my teachers, to those who listened when I had something to say, to those who stayed… THANK YOU.

Falling twice, I knew what I had to do. At first, I only wanted to stand here because my path pointed toward that direction.  But my last year in high school taught me that there is much more reason for me to stand here. Despite everything, I wanted to be here, standing with two strong legs and to be able to say that this success is worth everything my parents have done for me. And this also goes to every student in this ceremony. Our success is not only measured by the numbers we are given. It is not measured by how many times we get a perfect score, a very low score, or a barely passing score. But it is how and why we arrived at those scores.

My journey in Laguna BelAir Science School would not have been this fulfilling if not for the people who accompanied me in this journey. They are my classmates who were with me for 7 memorable years, who went to my father’s wake. Isipinniyo, paanonagkasyaang 23 nataosaisang van?Hanggangngayon, hindiko pa rinalam kung niyonagawayun. But you did, for me and my family.They are my batchmates, who went with me through thick and thin and through sleepless nights especially last Friday night during our recollection. Who shared with me all the triumphs and defeats. Be it Dramafest or the Field Demo.Kahit mag fourth place sa competition, okay langsaatinbastamasayatayo.We’re graduating. No more escaping fromKuyaRockyduring dismissal, no more sneaking to the canteen, no more stressing about the dress code, no more clinic visits for White Flower and no more hell weeks.Yung moment nanapa-bookbindniyonayungSciResniyo..atsasabihinnatin..YES!! GRA-GRADUATE TAYO!! But as we bid goodbye to these things, we also say goodbye to the people around us.

To my teachers who guided me when I lost my way, I cannot thank you enough for all the patience, the support, and the faith that you have given me especially through my toughest times. They were even those who knew I would be standing here against all odds.

Mom, do not think that I gave you the medals because I’m not allowed to put extra weight on me. I handed them to you because I believe that you deserve them as much as I do. To my father, how I wish you’d be here celebrating with us tonight. Dad, this is for you.

At the back of it all are our parents. This night is not solely our success but also the success of our parents. If not for their love for us, they would not spend those stressful hours at work, lonely hours overseas, and painful hours in the hospital bed just so they can live to see this day to see God’s blessing grow to be the person they are destined to be.

I lift up all of these – the teary eyes that hold the wonder of this night, the bittersweet smiles that show both happiness and sadness of the reality that is college, the grateful hearts that baskin God’s glory.

Thank you everyone and once again, a fruitful evening to all.

 

Congratulations Joan. Congrats to your mom and to all parents who raised their kids well. The alumni body is very happy to welcome such a character. 

P: MM – Maybe This Time

First year High School. Napagtripan ng teacher namin sa English na si Ms Aurora na magpatakbo ng play sa classroom. At ang napiling story: Cinderella.

Lahat naman tayo siguro alam ang story ng Cinderella. Kahit ang aming director na si GORI ay hindi na naisipan gumawa ng script.

Hati-hati ng trabaho. Ako, dahil tamad ako, ginawa akong lead role; Prince Charming. Ayos na yun dahil wala ka sa pre-production pag lead role ka. Ang iisipin mo na lang ay internalization of character, costume at syempre pa, script.

Ang napiling lead role na Cinderella ay si SMIKAI. Ok naman ang chemistry namin dahil naging kaklase ko na siya noong elementary ako sa Dominican College. Grade 2 hanggang grade 4 ko ata siya kaklase nun. Sikreto lang natin to ha pero ang balita e nung lumipat na si SMIKAI sa Laguna BelAir School, ako ang ikinukwento raw niya na crush niya. Hindi ako sure ha.

Anyway, pinatakbo na ang storya. Kanya-kanyang bitaw ng linya. Kanya-kanyang arte, takbo ng usapan. Enter stage left, exit stage right. Nakakatuwa ang mga pinaggagagawa namin.

Magaling ang mga propsmen and women. Pinakamahusay ang musical scoring (musical director si Super Ex *hindi pa kami noon).

Nang dumating ang finale at nakita na ni Prince Charming ang babae na sukat na sukat ang paa sa Glass Slippers, pinatugtog na ang huling kanta.

Ang napiling kanta ni Super Ex, “Maybe This Time” by Michael Martin Murphy

Hindi ko alam pero baka nga yun na ang chance para kami ng dati kong kaklase na si SMIKAI e dapat mag Maybe This Time.

http://youtu.be/QxXCPYqTz8Y

Tuwing Wednesday, magb-blog ako tungkol sa naaalala ko sa aking kabataan. Ito ang aking “Project:  Memory Miyerkules” .

Layunin nitong maisulat paunti unti ang aking talambuhay.

Memory Miyerkules Chamba lang daw

Math Quiz bee. 4th year HS.

Sa second floor ng clubhouse ng Laguna BelAir village ginaganap ang quiz bee. Isa ako sa mga contestants. Andaming nanunuod sa amin at nasa mga suluk-sulok sila ng hall.

Nasa bandang kanan ang utol ko na si Choy at ang kanyang tropa.

Hindi naman multiple choice ang questions. Sa level 1 lang ata yun ganun. Pagdating sa intermediate at difficult round, todo computation na ang mga tanong at mali ang sagot mo pag mali ang units.

Well, ang mga kalaban ko e mas bata sa akin.

Ni-release na ng game master ang pangatlong tanong sa difficult round. Sa tally ng scores, ka-tie ko ang isa pang contestant sa leading place. Pero hindi ako kinakabahan dahil difficult round na ito. Wala siyang masasagot sa mga tanong dito.

Bawal magsulat sa handy board pag hindi pa sinasabi ang salitang GO. Pero pwede na magcompute gamit ang scratch paper.

Compute for the area, yan ang tanong habang naka-project sa big screen ang rhombus na given ang isang side at ang base. Nag-compute sa kani-kanilang mga scratch paper ang mga kalaban ko, habang ako naman e nakatulala lang.

Nakangiti pa ako.

Nang sabihin ang salitang GO, sinulat ko ang sagot ko sa handy board ko. Hindi na kailangan ng computation.

Lumingon ako sa mga tropa ni Choy. Nagbulungan sila pero nabasa ko pa rin ang bukambibig nila (“nanghuhula lang si Pepi”).

90 seconds ang ibingay para sa contestants para mag-compute. Hindi ko kailangang ng 90 seconds.

Timer stops. Raise your boards please.

Itinaas ko ang aking board at nakasulat ang aking sagot.

16 units squared.

“Only Pepi got it right.” ang pag-announce ng game master.

Nagulat ang lahat lalo na ang tropa ni Choy.

Nang makita ko ang handy board ng dapat ko na ka-tie na contestant, 16 units. Hahaha, nakalimutan niya na squared dapat ang units.

Sulat para kay Ryan

Dear Ryan Hizon,

Hindi tayo close. Actually, hindi ko nga naaalala na nagkaabot pa tayo sa Laguna BelAir School e. Ganumpaman, kilala kita dahil sa mga naging kaklase mo. Ilan sa kanila ay kakilala ko personally.

Kumusta ba ang naging buhay mo sa Afghanistan? US Citizen ka di ba? Mahirap ba makapasok sa US Army? Nakakakain ka ba ng tatlong beses sa isang araw? Teka, may Adobo ba dun?

Sorry talaga at hindi tayo nagkakilala ng lubusan. Ako nga pala ang presidente ng Alumni Association natin sa LBAS. Naisin ko man na makilala ka pa ng personal, mukhang malabo na. Continue reading