You can also watch this video in MC's YouTube Channel at: http://youtu.be/1tHYVH1Sd9s

JOSEFINA N. TAN
29 March 2014
Marian Auditorium

Good afternoon. Thank you for the invitation to address our graduates on this significant event of their commencement. This is an honor and a privilege. 
This special moment makes me fondly recall my own beginnings in this College.

That was in the early 60’s, three decades before you graduates were born!

At that time, the Beatles were crashing into the music scene, and we were crazily becoming ‘BFF’ – or Best Fans Forever -- of John, Paul, George or Ringo.  Their songs reflected our young ideals and sentiments, with titles like:  Can’t Buy Me Love.  If I Fell.  Help (I Need Somebody)! Here, There and Everywhere.  Imagine. And something that my generation and all senior citizen card-bearing people can relate to, When I’m Sixty-Four.

That was the Camelot era of American politics, when the Kennedy brothers challenged racism.  Some of their most inspiring quotes have lasted through time, and you may find them as meaningful today as we did back then.  From President John F. Kennedy:  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” And from Robert, “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why, I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Just a bit of trivia from Maryknoll history:  Do you know that Sen. Robert Kennedy was once here on our campus? He came to visit a Maryknoll Sister who had endeared herself to young Bobby when she worked in the Kennedy home in Massachusetts.  You should have seen all those Maryknollers lining both sides of Thornton Drive, excitedly waving as Bobby Kennedy’s motorcade passed by!  We were host to other noted figures since then, none more distinguished than Cory Aquino herself who addressed our assembly at the Marian Auditorium.

Maryknoll High School and College students then attended classes in the same building, which you know as Mother Mary Joseph Hall.  We college students wore green and white uniforms like yours, and high school students, green and tan.  Did you ever wonder why green was the prominent color, when our school colors are blue and gold? Maybe it was the influence of our blue-blooded neighbors across the famous creek that runs between our two campuses!

The fashion of the sixties had us trying to raise hemlines by rolling up the waistband of our skirts, only to pull them quickly down when the Dean of Students walked by. The Maryknoll Sisters were very much around then in their habits of white and black veils with the pointed hood.  We were grateful that the long rosary beads that they wore along the side of their skirts made a distinctive sound as they walked, as if to warn us to stop our mischief before they could appear and catch us!

And we always wondered what the Sisters’ hair was like underneath that hood.  Our own hairstyles then were…well, very much like what mine still looks today!

We didn’t have laptops and smart phones then.  Computers were large mainframes that spewed out data in boxes of cards.  To do research, we had to look up references in card catalogues in the library. The digital age came with your ‘dot net’ generation, and today, you only have to touch a key to access to all the info you need on the internet. You digital natives are creating the amazing apps that make life and work more productive today.  We digital migrants or Jurassics have to be coached just on how to play Candy Crush!

And yet, is it possible to make a connection across the great digital divide, across our generations?  I think it is, because we stand on common ground. That is the education we received from this school.

This event of your commencement is what unites me this afternoon with you, dear graduates

 Picture a young girl in her teens, about to graduate from Grace Christian High School, and anxious over which college she would be able to enter.  Grace Christian was a good school founded by American Protestant missionaries that offered Chinese language instruction and was thus much sought after by the Filipino-Chinese community.

On the other hand, Maryknoll College was a topnotch school, one that this girl could never aspire to, coming from a very conservative Chinese family.  Then one day, against all odds, her parents tell this girl that she may apply for college at Maryknoll.  She takes the entrance test, goes through the interview and – wonder of wonders – is accepted for admission.

That was a turning point in my life, one marked by a great sense of challenge.  Maryknoll was to open up to me an entirely different world from the one that I had known all my life.  I knew the tremendous adjustments that I would have to undergo, but I was determined to succeed.  Because I opened myself completely to this new environment, all the experiences inside and outside the classrooms during those four years helped to transform me in ways I could never have imagined.  And when I finally reached graduation day, I was filled with a tremendous sense of pride that, from that point onwards, I would carry the name of this school.

Our separate journeys have started from different points, but the paths converge here.    Many were the sacrifices and hardships that you and your parents endured to get here to receive your degree and be called a graduate of Miriam College.  But what exactly does this mean to you as you leave these halls and venture out to the world?

In seeking answers, we need to look at what is happening to the world today.

The State of the World

The state of our world and the quality of our lives are fast deteriorating.   Our planet’s health and very survival have been put at risk by careless practices and self-interest that have depleted our natural resources, diminished biodiversity, destroyed ecosystems.  All these have resulted in extreme climate change that is causing natural calamities globally.  Our own people know only too well the death and havoc that disasters have wreaked on our land. In Cateel. Cagayan de Oro. Leyte. Pampanga. NCR. And for many of us, in our very homes and surroundings.

There is untold suffering from age-old conflicts between races, between religions, and between borders. Even where war and open conflict are absent, is there real peace?  Not when women and children are being trafficked; or when overseas workers are being exploited and abused; or when the homeless are sleeping in streets or living under bridges alongside esteros.  Economists report that there has been economic growth, but have its benefits trickled down to the people at the bottom of the pyramid to free them from a lifetime of poverty and deprivation?

The progress of our nation continues to be weighed down by grave problems. Despite the brave efforts of a few honest leaders, graft and corruption continue their hold on institutions of public service.  Whistleblowers on PDAF are revealing such an unprecedented scale of graft and corruption that it is almost beyond belief!  We ask ourselves and each other, how could this have taken place before our very eyes?

We wonder what has happened to the very fabric of our lives as a people and as individuals. A century and 18 years ago, our heroes led by Rizal and Bonifacio bought freedom for us from foreign rule, and paid with their very lives.  And just 28 years ago, we took to the streets at EDSA and regained the glorious freedom that was robbed from us by a tyrant’s rule.

Are we descendants from the same race as our national heroes? Are we made of the same stuff that gave birth to people power? Where are we today in 2014?  

Beginnings

At the time I was graduating, the world seemed simpler, but there were also some serious problems.  Many of those problems still exist or have resurfaced today.
In the mid-60’s, Communism and nuclear war were threatening world peace and security. Since then, the Berlin wall has been torn down, signifying the crumbling of communism and the U.S.S.R.  But today it rears its head anew today amidst the fighting in Russia and Crimea in the Ukraine.  And the threat of nuclear war is as real and menacing today as it was then, if not more so, as more and more nations, particularly North Korea, build up their nuclear stockpiles.

War divided people in Vietnam then, as it does the people in North and South Korea today, and other places, including Mindanao.

As I was ending my college years, Marcos was just starting his first term, and nationalism, including student activism, was on the rise. Political prisoners were tortured then during the martial law years.  Today, horrible abuses of human rights continue to be committed against helpless and innocent people, especially women and children in conflict affected areas.

 Environmental and women’s issues were not yet heard of as such, but widening graft and corruption were starting to take root.  And the gap between rich and poor was already beginning to widen.  How wide is that gap today?

These examples show how the story seems to keep repeating itself, so much so that one historian, tracing war after war, observed that “the lesson we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

So has nothing changed?  Do we then concede that we have not made a difference?  I say no.

I look back and see how my years in this college were a completely liberating experience.  Not one singular person or event stands out from those days.  Rather, it was a total experience of thriving in the openness and freedom of the college’s liberal arts climate.  It broadened my horizons beyond the world of books and the confines of the classroom, as our teachers encouraged us to build new relationships and explore a full range of activities to help us appreciate who we are and strive to become all that we could be, for ourselves and for others.

A Transformative Education

I believe this is what set Maryknoll apart:  the commitment to the well-rounded development of young women as a whole person. Our minds were trained not just in the assimilation of technical subject matter, but in something more fundamental and essential—critical inquiry and analysis.  We learned how to learn, to be aware of what was happening in the world around us, to raise hard questions as well as seek for right answers.

Our hearts were trained as well, to open up to others, to be sensitive to their needs, and to care enough to take action.  The development of social concern among students received much emphasis, reflecting the mission and spirit of the Maryknoll Sisters who founded this school.

And to unify minds, hearts and actions, this school nurtured a faith life centered on Jesus Christ and enhanced by a devotion to Our Lady of Maryknoll.

This tradition of a progressive education continues to this very day, inspired by Miriam of Nazareth.  Our founders, the Maryknoll Sisters, women of vision, prepared the ground for us by turning over this school to a Filipino lay Board of Trustees. As their mission and charism took them to other paths in service of the poor, they opened the door for this institution to be owned and run, not by a religious order, but by lay professionals, many of us alumnae, to develop our own unique Filipino identity. And so it was that long before the feminist movement and long before women’s issues became a global concern, this college embarked on a mission to prepare women leaders for tomorrow by training students to become change agents in service of society.

This is the essence of transformative education, which remains at the heart of Miriam  College’s mission to train leaders in service.  Remaining rooted in our liberal arts tradition and our philosophy of whole person education, a focus on professional training in the sciences as well as the arts provides students with the knowledge, discipline and skills to succeed in their careers.  Moreover, service learning programs provide students with opportunities to address issues of peace, social justice, women and gender, and the environment through Miriam’s advocacy centers.

Indeed, one can find the graduates of this college in different vocations and professions, in various sectors of human endeavor, in places here and abroad.  They have served in the Cabinet and in world bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank.  They are in leadership positions in private and government institutions; in education, in business, banking and industry; in parishes and communities.  Just last March 10th, an article in The Daily Inquirer reported that the Philippines ranks third as employers of senior female executives.  Many of them are our graduates.

They are also active in development work, as leaders of NGOs and movements for the environment, for peace, for women, for street children.  They are in the helping, healing and caregiving professions; and they are among the country’s noted entrepreneurs, educators, writers and artists.  They are building homes and rearing families, and many are successful in combining family life and careers.

Earlier I spoke of how I was filled with a sense of pride as I graduated from this school.  That feeling of pride was not for whatever I may have achieved academically, for in truth, I was not an outstanding student.  Rather it was for the identity that I had earned and which would always be a part of me.  And what is that identity?  To me, it can be summed up in two core values:  Wholeness and Concern for Others.  It is this formation in wholeness and social concern that prepares each of us to be leaders.  It is how we will make a difference in this world.

And so this Communication Arts graduate embarked on her journey, found my niche in the world of banking, and continue my ties with the school I love by serving on the Board.  People have asked me what has helped to get me here:  With the solid foundation of my Maryknoll education, I count the following:  having a goal to focus on; passion combined with discipline; a work ethic learned from my parents, and a commitment to giving my best effort, or not at all.

From my encounters with our graduates in the professional world, and hearing accounts of their achievements through media and from people’s stories, I am convinced that our graduates are among those who are slowly bringing about changes in the world around us.  It may start in the circles in which they live and work, and may be known only to those whose paths they cross.  Perhaps, it is difficult to feel or measure the impact of their work in the magnitude of today’s problems.  At times these problems can be overwhelming and can make us feel small and powerless.  But I believe that if one individual is willing to start a small ripple of change, others will join them, and together, they can make waves!

Those who have graduated from these halls before you have begun the task. Now is your turn, now is your time.  Will you join your efforts to theirs?

The Call to Leadership

Dear graduates, allow me to offer three simple standards as you take up the call to leadership:  
First, a sense of self;
Second, a sense of school; and
Third, a sense of service.

A sense of self:  You must have a sense of who you are and what you want to make of your life, if you are to live with purpose and meaning.  Others would call this, having your personal vision and mission in life.

In the book The Road Less Travelled, Morgan Scott Peck begins by stating a basic fact of life, that is, that life is difficult.  Indeed, life holds many difficulties.  To struggle against this fact can only lead to stress, time lost in futile effort, and feelings of frustration and hopelessness.  But to accept it is to be prepared to take on life’s challenges.  A clear sense of self is what will provide you with the inner strength to persevere against the difficulties and distractions that you will meet.  Like a beacon, a clear vision will shine through the darkness of the storms that you may meet in the seas of life, and lead you safely home.

A sense of school:  We would not be who we are, and where we are, if it were not for the school that helped to shape us.  Like a mother who nurtures and cares for her child through the early years of life, this school nurtured our growth and development from adolescence to young adulthood, and prepared us well for life.  After all, that is what Alma Mater means, literally, the soul of a mother.

As you prepare to leave this school that was your home these past four years, it may be well to reflect on just what the Miriam identity means to you.  Is it only a diploma that can help you land a good job?  Or could it be the spirit that will forever be a part of you, and call you to give back to this school, or pay it forward to others?

A Sense of Service:  This is where our sense of school is tested.  It is how we live out our values. For in the Christian sense, true leadership is leadership in service.
I believe that we can find true peace and happiness to the extent that we are able to live not just for ourselves, but for others.  We don’t have to look too far or too hard to see that all around us are people who need help.  It is possible to make a difference in their lives, if we are only willing to reach out and share ourselves.
And so in closing, I invoke Miriam of Nazareth, woman of faith, strength and courage, woman of humility and grace. And I invite all of you to join me in proclaiming her prayer of praise and ours, the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

Thank you, and good afternoon.


JOSEFINA TAN
AB ‘65

A professional banker known for her work discipline and uncompromising integrity. A builder of institutions, actively steering the Maryknoll Alumnae Association towards dynamism and relevance during her leadership tenure, and contributing significantly to the evolution of Maryknoll College Foundation as a long-time member of its Board of Trustees.

Source: www.mcalumni.org


Michelle de la Cruz Jose
30 March 2014
High School Covered Court


Sometime last January, I received a text from Dr. Fermin. The message read, “Hi Michelle. We will be honored to have you as our graduation speaker on March 30. Come home.” Those last two words hit me, because like many of you, Miriam High School is like home to me. And I feel so blessed to be back home and share with you four lessons that life taught me. Let me start with the first.

Lesson #1: Find the meaning of what you are doing.

When I was a kid, my mother stayed home so that she could take care of me and my three sisters. However, when I reached pre-school, our father abandoned us. With that, my mother decided to teach in order to support us financially. Times were tough then. Despite my mother’s hard work, it seemed impossible to make ends meet. So she took on all sorts of business, including tutorials. She tutored so many students that at one point I asked her, “Ma, how come you tutor all those kids? Can’t you just teach me instead?” She replied, “My dear, if I don’t tutor, we won’t have enough money to buy what we need.” So I told her, “Okay po. I promise to study well.”

I knew that given my age, there was no way that I could raise money. So I did my best in that which I had control over, which was my studies. I studied well, hoping that this would somehow ease my mother’s burden. When I reached third grade, a kind priest learned about our family’s situation. He also saw my report cards. So he took me in as a scholar until I graduated from high school. When I entered college, Ateneo granted me full scholarship.

It was a pure intention: study hard so that I can help my mother. The positive result followed: I got scholarships, and my mother did not have to worry about paying for my tuition fee.

Finding the meaning of what you are doing is the first step. But there must be a constant follow-through. This leads us to

Lesson #2: Work hard and accept mistakes.

After graduating from high school, I took up chemistry. When I met my college classmates, I got intimidated. Most of them graduated from science high schools, and they already had a solid background in chemistry. On the other hand, I graduated from…the best high school ever!

So during our chemistry classes, my blockmates would finish my teacher’s sentence. But for me, it was foreign language. They already covered the topics in high school, while I was hearing them for the first time. So while they had the luxury of taking the course lightly, I had to work hard in order to catch up. 

This reminds me of my grandfather’s advice: pay now, play later. At first, I paid—I worked hard so that I can keep up with my classmates. In the end, I played—I graduated top of my class.

My journey with hard work continued as I pursued a master’s degree in chemistry. For my graduate thesis, my mentor and I purified water using an inexpensive and straightforward method. Well, that is what theory suggested. But making it actually work proved to be a challenge. So the experiments we carried out were one failure after another. It was like that for several years, until finally, we got it right! Our effort finally paid off.

I then presented our research in a Southeast-Asian conference. After the talk, some attendees approached me for questions. They wanted to use our method to purify the wastewater they produce in their factories. I was glad that others could benefit from our hard labor.

Lesson #3: Live your dream.

While I was taking up my master’s degree, I taught college chemistry. By the time I finished graduate school, I felt that it was time to move on. So I left teaching and joined the industry. It was a half-hearted decision, because I felt that I would not like my new job. Nonetheless, I pursued it because someone I love always dreamed that someday, I will work for a big company.

My fear came true. I was unhappy with my job. Every morning, I dragged my feet to go to work; to do something whose purpose I cannot see. I remember a time when I woke up in the middle of the night. There was no thought in my head, just a feeling of emptiness. I never felt that way before, but it was worse than sadness or pain. Then I started to cry. The tears seemed to have come from deep within me.

At that point, I realized that it is not right to live someone else’s dream. I should live my dream. But to find success in a dream, three things must be considered. Think of it as a Venn diagram (You heard it right. Venn diagram, similar to what you learned in math where there are several circles which intersect at some areas). The first circle is your passion. You must find that which excites you. If you work on something that does not mean much to you, you are not likely to give it your best. Second is your talent. It is not enough that you are interested in something. You must have enough aptitude in it. The third is financial viability. You must figure out a way to sustain your passion and talent in the face of reality. Once you discover the intersection between these three elements—passion, talent, and financial viability—then you are likely to succeed.

Lesson #4: Have faith in the Lord.

When I realized that I needed to live my own dream, I started to reflect on my life. Then I found myself passing by the Church often and praying, “Lord, may I discover the reason why you created me.” At that time, a good friend suggested that I read Laurie Beth Jones’ The Path, which could guide me through discovering my life’s meaning. So I went to get a copy of the book. Unfortunately, it was sold out in all branches of even the biggest bookstores. Then one day, I was told that there is one last copy of the book, and get this. It was on sale for the low price of 100 pesos! I bought the book, and slowly journeyed with it. Then I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

I realized that teaching is what makes me happy. Admittedly, I cannot go back to formal teaching right now, but another form of teaching was alright with me. Not long after I realized this, I got a text from a former colleague. He said that his friend is looking for a tutor. That was the beginning of it. I found a handful of students to tutor. Finally, I was doing what I love, and it felt amazing.

Another realization is that I want to interact with high school students so that I can share my experiences, hoping that they will learn from them. And I am in front of you today doing just that.

I believe in science, in things measurable and explainable. Yet the events in my life, and the sequence by which they played out, are more than mere coincidences. They are signs of God working in my life. In the words of my friend, “The Lord has a perfect plan for you, which He will reveal in His perfect time. Be patient, and know that God is good.” If you pray to God and He does not grant your request, it means that it is not yet time. Or if you get something different from what you asked for, it means that the Lord has a better plan for you.

That wraps up the four lessons:
#1: Find the meaning of what you are doing;
#2: Work hard and accept mistakes;
#3: Live your dream; and
#4: Have faith in the Lord.

Still, it is interesting how the most fundamental life lessons can come from a nursery book. Let me read to you one, which is timely now that you just finished high school.

Yay, You!
Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On
By Sandra Boynton

Yay, you!
You did it!

There are so many choices.
The world is immense.
Take a good look around
and decide what makes sense.

Some like to go fast.
Some like to go slow.
Some like to get going
however they go.

Some strive to be peaceful,
and joyful and wise.
Some choose to just ponder
the size of their thighs.

So look north!
And look south!
Look ahead!
Look behind!
Stare into the mirror…
Now, what do you find?

You already have wit.
You already have style.
You have very kind eyes
and a dazzling smile.

But now…
But now…
But now…
But now…
Hey!
What’s the hurry, anyhow?

There are places to get to!
And projects to do!
People to talk wtih,
and lunches to chew!
You’re done!
You made it!
You’re through!

Oh, what a great moment!
Now what will you do?

Should you live where it’s cold?
Should you live where it’s hot?
Do you want to be terribly busy?
Or not?

Do you need lots of friends,
or only a few?
Would you like to have friends
with a new point of view?

Is your mind moved by science?
Or does art move your soul?
Do you listen to rivers,
or to great rock-and-roll?

Do you long for adventure?
Do you love to read maps?
Would you rather stay home
with your chocolate, perhaps?

But stopping a while
is okay, too.

And whatever you do –
now or later,
big or small,
loud or quiet –
whatever you do,
don’t worry.
Just try it.

Whatever you do,
Whether near or so far,
I know you’ll be great.
You already are.


My dear graduates, how I wish I can look each one of you in the eye as I say this. You are special! There has never been, and there would never be, anyone exactly like you. So cherish your uniqueness. Be who you want to be, the best that you can be.

Life is a journey. Embrace it.


Michelle de la Cruz Jose
MCHS 2003

In school year 2013-2014, 54 outstanding women role models were chosen to facilitate the naming of our sections. Among these are 13 outstanding women models in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM, one of the new strategic thrusts of Miriam College. The class of 2014 is in fact the first to graduate with the inspiration of these women models. Through these women role models, we hope to form more learners to become empowered servant leaders in fields that are not traditionally associated to women. This afternoon, an emerging woman leader in STEM joins us to address our graduating class.

Her consciousness for scientific inquiry is deeply rooted in her basic education years at the Miriam College Grade School and High School units. In 2003, she graduated on top of her high school class as valedictorian and at the same time received the school’s highest distinction, the Maryknoll Award, now known as the Mother Mary Joseph Award.

In 2007, she finished the program Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, cum laude, from the Ateneo De Manila University and received the Program Award for Chemistry and the Science Award of the Department of Science and Technology. Having specialized in natural products and analytical chemistry, she determined the volatile components of two endemic tree species, the narra and the aroma, thereby enhancing scientific knowledge about their useful properties.

She further specialized in environmental chemistry when she completed her master’s degree in chemistry in 2012 also at the Ateneo De Manila University. The abstract of her graduate research entitled, “Electrochemical production of ferrate and treatment of water contaminated with orange II and sewage” reflects her being a real product of our value system consisting of truth, peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. I quote,: “Various oxidants such as bleach, chlorine, and ozone are used for water treatment today. However, since these common oxidants tend to generate by-products which are harmful to the environment and to human health, there is a need to look for better alternatives. Ferrate is a promising substitute, because it is a strong oxidant whose by-products are environmentally safe. In this work, ferrate was produced via a simple electrochemical process.” End of quote.

Picking up from the inspiration of her own basic and higher education teachers, including her very own mother, she became an Assistant Instructor at the Department of Chemistry of the Ateneo De Manila University before joining the Quality and Compliance Group of Johnson & Johnson International where she currently leads its computerized platform on audits, nonconformance, corrective action, preventive action, and change control. Informed by her scientific training, she inspects new or modified products prior to release in the Asia-Pacific region using international standards of quality control. While doing her academic and professional work, our speaker has continued to be actively involved in the life of her parish and in groups that promote others’ welfare.

Her journal entry on July 5, 2001 states, “A few days ago when I was browsing through an old magazine, I came across an article about a person who was looking for that something which would make humans immortal. Prior to that, in chemistry class we discussed the alchemists who were also searching for the “Elixir of Life,” a potion which would also make man immortal. I was bothered when I heard these because I never expected anyone to have that thirst for living forever. I mean, won’t you in any way or another be bored with that condition? Also, what’s the use of living forever if there is nothing for you to do? What I’m trying is that all of us are here because of a mission, a mission to somehow change the lives of people. If we are to live forever, our tendency will be to wait for tomorrow to fulfill our aspirations. If that is the case, then we will be taking time for granted and we will no longer consider time as gold or even as the greatest human equalizer.” 

She comes home today at Miriam College High School beaming with the same positive, humble, and missionary disposition that we, her teachers, have always appreciated about her. Here is a noteworthy Miriam College High School alumna whose life story is a testimony of the grace and love of Miriam of Nazareth.

COMPOSITE: INQUIRER PHOTOS

(Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from a speech delivered recently by the author before the Congregazione Educazione Cattolica in Vatican City.)

I stand before you today acutely aware of what I must represent in this ecclesial gathering: first and foremost a woman, an Asian from a developing nation and a lay leader of a Catholic school. My story reflects the new realities the Church needs to respond to.

We know what education is all about.  What is important for us to note is that education is the most effective means of helping raise others from the shackles of ignorance and poverty.

Through the ages, Catholic schools worldwide have shown their competence in educating the youth. What makes parents and students come to us? What attracts faculty to our schools, what makes them stay? We must be doing something right.

Research shows our schools are able to create a climate characterized by a strong sense of community and caring, where order and discipline exist, where duty, responsibility and commitment are taken seriously and where parents and families are partners in this enterprise.

But we need to be more than that. Our goal should be more encompassing. … We have to create vital faith communities in our schools and our universities. Religious instruction, values formation [and] faith development should be integrated into the academic development of our students. We have to take on the role of “cultural catalysts,” and look for ways of enhancing our Catholic culture and demonstrating core consistency.

We are educating the youth of the 21st century—those who will take over as leaders after us—and we are educating them for a future largely unknown and difficult to predict.

Today’s Catholic school students are much more diverse than before. This is the age of globalization and mobility after all. Still mostly Asian, our foreign students are Koreans, with an increasing number from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. We welcome the opportunity to develop future Catholic leaders who will later go back to their countries strong in faith and Christian values.

How do we connect with the youth, influence them for the better and educate them?

1. Paul Tillich said:  “The first duty of love is to listen.”  Listen so we get to know them better. … The youth are not often to be found in churches, so let’s meet them where they are. Christ himself gathered crowds everywhere he could.

2. We need to begin by gaining their trust. … We do not need to invade their space—our young people cherish their freedom—but we should look upon them as partners. We can try using their own tools and language such as social media networks. FYI: 29 million Filipinos have Facebook accounts, and each friend has, on the average, 150 other friends.

3. We have to recognize this truth: We cannot change them without changing ourselves. The need today is for a leader and a teacher of a different kind, one whom they see as truly authentic. … We are called upon, not to preach or lecture, but to create an environment so they can grow in their faith and in their personal and academic lives.

Heidi Emily Eusebio-Abad
28 March 2014
High School Covered Courts

Miriam College President, Dr. Rosario Oreta-Lapus, MC Middle School Principal, Dr. Ma. Corazon Reynoso-Reyes, members of the Miriam College President’s Council, members of the MCMS academic community, MCMS graduates, teachers, parents, guests, and friends… good morning.

Before anything else, please permit me to break away from the formalities for a few minutes to ask our audience, specially our young graduates, to stretch out your right or left arm, whichever is more dominant. Stretch out your arm diagonally in front of you, and position your hand as if you are about to take a “selfie”. If you may, I will give you 10 seconds to take a “pretend-selfie” right now. Let us create a world record of the city with the most number of “pretend-selfie” takers.… Have you taken your photo? … Ok, you may all settle down now so that I can explain what this strange request is all about.

Thirty-eight years ago, I graduated from the Maryknoll College Grade School. Yes, that sounds like ancient history, and to spare you from doing the math, yes, I am now 50 years old. I was 12 when our MCGS Batch 1976 marched down the aisles of the Miriam College Auditorium to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance, Op.39, March No.1” by Sir Edward Elgar. 

Of course, back then, I didn’t know the title of the music that was used but I remember simple, precious moments of what that day was like: the sunny but windy day, us girls taking extra care not to soil our white dress, the various smells of perfume and flowers, and my grandmother dressed in her traditional baro’t saya for the special occasion. Unfortunately, I do not remember who our commencement speaker was and what he or she had told us. Maybe this is a common occurrence in most graduation days. My guess is that quite a number of my college students from the University of the Philippines may not also recall what was said on their graduation day. So, why should today, with you, be any different?

This, therefore, is the reason why I asked you to take that “pretend-selfie”. Perhaps the conscious act of pretending to take your photo at the start of the commencement address may help you remember the message I intend to share. Never mind who the speaker is. Just remember the central message, and my message is: Now is the time for “selfies”. However, it is not the “selfie” that you think it is.


Department of Communication Chairperson Dr. Ma. Margarita A. Acosta was invited as juror in the 48th Anvil awards for PR Tools and Publications.
The Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) organized this annual event in recognition of outstanding public relations programs and tools. Over the years, the Anvil Awards has become the country’s most coveted honor bestowed in the field of public relations.

The Anvil Board of Jurors is composed of notable and esteemed leaders in the private and public sectors that include business, government service, media, and the academe. 

This year’s event was chaired by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, D.D., President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,  and co-chaired by Atty. Eugenio Villareal, Chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

For PR Tools and Publications, awarding ceremonies were held at the Solaire Resort last February 26, 2014.

Miriam College’s Business Administration students bagged Second Place at the recently-concluded Agora Youth Marketing Research Competition for its “Confidence Campaign” for Wacoal Phils held at Landbank Plaza last March 8. The judges commended the students for their cohesive research and presentation that espouses sexy and classy confidence that starts from within. The competition was sponsored by the Philippine Marketing Association.
The Agora Youth Marketing Research Competition is open to marketing students across the country.

The community proudly salutes Maryknoll/Miriam College alumna Teresita “Ging” Quintos-Deles (GS ’62,  HS ‘66,  AB ’70) for her key role in the peace process that, together with members of the peace panels, led to the historical signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014 after 17 years of peace talks between  the government and the MILF.

Deles, as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, is unrelenting in her pursuit of lasting peace in Mindanao and has consistently emphasized the role women play in it.  

Deles is a 2001 Maryknoll/Miriam College Amazing Alumni awardee. She is recognized for her contributions to the country as a community organizer, peace advocate, and women’s rights activist. She is also an acknowledged leader in the Philippine NGO community.

“We’re not a school that’s like a factory, where everybody does the same thing. Miriam is a school where we try to develop the girls into individuals. We want them to know that they can be the best that they can be.”

One of the more progressive Catholic institutions where women of all ages truly rule and make their mark is Miriam College.

It is here where students and teachers, collectively called “Katipuneras,” go out of the campus to bravely voice out their stand on national issues such as the pork barrel scam. It is here where programs to give more women a central role in the peace process as negotiators are developed through the Women and Gender Institute.

It is here where students conduct flash mobs and other activities to generate awareness on global issues such as disarmament and the manufacture of nuclear weapons in First-World countries. It is here where students counsel and comfort their peers who come from troubled or broken families, and most recently, the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda. It is here where students work with the local churches, doing clerical work, cathechesis, medical missions, and assist in worship activities.

It is here where award-winning faculty excel in various fields, the most recent of which is literary writer and Filipino Department chair, Dr. Rebecca Añonuevo, who is among the 2013 recipients of the South East Asian Writers Award. It is here where the academic community has earned an environment award for seriously implementing advocacies as a “Dark Green School,” which means green in curriculum, activities, and research.

It is here where persons with disabilities and out-of-school youth and elders are given a chance to study, finish their education, and acquire the much-needed training to help them thrive in the real world and workplace.

It is here where a college student can visibly express her individuality by going to class wearing a big ribbon on her hair and studded shoes that are not part of the school uniform and at the same time, be accepted and taken seriously by her classmates and teachers.

From the creation of a teacher-training program for women in 1926 by the Sisters of the Maryknoll Congregation in New York to the establishment of the then Malabon Normal School to its metamorphosis into Maryknoll College and finally to Miriam College, the all-girls institution has remarkably evolved into one of the leading model schools for Catholic education today.

At the helm of Miriam College is president Dr. Rosario Oreta Lapus who was recently invited to speak about the future direction of Catholic education at the Vatican’s “Congregazione Educazione Cattolica” in Rome. Dr. Lapus was recommended by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) for the forum after being handpicked along with 14 other university rectors/presidents by Msgr. Guy Thivierge, IFCU executive secretary, to participate in its new program, “Leading Catholic Universities in the 21st Century: an Action-Oriented Program for Institutional Heads.”

In her well-received speech at the forum, Dr. Lapus talked about the transformative programs of Miriam College as well as the steps that the institution has taken to make itself relevant, to effectively connect to its students, and to further contribute to the development of the country’s future leaders and Philippine society.

Because of its quality of education, service learning program, and progressive approach in teaching, the institution has continuously produced exceptional woman leaders in government, business, education, and socio-civic work. To date, 19 alumni have been cited as The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) awardees for making a difference in their communities.

In this 60 Minutes interview, Dr. Lapus tells us about the role of Catholic schools in molding woman leaders and the proper way to educate the youth of the 21st century. (Rachel C. Barawid)


Read the rest of the story here: Manila Bulletin Online www.mb.com.ph/her-education/

Anna Mae Dominique De Dios, Second Year Communication student, bagged the Bronze medal at the Bataan Death March 102 km Ultra Marathon held last March 1-2.  She was the youngest finisher and challenger of the run that started in Mariveles, Bataan and finished in San Fernando Pampanga—the same historic route the Filipino Prisoners of War took in 1942 during the Japanese occupation.

De Dios finished at 17:37:14 hours, beating the 18-hour cut-off. She dedicated her run to her PE teacher, Rizalino David, who passed away recently and who supported De Dios all the way.  “His last words to me were ‘Good Luck! May the soul of my grandfather, a soldier who was part of the Death March, guide and protect you during your run,’ “ shared De Dios.

De Dios is a running enthusiast and member of the Philippine Association of Ultra Marathoners. 

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