Graduation: Personal Labor Comes to Fruition


SAS Ai Class 2014

SAS Ai Class 2014

Our volunteers who run the everyday business of the SAS Ai financial aid program experienced their labor’s just reward at the graduation ceremonies of our first 2014 class of scholars. They remembered a group of kids, some shy and timid, who joined us in the program last 2009-2010. They were no more than young, tender saplings, newly graduated from intermediate school, filled with dreams and high expectations. They enthusiastically dove in, head first into the school year.

We all remembered the times when some of them faltered, slowed down by the dizzying array and sheer volume of high school work. Pop quizzes, periodic tests, quizzes, exams and research assignments, writing projects, athletic intramural sporting events, and vocational shop classes all added to the burden. But true to their promise they slugged it out and prevailed making all of us so proud. Four of them placed in the honor roll with one finishing as the class salutatorian. At the graduation reception, they stood beaming with pride along with their parents, teachers and mentors. Amid the flurry of activity from the paparazzi, they all thanked our donors and program supporters.

“We thank you all, our dear benefactors, donors, and sponsors.
Without your generous help we couldn’t have finished high school.
God bless you, your family, your health and your work.”

A few members of the Board of Trustees based abroad made it to the Philippines during the graduation ceremony. Joining in the celebration they saw how our newly graduated scholars extended their gratitude and appreciation as they spoke with all the dignitaries and guests. Talk about some happy campers. Our scholars looked so grown up. Where has the time gone? With smiles and grins and small conversations later, our volunteers, donors and supporters all agreed: “It was all worth it – all that sacrifice and labor.”

And so it is.

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Baby’s Breath


Plain and uncomplicated but stunning in their lace-like simplicity

Plain and uncomplicated but stunning in their lace-like simplicity

In the field grew all kinds of plants – no particular organization, just plants randomly taking root and thriving, reaching for the sky. Some more established plants stood tall above the tangle of weeds and grass, their flowers dominant under the bright sunlight. How beautiful a sight to behold. Purple, orange, pumpkin, bright yellows, oyster shell white, hot white, even lavender and of course red – myriad of colors. I stood there transfixed soaking in the view, breathing in the subtle perfume and sweet scents wafting all around me.

Cropping up in bulges like a rooster’s comb, out to my far right at the edge of an irrigation ditch or water splash culvert, several layers of tiny flowering plants grew in profusion. The plants themselves were not showy at all. They looked rather plain and common – much like weeds, saw grass and dandelion. In the breeze their spindly branches danced. Their tiny flowers sprouting at the end of long stems looked like tiny popcorn bursts, or white buttons and even tiny white daisies. But upon closer scrutiny the flowers were actually very dainty and fragile like snowflakes.

What’s so special about Baby’s Breath? These plants are definitely related to the dandelions and buttercups – lowly ground creepers largely ignored by nursery growers. Bunched up in a bouquet by themselves, they would look like some white duster contraption – or even maybe a witches’ fly swatter. Yet when tiny Baby’s Breath blossoms surround long-stemmed red roses, the roses seem more prominent – almost ostentatious in their red velvety petals becoming deeper red still.

Such is the way our organization works. We are a non-profit manned and operated by unpaid volunteers – each doing their specialty, keeping the organization humming like a well oiled engine. We have our executive officers – I suppose they would be the long-stemmed regal roses, or exotic blossoms and orchids. And all around them are the support folks – the baby’s breath blossoms in a bouquet, simple, uncomplicated – or the many volunteer workers in the background dedicated to making things work. Ultimately all members of the organization as in a bouquet – be they roses, orchids, ferns, baby’s breath, squash flowers or plain ever green leaves – help our group achieve its mission and vision.