Farewell Ateneo Grade School

It didn't feel like eight years. On March 25, 2010, the sesquicentennial batch of the Ateneo Grade School had their commencement exercises.

As my son put it: "Eight more years to go." We're half-way through school. Where did all the time from Prep to Grade 7 go? The years felt like they went so fast and now, we are off to high school. Sigh.

The commencement speaker for this year's Grade School ceremonies was social entrepreneur and Ateneo graduate as well, Illac Diaz. I expected more from his speech (actually, it felt more like a marketing presentation than a commencement address) and somehow, I felt that it didn't really connect with me as as a parent nor with my son, as a grade school graduate. I expected more personal stories about how he remembered his Ateneo Grade School experience, perhaps, but then again, I'm, not the one writing the speech...

I asked my son what he picked up from the speech and he said: "If you have good ideas, put them to action." Well, that's fine. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was the fact that the address was filled with concepts, ideas, and numbers that made it feel quite cold. There was a portion about touching thousands of lives but it would probably have made more sense to focus on the story of a single person whose life was touched and changed.

That said, March 25 was still a memorable day for all of us as it capped our eight-year stay at the Ateneo Grade School. Even as an adult, I have met Ateneans who remember all their grade school sections to this very day. I suppose Grade School is a time for childhood memories, before we move on to the more challenging period of High School.

So as we move on, we remember all the Guardian Angel fiestas; the boys' Bigay Puso drives; the first Holy Communion in Grade 2; Kite Flying and Crossing Over in Grade 3; Father and Son Night in Grade 4; Class Nights; various co-curricular activities; all the things they made in Work Ed -- like the CD holder, the parol, etc. and their confirmation. Thank you too to all our boys' teachers and school officials who saw them through and taught them for the past eight years.

Today, by the way, is Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) in the Philippines. To be a teacher and to be a parent, these days, is truly an act of kagitingan. May our boys also grow to be men of valor and men for others throughout their lives. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

[By Angelica Viloria | Friday, April 9, 2010]

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