Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Ateneo Education

This piece was inspired by Hanna's blog entry and the Loyola Schools Bulletin Special Edition.

When I was younger (about 15-20 years ago), I already admired the Ateneo. It was a reputable educational institution. It provides excellent training in one’s chosen degree and a Catholic education at the same time. I even admired the natural ‘ere’ of Ateneans who are proud of their school no matter what. I have never seen such kind of passion and loyalty in a school in all the schools that I have studied. I remember the instances when my Lolo passionately cheers for his alma mater during UAAP basketball games. I was really curious about why this institution called Ateneo is most admired by my Lolo and all its other students and alumni whom I am acquainted with. For me this was the ideal school. But like many others, I thought that Ateneo was for the elite and for the smart. And the likelihood of a person like me to be admitted in this institution was remote, even close to impossible.

When I was about to graduate from high school I took the college entrance test at the Ateneo. After the entrance test I want to forget about entering the Ateneo. That test was the most difficult that I have taken. But I passed! This is one step of making my dream to study in the Ateneo come true. But the next, and more difficult step was to find a way to fund my education there. Without a scholarship, I would have gone to the University of the Philippines. But a very kind Jesuit priest, who happens to be my mentor, helped me to get a scholarship at the Ateneo. So it became an obvious choice as to where I was going to study for college.

Entering the Ateneo was a dream, but the whole experience of my Ateneo education went far beyond what I expected. I discovered that an Atenean’s passion lies in his/her quest for “magis”, of always giving more and striving to be better than your best. The education is excellent not only because it stimulates the mind, but because it touches the heart and the soul. Who would ever forget the study of Metaphysics with Padre Roque and Theology of Liberation with Bobby Guevarra? They, and the many other teachers in the Ateneo, are not only brilliant teachers during class, but are also the best examples of teachers who “walked the talk.” Even the beautiful campus invigorates the mind and the spirit. I also liked the Ateneo’s sense of community, where students, teachers, staff and alumni are not nameless faces that you see, but are people whom you relate to in one way or another. There was always that Ateneo connection that binds each and everyone. The sense of service, of becoming a “person for others”, has been shown by the many talented men and women of the Ateneo who are giving so much of themselves not only for their school, but also for their country and fellow Filipinos. This school has also nourished my spirituality and found a way for me to be closer to the Lord.

I will always be grateful to the Ateneo for extending their generosity to me. Of helping me fulfill my dream of having not only a good education, but an excellent home and community.

first post Jan. 27, 2006

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