Indeed it has been a
truly wonderful, unforgettable experience. By now, you will have read
about all the preparations, heartaches and headaches, and the giddy,
euphoric aftermath of the Grand Alumni Homecoming. It was a process
that brought us all together again -- old friends, never-been-friends,
never-met-before batchmates, best friends. Everytime a "new" person
would drop by in a meeting or a rehearsal or a videoke session, somebody
would say, "Sino na nga ba sya?" or "Kilala mo ba sya" or "Ha? Hindi mo
maalala? Di ba classmate mo sya nung second year?" and as always, our favorite
line: "Patingin nga ulit nung Veritas!".
From the bottom of
my heart, I want to thank everybody in the batch for
doing such a great
job. I don't want to mention your names again,
because I know you know who
you are. But I want to specially thank our batchmates abroad who truly,
truly cared about all of us here who worked on the reunion. They
always kept abreast about what's going on, donated what they could, agonized over
their inability to come home to join the celebration, and who always lent
us their support in the form of encouraging words and prayers. Two very
good friends of mine based in the States said they were thinking of us and
praying for us at the exact moment of the homecoming last Saturday. It's
unbelievable how one event can bind us all after 25 years, when not even
our graduation ceremonies, graduation ball and other high school events
succeeded in doing this same thing.
Thank you Jun,
Happy, Teng, Yna, Titoy and Leo for bringing the events
of the homecoming alive
with your wonderful narrations.
Now that everything
has ended, what makes me so happy is that we are
just beginning a new
phase in our friendships. I know I have made new,
lifetime friends in the last
six months, and I find that truly exciting. What do you know? My new
best friends are also from UST High School -- the same place where I met my
best friends 25 years ago: Sally, Leah, Arleen, Bubut, Alice and TJ.
If ever I have any
regret about our homecoming, it's that I was not
asked to write an article
for the supplement and the souvenir program. The boys' and girls'
valedictorians from Batch 55 had an article each, and Rene Molano also wrote
one. Sadly, I didn't have an article, and people have been asking me why I
didn't write anything. Well, I could not do something I didn't know I had
And so, I wrote one,
better late than never, and I would like to share
it with you, my dear
batchmates. Here it is:
Somebody once said
that "everything you need to know about life, you learn in kindergarten". I
disagree completely. And if you graduated from UST High School, Batch
1980, I am sure you will disagree with that statement too.
For it was in high
school where I learned so many things about life. It was there where I
learned patience -- as I waited for the right jeepney along P. Noval to
take me home to Quezon City. I learned the value of teamwork -- as we
competed in songfests, quiz contests and volleyball tournaments. I
learned about hard work and conscientiousness -- as we burned the midnight
oil studying physics and economics, algebra and chemistry,
literature and history. I learned about right manners and conduct -- as we
always tried to be in our best behavior particularly with our teachers and the
boys from the afternoon session. I learned about forgiveness -- as we
accepted apologies from classmates and batchmates who have hurt us with
their words and actions. I learned about trust -- as we allowed our teachers
to mold us into upright Thomasians. I learned about grace under pressure
-- as we crammed for our exams and valiantly finished our projects in the
nick of time. I learned about never giving up -- as we came face to face
with low grades and unmet expectations. I learned about leadership -- as we
accepted the responsibilities of heading organizations and councils. I
learned about believing in one's self -- as we pushed ourselves to the
limit with our lessons and our activities. I learned about faith, and God
and His deep love for me -- as I found myself enveloped in His
grace and mercy, through our Fr. Regent and Religion teachers.
Most of all, I
learned about loving and living -- as high school brought joy and sorrow,
laughter and tears, and sometimes all in one day.
In UST High School,
I found friendships that would never end, bonds that would never be
broken and memories that would never fade away.
I must admit that I
had not really thought much about my high school days, until about a year
ago, when our batch started getting together and preparing for our
Grand Alumni Homecoming. It was only after I rekindled old friendships and
made new ones that I realized just how much I missed my high school
batchmates. In the 25 years since high school, I secured my engineering degree
and built a loving family and a successful career, but shameful as it may
sound, I never really looked back and thanked the people who have molded me
-- all of us batchmates -- to what we are today.
Today, I proudly
declare that much of what I am today, I credit the UST High School for.
And I want to thank all our teachers and batchmates for touching my life,
and making a difference in it.
I believe that UST
High School Batch 1980 can make a difference in our alma mater. Last Monday,
February 28, we visited the hollowed halls of our beloved high
school. I know that deep in our hearts, and silently, we thanked it for
making us into who we are today. But I know that part of us also ached in
sadness, as we saw how much we can give back to our high school and our
teachers. I believe this is one cause we can rally the batch around for. I
humbly ask that we channel our resources to help our high school: time,
talent, money, consultancy. If we do this, then we will have given back
to it even a fraction of what it has given us. More importantly, we will
have made a significant difference in the thousands of young boys and girls
who enter our high school.
Let's not let this
opportunity pass, my dear batchmates. For if there's one thing I learned
in the last year or so about Batch 1980, it is that we all have the gifts
of loyalty, commitment, kindheartedness and generosity.
all the best,
Bautista-Navarrete, very proud to be a Thomasian, but even more proud to be a member of
UST High School Batch 1980.