Gina Bautista-Navarrete





Gina Bautista- Navarrete
Ronnie Cabanes

Jun Baylon

Yna Valenzuela-Torres

Happy Esquivias-Dos Santos

Rene Molano

Deah Navarro

Fr. Lito Jopson



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My dear batchmates,


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 to do.


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,

Gina Bautista-Navarrete, very proud to be a Thomasian, but even more proud to be a member of UST High School Batch 1980.