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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ASMS Batch 90

Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
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ASMS Batch 90

It took a text message on an invite to join
asms_90@yahoogroups, initiated by my grade school chum Cynthia Alcover-Tiu, for me to be able to trace the whereabouts of my grade school batchmates, some of whom I haven’t heard of for over 15 years already.

As of latest count, the yahoogroup has 40 members scattered all over the globe after a 12-year educational residence at the Andres Soriano Memorial School de La Salle in barangay Don Andres Soriano, Toledo City (read: 12 years! as there were Kindergarten (Level 1) and Grade 7 (Level 8) before conferred upon the certification to enroll in first year high school which is Level 9).

On December 29 and 30, the ASMS Batch 90, who each has moved on upholding the seal of green and white of the La Sallian family, will have a reunion. The gathering aims to reconnect what bonding has been cut off temporarily by distance as each tread unfamiliar waters in search for his or her place under the sun. The convergence will also encourage batchmates to reminisce that once we were brought to ASMS to experience what it’s like to be detached for eight hours from home everday, 5 days a week, in preparation for our "own battles".

We came in schoolyear '78-'79 to discover things on our own. We met new friends in school, shared things and ideas and knew that ideas differ at times and that was part of the whole excitement. We discovered that in school there were lots of things to do – various worlds to explore, horizons to surge into, and answers to be known.

For a time, we got so engrossed with the whys, the hows, the whos, the whens, and the wheres; sometimes things really got a little tricky and that’s when we weren't sure of what’s happening, but then we always had the big folks - our brilliant and dynamic teachers - to help us out and show how things should be done.

In spite of all the seeming hustle and bustle of school work, each of us always found time to be alone with ourselves – to write, to read, to ponder, or to relax.

Four of my batchmates, Jay Leanda, Mark Rembrandt Carredo, Armi Alforque and Johanna Go are fine examples of how the La Sallian graduates have moved on with the swell of tides, upholding the spirit of our scholarly anthem: "Hail, hail Alma Mater. Hail to Soriano’s school. We hold your banner high and bright the seal of green and white."

They are men and women honed by the system of Individually Guided Education. Back then, when the demand to strengthen manpower resources, the backbone of the economy, became the call of the times, all social agencies were posed with the challenge to help do their share in the development programs of the government in the New Order that eventually took a transition.

The Andres Soriano Memorial School, in its sincere attempt to answer such an urgent call, took pride in successfully producing a group of intellectuals seen to help boost the country's human resources. Graduates may have not been that mature enough to throw in their lots that time, but the academic preparations initiated by ASMS for them were modest steps towards the building of great aspirations for their brighter future. Our parents and teachers could only do that much for us. Much of where our fates have anchored now lie within the conviction and determination driven by the kind of educational training we had in our 12 years of stay at ASMS.

The torch was alighted by our burning hunger for education. The total perspective of our horizon had been blueprinted by the system of Individually Guided Education backed by excellent student support services in the form of clubs and guilds and counseling programs, aside from civic works through Scouting, Marian Movement, and the Citizens Army Training. It was the thrust to provide quality education and open doors to technology transfer so as to equip us with the needs of the highly competitive global village, considering the increasing demand for computer literate workers.

Curricula were attuned to the call of the times - personality development and enhancement of communication skills with emphasis on character building.

The next steps were ours to take. We moved on believing that our lives are the greatest miracle, that we ought to appreciate such. That we should enjoy and endure the mysteries of joy, pain, and anxieties that lead us to be truly alive, and to be aware of our truly being alive. In misery or ecstasy, at every phase, we were taught there is something real, beautiful and significant in life for the young and the old. That life is beautiful! And how life is made even more beautiful when you're a La Sallista as you are bound to succeed!

We each tread "our waters", and come December 29 and 30 will share how life, despite of the backbreaking round of drudgery, remains to be very, very beautiful indeed!

Calling on Batch 90 of the Andres Soriano Memorial School de La Salle, inquiries on the reunion and on how to join the
asms_90@yahoogroups.com, please call moderator Cynthia Alcover-Tiu @ 09173232232 or crank up this addy: pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com.

# 1. Mark Rembrandt Carredo with wife Janet Tan and daughters Liliana (Ian) and Naejana (Han-han) in Suzhou, China. Mark works for Fairchild Semiconductors.

# 2. Jay Serafica Leanda, former CAT-1 Commandant and team captain of the basketball varsity team sees opportunity at Philips in Laguna.

# 3. Armi Abella Alforque and Johanna Go are both in the United States, Armi in Las Vegas and Johanna in New Jersey.