Sister Teresita Perez with her brothers, Richard and Cesar

Hearing about someone celebrating their Golden Jubilee Anniversary in their profession seems unthinkable to a young person like me. In an age where priorities keep changing by the minute and distractions are present in every corner, staying in one job for fifty years – let alone five years! – seems like such a tremendous feat. 
But Sister Teresita Perez did just that. On September 24, 2017, Sister Teresita celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Maryknoll Sister. That means fifty years of devotion and service to her calling. For me, it means fifty years of bravery.

As Miriam College launches its campaign Girls Be Brave!, it is fitting that we learn more about the life of this strong and spirited woman. I had the privilege of exchanging numerous emails with Sister Teresita to write this article. Reading her stories was like being transported to another place and time. It was refreshing to read about her adventures as a Maryknoll Sister – what inspired her to join the order in 1967, her experiences teaching in the Philippines, and mostly doing pastoral care in Peru.

The more I read, the more I felt Sister Teresita’s courage. Her life was spent doing things I never imagined doing myself – living alone in a foreign country, immersing oneself in a completely different culture, and perhaps most difficult of all, showing compassion and kindness to strangers even when they themselves do not want to be cared for. In Sister Teresita I found a friend and an inspiration. 

As I write this article, I realized that the best way for me to tell her story is to share it in her words. I hope you “hear her voice” like I did, and may it give you a glimpse into the blessed and purpose-filled life of a Maryknoll Sister.

To kick off the year right, Miriam College invited YouTuber, fear-facer and influencer Michelle Poler to speak in front of an audience of 400 young girls composed of middle school, high school and higher education students last January 5 at the Henry Sy Sr. Innovation Center. Titled Girls, Be Brave! the talk jumpstarted the school’s campaign of the same title to engage girls in subjects or field of the future that they tend to fear the most.

Poler is most known for her project 100 Days Without Fear wherein she had to face one fear a day for 100 days. She filmed herself braving different kinds of fears from holding a tarantula and skydiving to posing nude for a drawing class and helping people in need.

"I didn’t want (my fears) to define my future," said Poler. "So, I started to challenge myself little by little doing this project. And now I can assure you that I’m not going to let my fears limit me." During the talk, the influencer told the tale of how she dealt with all the things she’d feared as a young girl.

Poler also shared everything she'd learned during the course of her journey in the form of hashtags that can help anyone not just get through 2018 but inspire you to conquer the year as well. Here are the greatest takeaways from the influencer's talk:


#DiscomfortHasItsRewards


"The enemy of success is not failure but comfort," shared Poler. "Comfort is what keeps us from raising our hands to suggest the next big idea. It convinces us to stay with partners and friends we no longer love." Comfort zones are our own personal psychological bubble where we experience very minimal anxiety and stress. Surprisingly, however, stress is not always a bad thing. There is a healthy kind of stress that allows you to grow as a person and by staying in your bubble, you are possibly denying yourself a chance to grow.

As soon as YouTuber/influencer Michelle Poler was introduced as the speaker to the students of Miriam College, the Henry Sy Innovation Center auditorium was filled with dance music, and Michelle went up to the stage and started dancing (like no one was watching). She went down the stage and asked the students to dance. She just kept dancing and dancing until she could no longer breathe. Then she went up the stage and said:

“My friend challenged me to start this conference dancing like a crazy person. Of course, I said no! But then he repeated my message back to me, and then I had no choice but to say yes,” she says. And throughout the morning, all Michelle talked about was facing her fears when she did her #100daysofFear project and what she learned from them:

Learn to let go.

I did crowd surfing! The band invited me to the stage and jump on the crowd. Then it just went so fast I didn’t want it to end. For the first time in my life, I was happy to let go and not be in complete control of the situation. This is for me to learn that sometimes we have to let go and try to enjoy the small moments of joy we can’t control.


A video produced by the MCHS Videomakers Club 2018
for the #GirlsBeBrave Michelle Poler talk

Walking down the aisle in a pretty dress with an entire congregation staring at you was not then three-year-old Michelle Poler’s idea of a good time. As a flower girl, she was terrified to walk by herself and lose sight of her mother.

She continued to be afraid to leave her parents’ side throughout her childhood in Venezuela, and was only at ease when they were near. By the time she was seven, they suspected it was more than an emotional condition. True enough, they brought her to the doctor and found out that she had a problem with her eyesight.

As she grew up, so did the list of things she was afraid of expand. She avoided big dogs – and by extension, friends who owned them. Roller coasters weren’t a thrill. Even eating oysters was a no-no.

“We all have a comfort zone,” Poler said, speaking on Friday, January 5, to teenage girls at Miriam College as part of the school’s “Girls Be Brave!” campaign, which aims to encourage female students to face subjects they fear so they can grow up to become innovators and leaders.

As a teen, she embraced her comfort zone and accepted the fact that these dictated her limits. “Every single decision I made was based on fear,” she said. Poler was afraid to feel fear, even.

As an excuse for staying away from uncomfortable situations, she thought to herself, TGIF: “Thank God I’m Female.”

“If I was a boy, I would have been bullied like crazy for being so fearful. I grew up thinking it was okay for girls to have fears and show them, while boys, boys should be strong, brave, and tough,” she said.

But boys and girls are equally scared. The difference is, society allows girls to show it, and expects boys to hide it.

Poler realized that she was being “cowardly sexist” toward her own gender just so she could shelter herself from the world.

MANILA, Philippines -  We’re already into the second week of the year, a.k.a. that weird sliver of time between having the confidence to stick to our New Year’s resolutions and ultimately deciding to abandon them when you realize that they aren’t as easy as you thought they’d be.

Usually we promise to work out more, meet new people, or try out new hobbies — all things that we (obviously) kind of dread to do. But isn’t the point of making them to prove that we can move past the fear on our way to be New™ and Improved™ citizens of the world?

Miriam College opened 2018 with a talk like no other, featuring YouTuber, Fear Facer, and influencer Michelle Poler.

Known for her project 100 Days Without Fear and for the social movement Hello Fears, Poler gave a talk before 400 girls composed of middle school, high school, and higher education students from Miriam College and other partner schools to teach and inspire them how to face their fears and realize their full potential.

“Miriam College believes that Michelle Poler has a unique and beautiful story to tell that will surely resonate with our students, especially girls.  Not only is she young, but her energy is also infectious and we know that our students will listen well to what she has to say, and hopefully in the process be inspired to face their own fears — especially those relating to their peers, studies, and the future,” said Dr. Rosario O. Lapus, Miriam College President.


#100DaysWithoutFear

Titled Girls Be Brave! Poler taps into her personal experiences as a young girl who feared so many things growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, but had to deal with it as a student starting a Master's Degree in Branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York.  She shared how she overcame her own fears to live her life to the fullest.

Poler became popular on YouTube when she began her #100DaysWithoutFear school project wherein she had to face one fear a day for 100 days. She filmed herself on each challenge and posted them daily on her YouTube channel. She braved different kinds of fears from holding a tarantula and skydiving to posing nude for a drawing class and helping people in need.

“You tube can be extremely intimidating but it can also be a very powerful tool that can help you inspire or  teach something to someone from one end of the world to the other, thanks to YouTube that my project resonated with millions. On day 40, I wake up and realize that every website I follow is sharing my story –not only website including celebrities,” she said during her talk.

Her YouTube posts caught up with celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Zooey Deschanel, Sofia Vergara and Lil Wayne who shared her story through their accounts. In a matter of days, Poler had over 4.5 million views in her YouTube channel.

Since then she has been invited to TedX, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, and to schools and universities within and outside of the US, teaching audiences how to tap into their full potential in both their personal lives and their careers.


continued..

MANILA, Philippines — Metal detectors at the airport surely rang non-stop as 16 delegates from Miriam College (MC) came home triumphant after winning a total of 90 medals and three trophies at the recent World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions held in Yale University, Connecticut from Nov. 10 to 14.

The students were from Middle School and High School. The three-member team which competed in the Senior Division ranked 9th, besting more than 300  teams in the final rounds of the tournament. They got the highest ranking and were declared top in Southeast Asia in that division.

High school students Mary Katherine DJ San Miguel, Aleeza Moira Tiongson and Alyssa Santana – referred to as Team 686 – competed in Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Bowl (group quiz bee) and Scholar’s Challenge events. They got a total of 29 gold medals, 21 silvers and three trophies.

Solid team dynamics played an important role in their success. “I think our advantage as a team is how solid we are and how supportive we are of each other. Through our journey in the WSC, from the regionals to the Tournament of Champions, we built and strengthened our team dynamics and such helped us collaborate and work better together,” said Tiongson.

Competing at the event was a total of 2,200 scholars coming from 50 countries. Nine other schools from the Philippines also competed, with Immaculate Conception Academy making it at Top 10 in the Senior Division.

“It’s important to note that WSC does not measure 100 percent academic knowledge but the attitude, dedication and independence of its scholars when given topics that are not taught in schools. These three qualities cannot be taught, but are acquired by the students – to win in WSC is to reflect how holistic the learners are,” said Team 686 coach Amity Yap.

“The Unlikely World” was this season’s theme. This guides the students on the coverage of the events’ topics, which they read and research on their own. Apart from Arts, History, Social Studies, Science, Literature and Special Subject, a new subject added this year is Modern Mythologies.

The Junior Division team, on the other hand, won a total of 22 individual gold medals, 23 individual silvers, 6 team golds and 9 team silvers in the Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Bowl (group quiz bee) and Scholar’s Challenge events.

They are Alize Madayag, Juliana Guillermo, Samantha Arcenas, Leica Cecilia, Joie Ocampo, Jiana Lim, Marina Fagela, Keithley Mirandilla, Katrina Asedillo, Angela Lim, Monnica Carbonilla, Alyssa Salazar and Maxene de Castro with Isabel Aguilar as coach for the entire division.

Among 1,200 competing scholars in the entire Junior Division, Jiana Lim won 2nd place in the Literature category of the Scholar’s Challenge while Asedillo of the Middle School placed 7th, also in the same category. Lim landed 12th overall in the individual ranking. Chosen to carry the Philippine flag during the closing ceremony’s Flag March was Asedillo.

“The idea behind the World Scholar’s Cup was to create something different from traditional academic competitions and conferences: a celebration of the joy of learning, a tournament as rewarding for the team that came in last as the for the team that came in first,” the WSC website said.


SOURCE: Philippine Star > www.philstar.com/starweek-magazine/2017/12/03/1764614/pinays-shine-world-scholars-cup

The winners of the first batch of President’s Challenge were announced last December 1 at the Henry Sy, Sr. Innovation Center (HSSIC). The winning projects are the Crowd Management System of the Grade 9 students (mixed section); DefendHer, a campaign promoting self-defense for women by students from the College of Arts and Sciences, and Palungki, a lounge design by students from the College of Education.

Personally congratulating the winners was special guest and Board of Trustees member Carmencita T. Abella.

The winning groups will be given a seed funding to implement their project. They may also use any laboratory or tools available at the HSSIC. All winning groups are required to set-up their exhibits on March 2018 at the HSSIC.

A total of 12 groups from the High School and the three colleges—College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Entrepreneurship and Accountancy, and College of  Education—made their pitches before four judges last September. The judges were composed of Dr. Lapus, Rex Bookstore Inc. Chief Operating Officer Don Buhain, Emerson Patent Manager Marlon Cabral, and MC Marketing and Communications Manager Romualdo Romualdo.

On the same day, the second batch of participants from the Child Study Center, Lower School, Middle School, MC NUVALI, MC-Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf, and Miriam Adult Education units presented their big, bold ideas before a panel of judges. Joining Dr. Lapus and Romualdo in the panel were Felta Marketing Officer Jed Abiva-Sazon, Emerson Technologies’ Jo-A Lozano, C&E Publishing CEO Emyl Eugenio.

Among the ideas pitched by the second batch were a playground design for a community using recycled materials by the CSC, a system to instill discipline among students during dismissal time from the LS, a new classroom table design to encourage learning and participation from the MS, a garbage collection mechanism to block and collect waste from waterways by SAID, and the use of Tubang Bakod plant to control water pollution from MAE.

The winners for the second batch will be announced before the Christmas break.


The 18-piece Middle School Chorus won Second Prize in Children’s Choir Category at the prestigious National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) held at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last November 24, 2017.

The group also won the Special Prize for Best Interpretation of the commissioned competition piece entitled “Pagmumuni: Zazen sa Papag” composed by UP College of Music Dean Dr. Verne dela Peña. The chair of the panel of judges was National Artist for Music (2014) Ramon Pagayon Santos, together with Jonathan Velasco (international voice clinician), Ma. Theresa Vizconde-Roldan (Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir conductor), Jude Roldan (Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir music director), and Fidel Calalang, Jr. (University of Santo Tomas Singers conductor).

The group is under the baton of Sinamar Respicio and the guidance of Jhames Labrador, MS Music Area Supervisor.

The group also performed the commissioned competition piece during the Winners Concert held at the Main Theater of the CCP last November 26, 2017.

The Children’s Choir category national finalists, comprised of seven competing groups from the different regions of the Philippines, were judiciously chosen during the semi-finals round held last October.

NAMCYA was formally organized in 1973 under Presidential Proclamation No. 1173 and amended on November 1988 as a response to “the imperative need to develop and promote Philippine music as an art and as a handmaid of cultural development”. The competition is held every three years.

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