Charity Begins at Home


Macanas

Juzel Ann Macanas (right) with her Mom upon receiving her award certificate

“Dear Sir,” her email message to me began.

“I will not be able to attend the scheduled scholar’s meeting with Mr Bunoan because…”

I paused reading her email message. For a long moment my mind painted the word “Excusitis.” This can’t be.

“I have a scheduling conflict,” the email message continued.

And why is this young lady sending me this email message? I am chair of the scholarship committee and I work closely with Mr Albert Bunoan, VP Fld Ops, taking care of our scholars’ needs. It was a courtesy email message.

It turns out that our scholar-email-message-writer and 10th grade honor student, Ms Juzel Ann Macanas from Barangay Libtong, was scheduled to work with Libtong’s Local Community Charity organization that same day. She was slated to help distribute food to the homeless and hungry on that same day as our scheduled scholar’s meeting.

the face of poverty

Father and his child try to sleep away their hunger

My answer was simple and immediate:  “Juzel Ann – Go distribute food. Attend the next meeting. Let Mr Bunoan know.”

How impressive is that?

Juzel Ann Macanas, SAS Ai scholar actively involved in community volunteer charity work for the needy.

How many young people would bother to do such thankless volunteer work, much less surrender their precious leisure time? Not many I’d venture to speculate.

What Juzel Ann is doing with her free time, helping feed the poor, is noteworthy. It bodes well for her future. This same act of charity serves as a testament to the effectiveness of the financial aid program wherein she is a beneficiary.

Charity begins at home.

Under a Pile of LAB Requirements & Reports


A letter from one of our graduates:  Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai 2012

Sunday, February 01, 2015

To: The SAS Ai, Inc. Family

From: Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai, Inc Scholar and graduate 2012, now a Junior at the University of the Philippines (UP), Baguio Campus

Whoa... February 2015 already?
Whoa… February 2015 already?

Greetings! I just flipped the calendar to change the month and February 2015 stared me in the eye. Whoa! I realized it’s been a long time since my last update and I am deeply sorry for taking this long.

My Junior Year as a Biology Major started last August (2014). Second semester recently started and everything’s getting serious now. I can’t imagine how my Senior Year will be like. Anyways, the major subjects I am now enrolled in are:

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Limnology

BIOLOGYAlong with minor subjects, I think I’m going to lose weight again this semester due to a pile of laboratory reports and nerve-racking examinations, oral reports, etc. However, there’s a bright side to studying biology. We get to enjoy learning outside the classroom.

Actually, we’re about to do fieldwork in Sagada, Mt. Province, famous for the Hanging Coffins, to study inland water bodies there. It’s pretty exciting, right?

Oh, speaking of fieldwork, I would like to share my learning-outside-the-classroom-experiences and some studies my classmates and I worked on for the past semesters. I want to share these to give you a glimpse of what people enrolled in a Biology course actually do.

Not all stars are in the sky. This is my favorite sea star commonly known as Blue Starfish, Linckia laevigata.
Not all stars are in the sky. This is my favorite sea star commonly known as Blue Starfish, Linckia laevigata.

First, in my Invertebrate Zoology class, we did fieldwork at Bolinao, Pangasinan. We specifically studied the invertebrate species such as sea stars, sea cucumbers, corals, clams, and sea hares. I can’t describe how amazed I was when I learned all about them.

Second, we did our Plant Taxonomy class in Atok, Benguet where we collected plant species of our choice. We tried to name, classify and describe these plant specimens as an addition to the Herbarium of our teacher. (I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.)

Third, in the Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy class, we dissected a cat and a shark (the species of shark dissected is not the endangered one). And that’s when I felt like a doctor since we were dissecting actually live animals. We just felt sorry for the sacrificed cats and sharks for this kind of learning.

Misty Mountains. We were roaming around the area of study which is near the non-polluted river. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)
Misty Mountains. We were roaming around the area of study which is near the non-polluted river. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)

Fourth, we did Parasitology, which I enjoyed as we dealt with so many kinds of parasites. And that’s when I learned the founding of the Tagudin General Hospital and Capillariasis Center. An epidemic caused by Capillaria Philippinensis took over and overwhelmed the vast areas of Tagudin and nearby towns.

Fifth, we did Plant Anatomy and had to do the required Case Study entitled Comparative Xylem Analysis on Imperata cylindrica from Polluted and Non-polluted Rivers conducted at Tuba, Benguet and La Trinidad. We were deep into real research – from problem formulation to data gathering, to the analysis of the results. It was really a tough a job, honestly.

The Search. I and my friend trying to find different species of algae in the middle of the sea.
The Search.
I and my friend trying to find different species of algae in the middle of the sea.

Sixth, we did our Phycology class which made me more curious about marine life. When I took this subject course, I learned that “ar-arusip,” a seaweed edible in the Philippines, is actually an alga. I started a great interest to algae since our fieldwork in Bacnotan, La Union.

Pagudpud. These are my colleagues since first year. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)
Pagudpud. These are my colleagues since first year. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)

Lastly, our Ecology Class last semester took us to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Its beauty is jaw dropping. (I suggest you visit this place when you have time for a vacation in the Philippines. I’m sure you’ll feel happy as you set foot on its white sands.) We enjoyed a 2D/2N-stay in a hotel beach resort. I can tell that this is the most fun-filled fieldwork I ever had.

Bangui Windmills. One of the advantages of having fieldworks is the fun of exploring the place itself because of the side trips.
Bangui Windmills. One of the advantages of doing
fieldwork is the fun of exploring the place itself and the attendant side trips.

What I’m preparing for now is my Summer Practical Training Program in June-July this year as required by the Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) for all of their scholars to apply their chosen fields in a real setting. I’m considering:

  • Philippine Rice Institute in Nueva Ecija,
  • Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in La Union,
  • Institute of Biology in University of the Philippines Diliman and
  • National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology also in UP Diliman.

 

Portrait of a future Biologist.  There is only one “ME,” Arthien Lovell Pelingen at your service!
Portrait of a future Biologist. There is only one “ME,” Arthien Lovell Pelingen at your service!

 

 

I like to have as many options as possible to learn more career ideas and to stimulate  interest into possible endeavors in the future.

Thank you very much for reading this letter!  God Bless you all and the SAS Ai organization!

Farewell!

Sincerely,

Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai 2012

Big Rig Drivers


Jeepney

Jeepney

An essential part of our financial aid program (FAPHS) that helps bright kids from poor families finish their high school education is student mentoring and counseling. We motivate the kids to continually think about their plans after high school, and to preoccupy their thoughts about what they love to learn and do in terms of skills. This “thinking about the future” exercise serves to awaken and revitalize inner resolve to commit to a goal. It is part and parcel of our effort to direct, counsel and guide our young charges.

Randy, a quiet and serious kid in our program loves any kind of driving experience. On Sundays, when fares are abundant specially Church-goers and small merchants traveling from the outlying barrios or villages into town, he hangs out at the local bus stop plying the “transportation trade”. He volunteers to help load baskets of produce, merchandise, goods and then hitches a ride to town to help unload. We asked him what’s up with the gig? He smartly said that sometimes the driver would ask him to park the vehicle, or to back it out. He considers getting to drive the car his reward.

Mini van to San Fernando

Mini van to San Fernando

He loves any kind of driving, tinkering with engines, and fixing things. He has “driving” in his blood. Randy will drive for nothing – just so that he can get behind the wheel – be it a lowly tricycle for fare, or a modified World War II jeepney, or even a small mini van transporting passengers longer distances.

In our program we also invite vacationing alumni member professionals to come talk to and share with our kids what they do for a living and their careers. We had a guest from Washington state who drove semi trucks for a living. He told his story about transporting apples, peaches, pears, and other produce from Yakima to Chicago, or transporting merchandise to New York. Randy sat there listening, mesmerized. He didn’t move a muscle during the talk. He looked admiringly at the gentleman, like a starry-eyed movie fan in awe of their screen idol.

“I did some cross-border trucking usa… er…yes, picking up a load from Tacoma, driving to Canada and then on the way back I picked up another load from Vancouver and drove all the way down to San Ysidro by the Tijuana border.” He said this long sentence without taking a breath. The kids gave him blank, puzzled stares, as if to say, “What’s he talking about?”

A big 18-wheeler

A big 18-wheeler

Realizing he dumped too much unfamiliar information on them, he smiled and produced a map of the western United States, unfurled it and laid it down on a long table. The kids quickly gathered in excitement. Soon many fingers pointed at places on the map covering the entire surface. The guest speaker and Randy moved to another table.

“Sir… please tell me more about your work. Is it hard to get a driving job in America?” Randy eagerly asked.

“No. It’s not so hard. But the preparation, training, licensing, the rules and regulations, and final certification are quite demanding though,” replied the guest. “But like any other skill, the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

With palpable excitement Randy asked more questions. “What does it take to become a truck driver in America?”

“Well, I don’t think we have enough time to cover everything,” said the guest speaker. “I’ll tell you what. Come by my mother’s house this evening and we’ll talk some more about it.”

Social and Moral Development


Choices and Consequences

Choices and Consequences

Even before students contemplate applying for our financial aid program, they know about our stringent accountability expectations. Students are held accountable for their good grades, their health and safety, and their moral-social development. “Actions have consequences,” is a guideline that’s instilled, incorporated and that becomes part of their daily routine.

100% of our students graduate high school. With a zero attrition rate as the norm, we’ve never lost any of our students to truancy, bad grades, or delinquency.

Justice is blind

Justice is blind

Our indoctrination session for new students includes an extensive presentation on “The choices we make decide where we wind up in life” example scenarios. One of these short clips shows a young person who acts recklessly and conducts themselves poorly – as a matter of practice – before thinking seriously about the consequences of their actions.

The dramatization movie trailer shows what happens. A reckless act resulting in an accident. Then there is a preliminary investigation, the arrest and the trip to the police station, the phone call to the lawyer, the deposition, indictment, life in jail, the trial while represented by legal counsel, and the sentencing. These “steps or stages” are the same kind of services and processes a decent law firm would offer a client – such as, see http://mydefence.ca/  to put things in perspective and in context.

Graduation!

Graduation!

Our kids shudder as they watch the show of what can happen as a result of some innocuous, juvenile action – well, action precipitated by an attitude – “it sounded good at the time,” sort of, you know how it is. Like, taking Mom’s car without prior permission for a joyride with the gang.

Our students are also reminded that they must keep up their good grades and that they conduct themselves like the scholars that they are, on and off campus.

The end goal of every student in the program is to graduate. To be successful, they learn early on that they must make the right kinds of choices. The choice could be as simple as doing one’s homework assignment every night as opposed to doing them sporadically and sometimes not doing them at all. Or it could be as big as choosing one’s path or program after graduation.

Our actions and choices have consequences.

Student’s Meeting Report 12-2014


Meeting Dec 26 2014 004

Students electing a student Liaison officer

Last December 26th, the day after Christmas, our students in the financial aid program met, supervised by Mr Albert Bunoan, VP Field Operations. Attending, unless otherwise noted were:

  1. Kristine Joy Cardenas
  2. Maiah Genelle Dauz
  3. Everlyn Jamandra
  4. Geraldine Layco
  5. Melvie Legaspina
  6. Kim Shelly Tan
  7. Krisha Teodosio
  8. Rocel Anne Vinluan
  9. Phoebe Balala
  10. Students electing a student secretary

    Students electing a student secretary

    Fegie Yvette Layco

  11. Juzel Ann Macanas
  12. Abigail Ponce
  13. Kisses Ulpindo
  14. Kennrik Bunoan
  15. Keanna Bunoan
  16. Kyle Zyra Lazo – absent
  17. Grace Anne Laycano – absent
  18. Mariella Tacho – absent

Mr Albert Bunoan called the meeting to order at 9:30 AM with the following agenda:

  • Election of a student Liaison officer and an assistant Liaison officer from among the students.
    • The Liaison officer coördinates all student activities, issues, concerns in and out of school and reports to the VP Field Operations before every scheduled meeting. The assistant Liaison officer performs all the duties as back-up.
    • The purpose of this position is to give the students leadership experience.
  • Election of a student recording Secretary and an Assistant recording secretary from among the students.
    • Duties include taking meeting minutes, preparing the minutes for submission and reporting to VP, Field Operations after every scheduled meeting.
    • The purpose of this position is to give the students an opportunity to experience secretarial duties, emphasizing attention to detail and official reporting.
  • Mariella Tacho - Student Liaison Officer

    Mariella Tacho – Student Liaison Officer

    Kim Shelly Tan presided over the election and vote counts.

    • Nominated for Liaison officer were Mariella Tacho, Kim Shelly Tan, and Geraldine Layco.
      • Voting results:  Tacho-10, Tan-4, Layco-1
      • The students voted Mariella Tacho as Liaison officer in absentia.
      • Melvie Legaspina called Mariella and informed her of the election results. Mariella accepted the position.
      • Kim Shelly Tan, garnered the second most votes for Assistant Liaison officer. She accepted the position.
  • Nominees for Secretary were Fegie Yvette Layco, Rocel Ann Vinluan, Melvie Legaspina, Geraldine Layco, andEverlynJamandra.
    • Voting results:  Fegie YvetteLayco-6, Rocel AnneVinluan-4, MelvieLegaspina-3, GeraldineLayco-2, andEverlynJamandra-1.

      Fegie Yvette Layco - Student Secretary

      Fegie Yvette Layco – Student Secretary

    • The secretary position went to Fegie Yvette Layco, who accepted the position. She immediately assumed her duties, taking meeting minutes, notes and points during the discussion. Later, she compiled the final meeting minutes and sent her report to Mr Albert Bunoan, who ultimately sent it to the BOT.
    • As second place vote getter, Rocel Ann Vinluan took the Assistant secretary position. She accepted the job.
  • A monthly student off-campus meeting will be held, starting at 9:00 AM on the following dates:
    • January 31, 2015
    • February 28, 2015
    • March 21, 2015
      • Attendance to all scheduled meetings is mandatory.
  • All students must give their grade report cards Mr Albert Bunoan within one day upon receipt of said grade report cards. SAS Ai will withhold tuition payments for any student who do not give their grade report card within one day of receipt.
  • Announcements:
    President & CEO Melanie P Florentino, MAEd

    President & CEO Melanie P Florentino, MAEd

    • Newly elected President & CEO – Melanie P Florentino, MAEd
    • Secretary-Treasurer – Crisostomo L Buenavista, MAEd
    • Auditor – Tina Laycano, BSEd
  • Other Discussions:
    • Continue to actively pursue the shadow program and bring it to fruition.
    • Discontinue the Virtual Classroom activities but the WIKI is open for all students to BLOG and to comment and post.
    • A field trip is in the works
  • Open Forum – no one asked any questions, nor had any concerns.
  • The meeting adjourned at 11:05AM.

Fellow Augustinians Living in Canada


tagcanada00

Tagudinians Association of Canada held their annual reunion

SAS Alumni International (SAS Ai) gives a warm shout-out to our fellow Augustinians living in Canada for their support and commitment to our mission of helping bright kids from poor families finish high school. Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the New Year bring you prosperity, happiness and good health.

We have members of SAS Batches 1980 and 1981 living in Canada who have generously given to the school fund. Thank you. So too with Batches 1958, 1959 and 1966. At the last grand reunion in 2012, we heard some folks have retired and others soon to be retiring. Most of them belong to the earlier batches who have recently celebrated their silver jubilees, or golden jubilees.

Funny how jubilee celebrations always bring out into the limelight (some though reluctantly) those among us who like to lie low in the grass. Perhaps because they are finally reaching retirement age, they have more time for leisure. Whereas before they were hustling, working two or three jobs to raise their families.

Listen. There’s talk on the grapevine about some very nice retirement living facilities there in Canada. Okay. Give me a break. Canada is big country. We know but hey, such as, there are places like Wallace Living, (http://wallaceliving.ca/) that offer assisted living for seniors, apartment living for folks looking for a place to rent, etc. Have you heard about them? That’s in Nova Scotia though. But more importantly, their company website is accessible and user-friendly so you can browse it at your own leisure. As a side note, we heard members of the Manzano family from Bangar just arrived and may need housing assistance. Let us know if you need some contact information. We can put you in touch with some of our fellow Augustinians living there, near the area.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A Teacher’s Gift


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Meet Ms Paz Hadoc, teacher at St Augustine School, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She knows how important and critical her job is in shaping student behavior, not only in cognitive skills, psycho-motor skills but also and more importantly in attitudinal skills.

To the seriously motivated student, Ms Paz Hadoc exemplifies perfection. What gifts does a teacher give besides her attention and devotion to her profession and students? Plenty. Just look at the photos in the slide show. Come up with your own answers.