I was in the here school year of 1969 to 1970. I graduated loyalty awardee in the 80s. I graduated college 1984. I entered SBS as a teacher in 1989 and have since worked here. By the time the school year ends this 2016, I would have worked here for 27 years. Add that to the 11 years as astudent, I’ve been here for a total of 38 years.
So what made me stay, they ask me. What I would like to answer first is why I came back.
At an age when I was still young, very idealistic, it was but natural to desire to give something back to my alma mater. Gratefulness has been instrumental in my choice to come to work here. I use the word “COME” deliberately because it implies a “return”, because that’s what it felt like for me. A COMING BACK HOME. When I entered the school, everything was so familiar that it felt like hugging a comfortable pillow we don’t want to let go. Being surrounded by the familiar at that time eased my then new responsibilities as a young teacher. I found that it was easy to fit in.
But WHY did I stay on and on and on? SBS has been like my second family. And like any family, its members are very dear to my heart, from the sisters, my co-workers who were my former teachers—Mrs. Roxas, Ms. Pimpullo, Mrs. Antonio, to name a few—a batchmate, Mrs. Viray—and right now I have fellow teachers who were my former students—Mrs. Lobedecis, Ms. Mananzan, Ms. Mendoza, and Mrs. Santos.
Like any family, we have our strengths, our problems, and our faults. But upon reflecting further, it is BECAUSE I see the school as a family that I stayed on. You know that we love our family members DESPITE their faults. We support them despite disagreements.
Going back to me as a young teacher, my journey in the early years of working here has been a challenging period. Back then, my expectations were idealistic; I felt that answers should come readily and easily, or that I should always have within me the answer.
This is where the values that this school instilled in me put me to good stead and strengthened me. I became more open, I learned to persevere, and to see that there are ALWAYS different sides to everything. I learned a lot from my co-teachers—like Mrs. Barrozo’s 9 ways to kill a cat is simply a way of telling the girls that there is more than 1 solution to a problem. I learned from Mr. Yap’s comments that it is pointless to keep on hashing an issue like “witches around a cauldron” if we can’t find a collaborative solution. Looking back at my former—now co-teachers, I appreciate that picked up my love for Arts in this school from Mrs. Roxas, and my love for reading from my former English teachers. I guess what I valued when I was growing up as a student prepared me to face challenges and to sometimes defy the odds. Now I’m beginning to value being more positive and, in the words of Mrs. Remo, “chillax (chill & relax) lang”.
And of course, the greatest lessons that shaped me as a teacher and an individual in my journey from a young teacher came from my students. I can never forget how my class would always give me tips on what best sellers to currently read. I was allowed to share in their joys, in their successes, and in their sorrows. I went through the experiences of visiting homes of students who had problems, celebrating with some, and even consoling the family of a handful who joined their Maker early. I have attended and shed tears graduation after graduation, sad to let go of another batch but glad that they are moving on.
But still, why did I stay? In Science, when will a body at rest move? When it is acted upon by an external force, right? I guess I have withstood the factors that stand as external forces and I have stood firm. I still remember the vow I made with Sir Lipayon (one of my co-teachers) and a few of my colleagues back then. We promised one another, “Walang iwanan. Tatanda tayong magkasama.” Well…. we are still here.
Now, I find that I continue to stay because St. Bridget has offered me opportunities for growth. Being with the school for the past years have made me realize that it is here that I feel I am a contributor to a just, humane society by being the best educator I can be. Over and above all, it is here that I am continuing to learn more.
If we were asked at this point in our life, what things do we have to be grateful for, aside from our family and loved ones? I would have to say that St. Bridget School, and the people in this school—my school would rank among the top.
If staying here for years and years has been a choice, then I learned from the work that all of us put through in the planning and preparation of this Golden Jubilee that the value of GRATITUDE makes sense of the past and gives reason for the future. It provides peace as we face tomorrow as well as a vision to work for. As the song says, gratitude unlocks the fullness that is life.
I end this talk by saying thank you. Thank you, to the Good Shepherd sisters for sharing with us your vision; thank you to my colleagues for being there for me; thank you, my dear students—both past and present—for giving all of us here the opportunity to see life as a continuous adventure; and thank you Lord, for giving ME the opportunity to still be here and experience the wonder that is life during the school’s Golden Jubilee. Friends, mentors, and students, THIS is our best life yet.
Mrs. Jennylin Sta. Ana-Asuncion is a faculty member of St. Bridget School of Quezon City and an alumna of Batch 1980. This speech was delivered during the Golden Jubilee Mass at SBS QC Covered Court on 5 February 2016.