Most of us would agree that the days we spent in high school were certainly the best days of our lives. Memorable ones I suggest. It was in high school that we made our grown-up friends, competed to excel, hoped for places in the sports team, toiled to lead in the student council, and yielded to take part in the school organ. It was also in high school when we first felt and experienced to love – puppy love as people say. Thus, it is indeed in this chapter that we learnt lessons about life; that what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. And it is inevitable that we encounter obstacles along the way, from which we learn to fight and to be strong.
The class of 2008 has come along way since the freshman year at San Francisco High School, and memories come flooding back every time we reminisce each high school happening. All of which were joyous, worth remembering and unique in their own right.
I. Igniting the inner light – freshmen year
Anxiety filled the air as freshmen wandered during the opening classes in San Francisco High School. All of whom were thinking who their adviser, teachers and classmates may be. And as the school bell rang, every freshman began to walk hurriedly along the school grounds to finally reach their destination – their new home. Thus, the meandering class of 2008 came together under one roof in the white walls of Molave Building. Consequently, here is where our story began.
Everyone leapt unto their respective classrooms, and as they found themselves seats to sink in, murmurings started to conquer the place. Then a glaciating breeze seemed to stun every freshman and jerked them silent, way too different from the usual noisy chitchats, chants and laughter heard within the four corners of a classroom.
The first day of classes in high school signifies that to be a freshman is to be in possession of a wonderful thing: time. There is time to figure out what you want to do with your life, time to figure out what books you want to read. There is time to make friends.
This was the time of building friendships again, for each may have parted with old friends and that new sets of close acquaintances are to be developed. That I think is what being a freshman is all about – to begin again.
Our freshmen year may have been unique compared to the other years for it was in our time when the school decorum or dress code was changed, so that the boys could wear black pants instead of kaki pants. It was also in our time when the Department of Education first launched a project to further intensify the form of education in public high schools: the Bridge Program. Yes, we will never forget this program. Every time we remember it, a painstaking examination flows back into our minds. And as days passed, we encountered several more mind-boggling and constraining tests to cogitate on. Take the National Achievement Test that welcomed us at our first year at SFHS as an example. But through all these, we came to the extent to study more, learn more and acquire more knowledge.
Our days in San Francisco High School continued to pass by and progress started to set in to our school as it welcomed development and change. The usual flood-prone and muddy area by the entrance of the Molave Building was then transformed into something more accessible as the drainage was improved and pathways concretized. Likewise, the school cafeteria with dull, tedious and wearisome ambiance has become lively, bright and auspicious, but was unfortunately set on fire months after the renovation.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned concerns, every freshman continued to weave a strong bond of relationships with their new classmates and schoolmates, overcoming the sadness they felt as they went separate ways amongst elementary friends. And the once aloof, coy, and cold-hearted freshmen were turned steadfastly amicable. Hence, this was the time of being true and showing who you really are . . . again.
Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled and ignited this inner light.
II. Shoreline of growing up – sophomore year
Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.
This is the time of schooling where learning requires maturity; where the playful freshmen turn out to be dreamers. And that these dreamers learn to plan for their lives – on what they desire to become and what paths they ought to take. It is in our sophomore year that we began to write our own plans and arrangements for our own future.
As San Francisco High School welcomed back the class of 2008 for their sophomore year, the school then waved goodbye to Dr. Consolacion Montano, principal, as she moved to another high school. SFHS then warmly opened its gates for the arrival of their new head of authorities, for their new school principal, Dr. Milagros San Juan. This was surprisingly a news breaking event for the school at that moment.
Time flew and San Francisco High School started to embrace changes and improvements initiated by the effort of the newly appointed principal of the school, Dr. San Juan. In the first three months of her service, she revised the mission-vision of the school focusing on academic excellence and the realization of students’ and teachers’ giftedness, which dramatically changed the attitudes of both the teachers and students.
Also, Dr. San Juan organized an infrastructural set-up in the school to produce a more conducive learning environment among the students and in lieu of the pending condemnation of the old Narra Building. Indeed, through the collaborative endeavour of the school administrators, stakeholders and Quezon City Government, a four-storey 18-classroom building has started its structural foundation in San Francisco High School and has become operational in our junior year. Meanwhile, the Dao and PUP Buildings in SFHS underwent renovation for replacement of roofing and repainting.
Clearly, Dr. San Juan’s vision for SFHS in pursuit for academic excellence beyond mediocrity has slowly made possible and she cited that SFHS will regain its pride in due time.
It was also in the plight of Dr. San Juan’s arrival that SFHS first celebrated its founding anniversary after many years . . . after several decades. And from boring and tiresome schooldays, the students then enjoyed various school activities such as seminars, workshops, symposiums and trainings which honed their virtues and intellect, all necessary as they grow.
The growing students of class 2008 have come to the point of hitching their wagons to a star. Believing that dreaming is the beginning of success, these sophomores then begun to mold their future in their young minds. It is clear that the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick of succeeding is to seize the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls. Opportunity comes only once, but when it does not knock, you must learn to build a door.
Growing up is not that easy for growing requires valor and bravery as one meets challenges and hindrances along the way. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
III. Steering with countless effort – junior year
The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.
All downhill comes this year. It is circumstantial that in this chapter of high school life, a myriad of responsibilities is at par facing the junior students for here is where they are trained and honed in preparation for the duties that await them.
All new academic school year at San Francisco High School and all new happenings for the juniors to encounter and celebrate. First was the transformation of the school library into something innovative as it coped with the technological advancements of the community – the school library went online. Thanks to the Quezon City Government and Quezon City Division of City Schools. Second in line was the commemoration of the school’s 49th founding anniversary – again, a day of joy and euphoria.
Nevertheless, the feeling of excitement aroused upon each junior when the news about the Junior and Senior Promenade came about. February passed and March came. Finally the prom was held . . . after years. This most awaited moment was jam packed with programs, great music, tasty food, glamorous formal attires, and the highlight of the evening – the ball. Not to mention the turn-over ceremonies of responsibilities from seniors to juniors that indicates relief to the fourth years, but the beginning of busy schooldays for the third years. However, the night was then enjoyed with relish and zest by all, particularly the juniors, setting aside the duties that await them. The prom was over and each student went home with smiles on their faces.
Looking back weeks before the prom, the Supreme Student Government (SSG), formerly Student Council had its election of new set of officers for the next academic school year. The positions from the President down to the year level representatives were opened to those who are willing to dedicate their service, time and effort for the school. All of which were struggled by the three competing party lists namely: Uno Kabataan, YOUNG and CUP. All were devoted to serve the school, but only a few were to be chosen.
After a democratic school wide voting, the student body has elected their new leaders. The juniors turned leaders, Alexis Ailex Villamor Jr., President; Rose-lyn Ann Reyes, Vice-President; Leira Anne Nolasco, Secretary; Adelpha Gonzales, Treasurer; Armie Saces, Auditor; Judith Regine Santos, P.I.O; Mary Grace Papa, Peace Officer; and the so called “Magic Four”, Ma. Rose Solas, Ferdie Javier, Janine Joy Ilagan, and Kristine Joy Torela, fourth year representatives, then metamorphosed to responsible students for they ought to show off what they can do next year.
Continuity of vision and specified goal are necessary requirements for upcoming seniors, significant aspects in striking the aim. Obstacles come at every chance and these are those frightful things that one sees when he takes his eyes off his goal. All that one can do is spit in the eye of his fears by living each day with as much passion and commitment as possible to what truly counts, such as love and justice. To give into the fear and hopelessness would be to declare defeat; something that one is not ready to do while there is still the will to struggle.
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. Remember that we cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sail.
All our dreams for our school, family and ourselves can come true . . . if we have the chivalry to pursue it. Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.
IV. Setting adrift – senior year
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
Senior year: the final lap. New dreams are to be dreamed; new hopes are to be hoped for, and a lot new works are to be worked on. The once little youngsters have now grown and became young adults, that from playing and chatting, they will now embark and handle over great responsibilities and obligations duly bequeathed unto them by the previous senior students. In line with their duties in school, they then approached the instance of making the hardest decision. That their future counts on the manifestation of this decision. Eventually, stories of triumph, success, loss and frustration are expected from this new journey.
In preparation for the opening of classes, the Brigada Eskwela of San Francisco High School, spearheaded by the School Governing Council (SGC), went beyond the National School Maintenance Week and won 2nd place, welcoming the students with festal pleasure and felicity. This was made possible by the noble and spectacular work of the SGC.
Gradually moving forward, the seniors went to school with vigor as the school year started. The first week of school was a mere catastrophe, if I may say. For the school cafeteria alongside the Narra Building was torn down accidentally by the SM construction team, leaving the area with looms of rocks, shuttered glasses and cluttered pieces of wood. However, the company vowed of replacing those that were destroyed in due time. However, classes continued and academic club elections were held, signifying more obligations for the seniors to deal with.
Through the commitment of the Hon. Cong. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo to ensure that government resources entrusted under his discretion be utilized for the general welfare of the citizenry; he gracefully turned-over an audio-speech laboratory to the school for the productivity of the English language amongst students. The laboratory was built at the fourth floor of the SB Hall. Our profound gratitude to Congressman Crisologo! But our thoughts of gratitude have not stopped there, as part of San Francisco High School’s Anniversary Celebration, the SGC and SM Foundation jointly conducted medical-dental-optical missions last July and August, and it turned out to be a big success. Another record in school history. Thanks to the SGC’s continuing support, camaraderie and rapport!
After all the effort of the School Governing Council, its time for the Supreme Student Government to step its foot in preparation for the school’s Golden Jubilee Celebration. To prove that the officers of the SSG were indeed capable of leading the school, the organization volunteered to preside and prepare the programs for the celebration. After several discussion and meetings, the SSG decided to hold a Sports Festival, which served as a treat to the students and teachers. They also came up with the theme: S.O.S (Save Our Students) – Needing collective efforts towards academic excellence, with the help of Dr. San Juan herself and Mrs. Virginia Amin. With only one week preparation, the SSG, administrators and stakeholders furnished out the program and other necessary materials and equipments for the celebration.
The 29th of September came, and the 50th Founding Anniversary of San Francisco High School was successfully commemorated in spite of the not-so-friendly weather. Surely, happiness and enjoyment aboundingly invaded everyone’s hearts as they involve themselves in the historical event of the school. Other programs that kept students involved were: the Mr. and Ms. San Francisco ’07, the Leaders for Juan seminar and workshop, Books in Motion of the English Club, Poster, Logo and Slogan Making Competitions, Student Debate regarding Honesty, Industry and Nationalism, Tutorial Sessions, “Gulayan sa Paaralan” of the PTA and a lot more.
Year 2008 was a leap year and with the phenomenal February 29, the 2008 Junior and Senior Promenade was held. Though the seniors’ excitement was not as much as last year’s, everyone still enjoyed the evening. Thus, emotion of sadness abound the dance floor as seniors danced along with slow music, knowing that this was the last prom that they would attend. Yet, tears have no place on the center stage when loud music jammed, breaking the silence.
The celebration still continued as our days in San Francisco High School passed, for our batch has successfully brought honor and pride to the school as we reaped places in annual competitions: Secondary Schools Press Conferences: district , division and regional levels and qualified the national level, Student Technologists and Entrepreneurs of the Philippines (STEP) Skills Competitions: district and division levels, Values Education Competitions: district, division and national levels, Dance Competitions topped by the schools pride, Pamanadanse, Poster and Slogan Making Contests, Essay Writing and Oratorical Competitions outside school, Math Challenges, and in the SB Centrex, Center for Excellence – a help in regaining the school’s prowess. And we are happy that we would be leaving San Francisco High School a better place for what we have done and what we have been.
Hence, as we set adrift, as we leave our Alma Mater, and as we venture through another life, we can presume that we have left a legacy; a trail that others may follow and an inspiration to those who are next in line.
Graduation day is yet to come. Graduation day fills the heart with mixed feelings – fulfilment and sadness, anxiety and eagerness. Seniors will say goodbye to the comfortable and secure life within the high school walls. Everyone must get ready to march to the beat of college life. The uncertainty of the future looms large over new graduates as they spread out their wings. Armed with diplomas and idealistic dreams, they charge ahead with enthusiasm.
The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of the graduates is a fuse. Each one then must dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. One must not be afraid on attaining great things. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
We are children of God. Our small plays do not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Shoot for the moon, even if we miss, we’ll land among the stars; let us hit our goal so that he will hit his too.
Commencement exercises are not the end; it’s just the beginning. And as the graduating class of 2008 dresses in identical caps and gowns, each and everyone would say with pride, “The tassel’s worth the hassle!” At this moment of our lives, our families are extremely proud of us. We can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing.
This must be a sign of farewell to friends, but let us not be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends.
Well, it’s March 23, 2008, and our history doesn’t end here. As days move onward, we’ll throw off the bowlines and we’ll sail away from the safe harbor. . . Then our story will begin once more. Till we meet again. Arrivederci!
For now, five days to go and we’ll set adrift, with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars.