August Adventure


 

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Alexis Kyla A. Costales, 9th Grade, Junior High School, SAS Ai Scholar

My August Adventure – by Alexis Kyla A. Costales

 

Monday. August 6th. It was either a highly anticipated day, or a somewhat dreaded day. It was the first day of classes for the new school year.

For me, it was fun! It was a flea market, a veritable bazaar. Orientation galore. I saw old, familiar faces – friends, classmates from last year, and a few new faces. In the crowd I recognized a familiar figure.

“Hey you… Yes, I do know you… remember me?” I tried to get my friend’s attention lightly tapping her shoulder.

“Oh… hey Kyla girl, how’s it going?” my friend reacted, twirling around to face me. “So good to see you!” We hugged and laughed, well, and giggled more or less. “Welcome to Saint Augustine’s School…” my friend tried to mimic our School Principal. It was okay.

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The Costales Family – Kyla is seated center.

It was so good to see one of my school buddies from last year. We talked about many things, catching up on current events, vacation time, and family things.

 

Of course the orientation included the announcement of the school’s expectations – the big picture, or year-end goal. We were also “refreshed,” and “reviewed,” of the School Rules and Regulations. That part wasn’t so much fun, but necessary.

The second week followed quickly. We elected our class government officers. I accepted a minor class officer position – hey, don’t knock it; I was duly elected. Okay? We were also asked to choose our Sectoral Interest Group (SIG). Since I was already in this Interest group, I chose to remain with the “Awit at Gitara,” SIG (Song & Guitar). This group allows me to showcase my musical talents and, more importantly, share my love for music.

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“Awit at Gitara”

The event of Week Three, “Araw ng Kabataan,” (Youth Day) was held with the participation of all the local schools in town. Student-officers were invited to join the event and so we did.

Regular classes followed. As the week flowed, I felt a little shaky, like when one first gets up after squatting for a while. I felt like my mental cobwebs were being cleared. Gradually my feelings of school joy and happiness returned. After all the consecutive “out-of-classroom” programs, it felt great to be back on the “Ed-Track” again, gaining more knowledge and learning something new every day.

 

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Saint Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church

Today we attended Holy Mass in celebration of the Feast of our Patron Saint, St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Doctor of the Church. We commemorated and, at the same time praised St Augustine’s great works, writings, and teachings important to Christian life. To a lesser degree in importance, today was also Intramural day. Exit polls taken revealed that everyone enjoyed the games.

With that, I will close.

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The road to the mountain top

I look forward to a great school year, relishing the thought of my upcoming educational journey.

With grateful wonderment, I eagerly anticipate the many thrills, challenges, and surprises that I will encounter – for certain – along the way.

 

 

 

 

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Washed Away


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Little boy – big umbrella – Oy!

Rainy season. Not much fun. Umbrellas are an inconvenience. I hate umbrellas. Well, I take that back. When umbrellas are tiny and they call them parasols used by pretty young ladies – then they look cute.

 

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Lady with a parasol (Monet)

I woke up this morning to the sound of falling rain. The gutter downspout was loud. The rushing water sometimes made sounds like colliding pebbles in a small echo chamber. I bent down to touch my toes and felt the effect of the stretch. The rain kept falling.

 

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Down the drain spout go our refuse and things we toss out

Water sloshed down the concrete downspout catch that stretched about five feet into the hydrangea beds. Bet the gardenia plants were happy; they are always thirsty. No doubt the other flowers were celebrating too. Inside and in the comfort of my room I felt great. Another day, a wet day – but hey, we all need the water.

 

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Lord wash away my sins

I said a quick prayer: “Thank you God for sending your word in with the rain. Thanks for not forgetting to water the grass. Thanks for the water rushing down the ditches – I know the waters will sweep clean the waste and refuse we irresponsibly tossed there – symbols of our profligate life. Lord, thanks for making me feel

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At the end of a Rainbow… lies a pot of gold

special and washing away my sin.”

 

Soon there will be a rainbow visible. It will arch over the willowy bamboo clumps and the coconut trees.

The rain will be down to a trickle – if that – with the dark clouds retreating toward the open sea.

I love rainbows, don’t you?

School’s Around the Corner – by Carla Nicole Garcia


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Carla Nicole Garcia, 9th grade Junior High School student

Monday, August 6, 2018 – First day of school at SAS for school year 2018-19.

I am so very excited to go back to school after the long summer vacation and layover.

The first thing I will do is find my best friend Lorraine. I haven’t seen nor heard from her since the last school year ended.

Lorraine is such a nice, caring, thoughtful, and great person. To say I missed her a lot during vacation is putting it lightly. She’s so much fun to be with.

In addition to meeting old classmates, teachers, and friends, I want to meet new classmates and new teachers.

I feel a bit nervous. 9th grade… junior high school – wow. I am in the big leagues now. Middle school was great but this – this will take some getting used to.

Let’s see.

I expect to see my SAS Ai batchmates:  Maxin Angelo Musni and Alexis Kyla Costales. Kyla joined the SAS Ai program this year. Maxin and I joined the program last year. We’ll all be in the 9th grade together.

My task and mission is to get to know both of them better, build friendships and establish good camaraderie with them. I will do the same with the other scholars in the SAS Ai program.

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“Please leave my paws alone… thank you.”

My summer vacation was largely spent helping my parents at home, doing daily chores and taking care of the household pets. Water has to be fetched daily from the well. The water well lies a good hundred yards one way away. I did that daily, filling huge water container reservoirs to the brim.

I fed our two dogs and three cats, groomed the dogs and gave the cats a quick manicure. The cats protested (of course). The dogs rejoiced and howled with glee upon seeing the cats suffer mis-perceived indignities and light discomfort.

 

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“Did it hurt when they cut your nails?”

But, as they say, “life goes on and must go on.” I am getting more and more focused on school. And that is where I’ll be until Monday comes along!

 

Still Excited About the Program


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President & CEO Melanie P Florentino

A note from our President & CEO, Ms Melanie P Florentino, MAEd, on our SAS AI financial aid and outreach program.

She is talking about the degree of dedication and commitment practiced and displayed by members of the board. More specifically she speaks of her own personal feelings about being a part of SAS Ai after all these years:


“The excitement and joy I now feel are actually more intense compared to how I felt when we first started the program. And these feelings are further intensified during year-end recognition and awards ceremonies. Nothing compares to seeing and hearing from our scholars and their parents, how happy and proud, and at the same time grateful for SAS Ai and all the kind and generous people behind the organization.

This is a testament that SAS Ai is true to its mission of helping, not only disadvantaged kids, but kids who are driven to excel and succeed in their high school studies. We are not asking anything in return from them, but I think they have paid off more than enough with their exemplary academic achievements, personal growth, and social development.

It’s always a humbling experience to participate in the various activities we do with our students. I am forever thankful for this honor and privilege of being part of SAS Ai.”

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With hard hat on, she is on the job and enjoying it.

Our President & CEO, Ms Melanie P Florentino, MAEd, remains one of the staunchest supporters and strongest advocates for the financial aid program. We offer this outreach to deserving students in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and neighboring townships because we believe Education is Freedom.

We believe that it would be a crime to waste a brilliant mind.

SAS Ai, Inc. is a non-profit organization recognized by the IRS under the 501(c)(3) tax code. All donations to the school fund are tax deductible to the extent afforded by law.

Incoming SAS Ai Students for School Year 2018-19 Announcement


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(L-R) Mrs Miranda (Dylan’s Mom), Mrs Costales (Kyla’s Mom), Kyla Costales (9th grade), Mr Sables (Hazeldee’s Dad), Hazeldee Sables (11th grade), Mrs Sables (Hazeldee’s Mom), Esther Anne Sarmiento (7th grade), Mrs Sarmiento (Esther Anne’s Mom), Dylan Rodge Miranda (7th grade), Ms Margarita “Garet” Bayan (SAS Ai Student Activities & Affairs Coordinator), and Mr Leonardjon L Buenavista, (Member, SAS Ai Board of Trustees) – Venue Photo taken at the Buenavista Family Inn (BFI), courtesy of Mr Leonardjon L Buenavista, President of BFI

We welcome our new students participating in the SAS Ai financial aid program, starting this school year 2018-19.

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Dylan Miranda

Mr Dylan Rodge Y Miranda – moving up to 7th grade (SAS) (far left)

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Ms Esther Anne N Sarmiento – moving up to 7th grade (Tagudin Central School) (far right)

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Ms Kyla Alexis Costales – moving up to 9th grade (SAS) (left)

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Ms Hazeldee Sables – moving up to 11th grade (SAS) (right)

 

 

Today, June 24, 2018, Ms Garet Bayan, (SAAC), met with the students and their families to discuss the particulars of the SAS Ai Financial Aid program:

  • Family financial (annual gross income) requirements.
  • Applicant’s grade point average (GPA) requirements.
  • Articles of Faith and Understanding covering the responsibilities and expectations of all parties involved:  (1) SAS Ai, (2) the student’s family, and (3) the student.
  • General Guidelines – SAS Ai expectations from its students participating in the program.
  • Academic, Social, Spiritual, Personal leadership development while in the program.
  • Q & A

Mr Leonardjon L Buenavista, a member of the SAS Ai Board of Trustees, and one of the original drivers of the program since its inception, was present at the meeting. He freely shared his knowledge and expertise about the financial aid program. He covered SAS Ai history and its program success record to date, and answered most of the questions, as he helped Ms Bayan facilitate the meeting.

Join us in welcoming all our new students to the SAS Ai program! “Education is Freedom”

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

 

11th Grade Class Topnotcher, 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)