Letter from a High School Graduate


Dear Sir,

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(L-R) Mr Macanas, Juzel Ann Macanas, and Mrs Macanas on graduation day

Life is like a game… a Game of Chances. There are different challenges, levels of achievement, rewards, successes, failures, and even “draws” where you don’t win, don’t lose, but just break even, or move laterally.

The most scary part of this Game of Chances, I think, is the inevitable end when you see the “pop up” that says, “Game Over!” And you are left asking, “How did I do?”

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Mr Macanas pinning high honors award on Juzel Ann’s lapel

I am finally finished and successfully done with the “Achievement Level 2” in my life, called high school or secondary education. “Level 1” for me, of course, was Elementary school.

In negotiating Level 2, I endured all the emotions – happiness, sadness, hurt feelings, disappointments, craziness, embarrassing moments, foolish pride, being sickly, stressful moments – even while recovering from sickness, and eventually feeling better. And many more.

Many challenges came and went. Some disguised like homework, pop quizzes, research activities, journalistic reporting and the like. Some involved my own personal problems, notions of inadequacy, and lack of sleep. Sometimes in level 2, the Game of Chances told me I failed, or I lacked something, or I needed more improvement. But even then I still played, and never gave up giving the game my best shot.

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Classmates pose for a group photo

My allies and friends helped me get by – fortunately – and of course I speak of my parents, teachers, friends, SAS Ai, and God. SAS Ai rewarded me with awards, recognized my efforts, encouraged and inspired me to continue on. SAS Ai gave me strength, motivation, eagerness to improve, and the heart to courageously face and surmount obstacles.

Being a member of the first batch of graduating 12th grade Senior High School (new K-12 program) in our country makes me feel special. It makes me feel proud. Not getting the graduating class “GOLD” medal however, saddens me a bit because I feel I disappointed all of you. But I am happy to say that I received many “BEST” awards in different areas:

  • Outstanding Student List – first and second semester (the entire school year)
  • Parangal Awardee – Best Cartoonist and News Writer of our school paper “Aweng”
  • Best in Mathematics
  • Best in Accounting
  • Best in Applied Economics
  • Best in Organization and Management
  • Best in Business Finance
  • Best in Filipino
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My parents and I went up the stage many times to receive the BEST awards

I feel that the BEST awards were declared spontaneously, unplanned, and not part of the main program. As the unexpected winners were announced, tension covered the floor. Each and every time my name was called out for a BEST award, my parents and I walked up the stage, received the award, and went back to our seats. We did this many times and each and every time my name was called, the audience, teachers, staff, and students erupted in uproarious applause. It was surreal. They clapped, screamed, screeched, yelled, beat their seats with blunt instruments to make noise.

For each of those fleeting moments, I owned the stage. I felt like I was the only star twinkling brightly in a starless sky. I will never forget the experience. And in the backdrop, all my hard work, the sweat, the tears, and sacrifices faded and vanished into thin air, like wisps of smoke, in light of the immensity of the awards.

My parents, not to be outdone, dubbed me “Class Valedictorian”. I had to laugh a little. I knew they were way too biased. But I love them both for their loving gesture and kindness.

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Juzel Ann Macanas

Now, I face the next level of the Game of Chances. I expect this step up level to be more difficult, and riskier to negotiate. Where will I continue my studies? Are there college scholarships out there for which I can qualify and apply? Questions. This much I know. Saint Louis College looms largely in my sights as my next school. I want to pursue a BS degree in Accountancy.

I am faithfully hoping God will guide and help me through my search, and guide me through my next challenge level. He always has. I know he always will.

Thank you so much SAS Ai for investing in me and my high school education. Thank you to all our benefactors, donors, and supporters. I hope I will be able to pay it forward, just as you have exemplified with your financial aid program.

Sincerely yours,

Juzel Ann B. Macanas
SAS Ai Batch 2018

 

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11th Grade Class Topnotcher, Daniella Lazo


Daniella Lazo

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Daniella Lazo

Daniella graduated on top of her 11th grade class, garnering the highest of honors.

She is poised to move up to 12th grade next school year (2018-19). Congratulations Daniella. You make us very proud.

Daniella’s academic record is impeccable. With her positive, outgoing, and friendly attitude, she contributes actively to classroom discussions, participating in various learning activities.

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Daniella Lazo’s Mom pinning one of her many top award ribbons

Her class attendance and good sense of punctuality remained solid and unbroken throughout the year. She is actively involved in her community in the practice of her faith, and in the mission of her church.

Daniella stands as the perfect example of an excellent, hard working, and focused student. She helps other scholars in the SAS Ai program by tutoring and by peer-to-peer coaching. She is collaborative and a very supportive team player during school projects.

(All photos courtesy of Ms Margarita Bayan, SAS Ai Student Affairs & Activities Coordinator)

May 31, 2018 – Senior High School Graduation


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Graduating High School Seniors, (L-R) Reggie Ann Padiwan, Jazelle Rose A Peck, Ms Margarita Bayan (SAS Ai Student Affairs & Activities Coordinator), Juzel Ann Macanas, Phoebe Balala, and Fegie Yvette Layco celebrating their Outstanding Student Awards and Parangal Awards.

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Phoebe Balala

Congratulations Seniors!… er… High School Graduates!

 

We are so proud of you. You did very well in your studies and in your extracurricular activities.

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Fegie Yvette Layco

Go out now into the world and proclaim: “Education is Freedom”.

 

Shout it out loud and clear – from the rooftops of your homes, and from the windows of your dorms.

Wear it proudly like a badge as you go through your daily routine within the community.

And when you go to college, display it proudly on campus by your confident demeanor and by the way you respectfully treat others.

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Juzel Ann Macanas

You are the product of an excellent SAS education. Live it. Blaze a trail.

 

Remember to come by and say hello to the next generation of SAS Ai scholars, whenever you are in the local area. Say hello to Ms Margaret Bayan, your student coordinator. Remember to send email messages to those who had confidence in you – investing generously towards your future.

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Reggie Ann Padiwan

But most of all – do yourselves proud by continuing to practice good study habits (don’t memorize; read to understand). Maintain excellent grades, and participate fully in classroom activities and in outside-the-classroom activities. Have fun studying by being curious and questioning.

 

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Jazelle Rose A Peck

Be community conscious by remembering your roots. Respect others and they will respect you back. Also remember those who need help and render them help to the best of your ability.

 

Set your sails to the wind. May God bless you in your new voyage… in your quest for success.

(All photos courtesy of Ms Margarita Bayan, SAS Ai Student Affairs & Activities Coordinator (SAAC)).

 

May 30, 2018 Graduation Ceremonies


Congratulations to our students (in the program) who are graduating and who made it to the OUTSTANDING STUDENT list.

Well done!

PonceOS2018Leo Joshua Ponce

Leo was in 7th grade. Today, he moves up with a well deserved promotion to the 8th grade.

Mr & Mrs Ponce proudly pinned the outstanding ribbon on Leo Joshua’s shirt, congratulating him.

They sent a very nice note to SAS Ai, expressing their gratitude for the program that helps Leo Joshua and other well deserving students attend SAS high school.

They also expressed their most sincere appreciation of being part of the SAS Ai family. Mr & Mrs Ponce assist at various SAS Ai functions held for the benefit of the kids in the program.

GarciaCarlaNicoleCarla Nicole Garcia

Carla Nicole was an 8th grade student this past school year (2017-18). She maintained good grades, good study habits and was duly rewarded with an outstanding student award in both semesters.

Next school year (2018-19)? We are sure she is poised to join the 9th grade class and to be in the list of outstanding students again. She’s that talented.

Her family, relatives, friends no doubt are so proud of her accomplishments.

Congratulations Carla Nicole on a very good year!

MusniMomCrpdMaxin Angelo Musni

Maxin Angelo is quickly becoming a household name all around the SAS campus. Maxin participates in extracurricular activities such as, drama, campus journalism, and other scientific out-of-the-classroom projects.

He attended SAS as an 8th grade student (2017-18), graduating with outstanding student honors. He is moving up, reaping his rewards, with a promotion to 9th grade come school year (2018-19).

Maxin’s Mom (see photo at left) stands so proud by her son. Congratulations to both for a job well done!

 

 

Summer Rain


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Calesa Row

It was a beautiful day – salubrious weather, a gentle breeze, quiet, empty streets – the calesas have all gone. Most of the produce merchants have sold their vegetables, fruits, and root crops. The fishermen have sold their catch.

The only folks left in the open market place were the vendors of clothing, blacksmiths from Sinait who locally made and produced machetes, and kitchen knives. In the mix were some folks from the north who handcrafted clay pots for cooking, and hardwood pieces of furniture. They were packing their wares ever so carefully and loading them into Conestoga-like wagons pulled by oxen.

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Panday Sinait

The skies remained clear. Not even an errant sliver of cloud marred the bright rays of the sun. Oppressive heat waves radiated from the simmering surface of the asphalt road.

Then, out of nowhere, droplets of water fell from the cloudless sky. At first, just a few tentative drops.

But with increasing intensity and volume, the staccato beat and sound of raindrops overwhelmed the immediate surroundings.

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Playing in the Rain

Even a tin can littering a ditch hit by dense raindrops rang out a syncopated note… a nice counterpoint to the rhythm of the falling rain.

I loved to watch the roiling muddy waters race through the network of ditches.

The fine dust that covered the hot road surface doused by the rain gave off a unique scent of cleansing.

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Monsoon

 

The memory of that smell stays with me to this day.

I’ve traveled the world. I could never find a place that emitted and gave out such aromas, smells and scents – in the rain – as those I smelled as a child growing up in my hometown of Tagudin.

 

Batch 1984 Reunion 2015


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SAS Batch 1984 Reunion 2015

Reunions overflow with joy, mirth, nostalgia, and unabashed sentimentality. It’s good to see and catch up with friends, classmates, bosom buddies, and former compatriots in crime.

 

At the class reunion old classmates go back in time to relive their high school days. Oh, there are embellished accounts of crushes and objects of affection. There are untold tales that remain unmentioned, sealed in the hearts of those who hold secrets even when their guard is pulled down by libations liberally flowing and the Karaoke machine blaring the old Elvis tunes.

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“Come Let’s Dance…”

“I’ll take it to my grave,” said one quiet and demure lady nursing her bottle of beer.

“If he doesn’t know it by now, how I suffered over the years pining and longing for him to recognize me – well, I guess he’ll never know. Damn him.”

She took a disinterested sip of her beer as she resigned herself to her gloom.

 

“Hey, come on. Let’s dance. Forget that guy. He’s probably dead by now anyway.” But the words didn’t give her any comfort.

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The guys told the same old jokes

The guys were laughing so hard, telling old jokes they have all told and laughed at before. They croaked like animated toads emerging from their mud holes in the first rains of May. Some of them glanced at the ladies.

 

“Hey Mah Jong, did you know that she had a crush on you?” remarked one, no longer sober guy as he pointed his nose at the direction of one of the ladies.

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The ladies were looking good!

“Is she still single?” asked a curios Mah Jong.

 

“Dunno. Why don’t you ask her?” The guys actually giggled and guffawed at this remark.

“What? Ay yay yay. Such small talk. But it’s a reunion, right? Don’t be such a square. Enjoy!”

The night wore on. Food was spread on the tables. Serving platters were replenished again and again. Plates were filled and refilled.

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SAS Batch 1984 Reunion 2015

Everybody had a great time, a grand old time.

Reunions are great!

Rite of Passage (ROP)


Ms Phoebe Balala

Phoebe Balala – 7th grade

Phoebe came to the SAS Ai family, from Barangay Pula, about six years ago, having just graduated from 6th grade in the elementary school system. She and her family asked for financial aid to finish her high school education at St Augustine School. SAS Ai accepted her application. That was then.

Ms Phoebe Balala, SAS Ai Class 2018

This year she graduates SAS high school with honors. We look at her today and our reaction is, “Wow! Who is this sharp-looking young lady? Why it’s Phoebe! Where has time gone?”

Phoebe truly exerted her best effort slogging through high school making it to the honor roll. She wrote and filed a couple of beautiful reports about her out-of-the-classroom-job-immersion program experiences. In those reports she spoke eloquently about how she was drawn to those whom she helped. She felt she had an obligation to help those from the community seeking help.

We can say with confidence to Phoebe, “Good luck Phoebe. We know you are very competitive and at the same time compassionate. You will go far!”

Ms Fegie Yvette Layco

Fegie Yvette Layco, 7th Grade

Fegie Yvette’s athleticism percolated to the surface gradually. She blossomed as an athlete late in her 8th grade year. By then she was playing in the school’s varsity volleyball team, spiking the ball so hard and so precisely that she instilled terror in her opponents. She also joined the dance troupe that won several regional and provincial contest awards. She’s a good dancer with excellent moves.

Ms Fegie Yvette Layco, SAS Ai Class 2018

Fegie Yvette attended St Augustine School all throughout elementary school maintaining good grades with a Grade Point Average of 89% or better.

She, her parents, and family were forthright about their request for financial assistance based on family employment setbacks and other health concerns.

Fegie Yvette is very outgoing and makes friends easily. She’s sharp and is very competitive. She’ll go far!

Ms Juzel Ann Macanas

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Juzel Ann Macanas – 7th grade

Juzel Ann joined the SAS Ai family from Libtong. She graduated valedictorian of her 6th grade class. All thru high school, she maintained her competitive edge in academics, student government involvement, and community work participation.

 

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Juzel Ann Macanas, SAS Ai Class 2018

She’s graduating high school this year with hard-earned and well deserved high honors.

 

We believe that Juzel will go places and do many good things. She will continue to be a productive member of society. She will also be an advocate for the needy, just as she is today, helping distribute food to the poor and needy in her community.

She will also participate in the arts just as she did during the Libtong fiesta where she competed in the “Libtong’s Got Talent”. But most of all, Juzel will be successful because of her strength. She has deep faith – in God and in those with whom she works.

Ms Reggie Ann Padiwan

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Reggie Ann Padiwan – 9th grade

Reggie joined our SAS Ai Family when she was in the ninth grade. She hails from Sigay, Ilocos Sur. Sigay is a municipality a few kilometers north of Tagudin, where the SAS campus is located.

 

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Reggie Ann Padiwan, SAS Ai Class 2018

Sigay is a beautiful town nestled in the mountains, complete with waterfalls and green forests that rim the rice fields and other cleared patches for cultivation. The climate is temperate and accented by the chilly mornings specially in December.

 

It appeared that Reggie’s family source of tuition assistance fell into hard times caused by deteriorating health. She and her family searched for other sources of help. When Reggie’s family approached SAS Ai, there was no question in everybody’s mind (members of the board) that she deserved the help. She has been with us ever since.

Reggie’s strength is in her consistency. You can always count on Reggie to file She regularly files updates and reports on what is going on with the scholars on campus, their activities, their trips and adventures.

Ms Jazelle Rose A Peck

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Jazelle Rose A Peck – 10th grade

Jazelle Rose joined the SAS Ai family when she was in the 10th grade. Her father, who lives and works in Singapore, suffered a heart attack and got laid off work. He could no longer send money to help with Jazelle’s tuition.

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Jazelle Rose A Peck, SAS Ai Class 2018

Jazelle and her Mom, and members of the SAS faculty sought help from SAS Ai. She had maintained good grades, was part of the campus journalists for the school paper, and also was very active in student government.

 

We believe that part of SAS Ai’s mission is to extend help to deserving students, who suddenly find themselves no longer able to pay tuition because of circumstances beyond their control. Such was the case with Jazelle Rose.

This year, she’s graduating high school with honors. What a journey it has been. We know Jazelle will do well in whatever field she chooses to enter.

We are so proud of all of our graduating students:  Phoebe, Fegie Yvette, Juzel Ann, Reggie Ann, and Jazelle Rose.

(All photos courtesy of Ms Margarita Bayan, SAS Ai Student Affairs Coordinator)