29 January 2023


Living loving learning

Revisting my high school after 25 years

8 min read
Hail, Stella Maris, hail to thee o, alma mater, dear.
Stella Maris College

Until the last-minute I still wasnt sure if I was attending the grand alumni homecoming of my high school, Stella Maris College.  This year is extra special because not only is my batch (1987) celebrating its silver jubilee (25 years) but it is also the centennial celebration of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).

Because of my work schedule I only made it in time for the dinner and majority of the evening program but it was time enough to say hi and hello to the ladies I spent most of my formative years with.

Our batch hosted the event this year and there was a lot of planning and coordination happening online on Facebook.

About one month before the event I received a postcard in the mail that contained the invitation to the event and this is what it said:

Sa ika-100 taon ng Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM) sa Pilipinas masayang inihahandog ng High School Batch 87, sa tulong ng SMC-QC Alumni Association ang 2012 Stella Maris College Grand Alumni Homecoming na pinamagatang, Noon at Ngayon, Saan Man Sa Mundo, Stellan Ako!

At dahil Stella ka, imbitado ka at lahat ng mga ka-batch mo sa piyestang gaganapin sa SMC Covered Court sa Sabado, October 6, 2012.

Sa araw na iyon, magkakaroon ng mga sumusund:

  • 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm   REGISTRATION
  • 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm   MASS
  • 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm   DINNER & RAFFLE
  • 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm PARADE & PRESENTATIONS

Para masaya tayong lahat, hinihikayat na makiisa sa parada ang ibat ibang batch, lalo na ang mga sumusunod na jubilarian:

  • 1987 (Silver),
  • 1982 (Pearl),
  • 1977 (Coral),
  • 1972 (Ruby),
  • 1967 (Sapphire),
  • 1962 (Gold), at
  • 1957 (Emerald).

Mag-email lang sa st********@gm***.com para makapagrehistro nang maaga.  May premyong naghihintay sa pinakamalaki at pinakamagaling na batch na sasali sa parada at makapagrerehistro sa August 31!

Kaya, tara na!  Makipyesta na!  Anumang dekada ka ipinanganak noon, saan ka man sa mundo naroon ngayon, isigaw mo, Stellan ako!

NOSEBLEED!!!  Trust me, that was as difficult for me to type as it was to read.  It took me the better part of an hour.  *hyuk! Even after all these years, my command of the Tagalog language is still not that good.  It’s better, but I still say words and phrases wrong, on occasion.  I try not to get too embarrassed about it.  I just think to myself that, at least I tried. 🙂

Going back to Stella Maris after 25 years was surreal.  Seven years of my life were spent there (from 4th grade until I graduated from high school) and many memories were made.  As I sat at the dinner table trying to think of really memorable moments in my life while I was in Stella, for quite some time I was stumped.  After all, what was memorable to me was not necessarily relevant enough to share with my former classmates.

I remember dropping by the chapel every morning as soon as I arrive in school.  I can’t recall what I was praying for but I remember how peaceful it was in the chapel and how I felt at peace there.

I remember spending every morning before flag ceremony playing agawan base with the prep kids.  Every year, a new batch of prep students. 🙂

I remember watching my sister climb the flagpole when the flag got stuck half-mast.  I didn’t even know she could do that!

I remember being a Girl Scout from as far back as the first grade (when I was still enrolled in Immaculate Concepcion Academy in Greenhills) and the way through high school.  I remember attending international jamborees, council meetings, campings, ham radio camps, jamboree on the air, national jamborees, etc.  I remember my uniform with all the badges and the belt full of belt loops.  I remember being a voice talent in the Girl Scout radio show.

I remember being in Stella’s drum, bugle, and lyre corps where, despite my small frame, I ended up with either the bass bugle or the bass drum.

I remember being in the Glee Club in my senior year.  Even though I had several years of vocal training in the church choir I was always in the chorus never good enough to be a Rachel. 🙂 My vocal range was alto 2 to soprano 1 and yet, still in the chorus.

I remember CAT (Citizens Army Training) and a bivouac we were all required to attend no matter what.  And so, despite my wisdom tooth being infected and my face was swollen to double its size I attended doped up and groggy, but still participating in all the activities, no matter how much pain I was in.

I remember our teachers:

  • Mrs. Ramos, who was my favorite teacher of all time.  I remember seeing her and thinking she looked like Lynda Carter.  She was our English teacher and she didn’t mind my obsession with English literature and history. 🙂
  • Ms. Acanto, who was our P.E. and C.A.T. teacher, as well as the club moderator for the Girl Scouts club.  I cannot forget her because she was the only teacher who brought me in front of Mrs. Borja (the principal) and reprimanding me for being the liaison for the Girl Scout Council.  Since I WAS a junior member of the QC Girl Scout Council I didn’t see that it was wrong for me to update the club members with the latest news about the council we were a part of.  I still don’t know why she was so upset unless it was because she felt I had superseded her authority.  Long story short, she cried, I didn’t, hence I never forget her.  The first adult I faced down and stood up to and defended myself against, and won. 🙂
  • Mrs. Santos, honestly, I can’t even remember what it was she taught.  Was it math?  All I remember was that she was sweet and approachable and was like a second mom to me.

I remember the friends I made while I was there Chit, May, Kate, Lala, Cindy, Maje, and Kukay and, of course, my other classmates over the years and all the classroom antics.

  • I remember Jojo walking around the classroom in her bra and shorts when we are all supposed to be getting dressed for PE.
  • I remember wearing bent colored paper clips as tie clips.
  • I remember my classmates goading me to come up with ways to prolong lectures (asking questions and starting discussions) so that we would not have enough class time left for quizzes.
  • I remember some of my classmates being gaga over basketball players such as Allan Caidic and Alvin Patrimonio.

Most of all, though, I remember being distanced from most of what was happening, almost feeling like I was in the outside looking in.  I could not really relate to most of the things my classmates were into.  And, I suppose, they couldn’t really relate to me, either.  The language barrier was one thing since I only spoke in English.  Another would be that I always had my nose buried in a book.  Third would be that I was a homebody and did not really enjoy going out to parties or to the mall or to the movies.  I always opted to just go straight home.

Even now 25 years later, I have not changed much.  After a long day at work, I went to the alumni homecoming and opted to make a French exit and go home early rather than join my classmates for the after-party.  My bad back was a big factor in my decision to go home.  I just wanted to go home, take my meds, and sleep.

As a matter of fact, going over all the pictures of the event, the only proof that I was there at all are these:

Everyone has changed yet stayed the same.  To my batchmates in Stella Maris College, congratulations on organizing a fun reunion!  A tout a lheure, mes amies!

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