DBS Recognition Day 2012

Last March 2012, I was invited by Don Bosco School, Sta. Mesa to be the guest speaker who will give an Inspirational Message to the undergrads. I was surprised but didn’t felt nervous at that time since I’m at home in that school. The only struggle was the composition of the talk. Even though I blog at my leisure time, I always have a hard time composing formal articles, worst Speeches. So it really took some time. My former teacher followed up 2x for the speech so I had no choice but to make time and sit on it. I had so many revisions but after some time, I finished it. I’ll share it on the later part of the story but first, I’ll recount what happened that day.

It was fortunate that my Manager that time allowed me to offset some overtime work I rendered in the last weeks. I had an early out, 2 hours before my time off. I hurriedly fixed my hair, changed my shoes and put on some light makeup for me not to look pale. Since my work place is quite near the school, I just rode a cab going there. Thus, I arrived 1 hour before the call time.

There was a long queue at the gates but I confidently go inside without hesitation. Haha! Since I can’t see familiar faces, I took the liberty to observe the crowd as well as my old school. It’s been more than a decade since I left those grounds and yet I can still remember all the fun memories I had in the school. Since I’ve got a lot of time to spare, I took some pictures and went straight to the Chapel where we usually go first thing in the morning during our school years. I practiced my speech there while waiting.

After some time, I felt I need to find my former teacher, Mrs. Peñano for briefing on what will happened. I was invited inside the Guidance Counselor Room. I was astounded by how they created this cute room very suitable for counselling. This room is already located on the ground floor right beside the Principal’s Office. It was on the second floor near the library during my days.

inside the Guidance Counselor Room

The buttonniere was given to me as well as the invitation/programme. The flower was huge, I was expecting a rose bud or something of that sort but the carnation seems grand! Hahaha! (Level up!) I was asked to join the march after the undergrads together with the Directress, Sr. Celia Tacujan, FMA.

with Sr. Tita, Principal and Sr. Celia, Directress

Now, during the walk in the aisle, that’s the time I felt butterflies in my stomach. It dawned on me that I am about to give a talk to these 400+ undergrads who don’t even know I studied in their school. Even though I felt the honor, I was a bit afraid. What if the don’t like my speech? Are they even going to listen to me? What if I fall while going up the stage? These questions linger more so when Mrs. Peñano did my introduction.

Inspirational Message

Good afternoon dear sisters, teachers, staff, parents and awardees! It is
my privilege to introduce to you a true blooded Bosconian. Ms. Kathleen
Anne Madula spent her elementary – Batch ’97 and high school
– Batch 2001, education here in Don Bosco School.

As one of the SLTC and SYM leaders, Kathleen was frequently seen on
stage and around the campus assisting her fellow Bosconians as well as
her educators. She received various awards during recognition days such
as Best in Conduct, Academic Award, Service Award, Outstanding SYM
Leader, Stage Performer of the Year for her participation in the stage play
“Love Beyond Time”, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Leadership Award and most
of all St. Mary Mazzarello Award which she received when she graduated
in elementary.

She pursued her college education in University of Sto. Tomas, graduated
with a course of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science on 2005 …….

Side by side with her busy schedule at work, this lady still carries out her
desire to help the less fortunate by extending her blessings and sharing
her apostolate with her friends through her Birthday Project. With pride, I
present to you a young lady with a passion to serve… true servant leader…

please welcome MS. KATHLEEN ANNE C. MADULA!

I just took a deep breath and seek all the saints in the school to guide me as I say my speech. Good enough, I survived. Now, here’s my speech with a little inspiration to fellow Salesian, Atty. Karen D. Quiñanola-Gonzales, MHCS Batch ’92.

Sr. Celia, Sr. Tita, FMA Sisters, teachers, guests, proud parents and above all fellow Bosconians, a pleasant afternoon to all!

Today, you are here to be recognized by the school for all the efforts you’ve done to finish the year. I congratulate each of you as well as your parents.

I am both honored and flattered to have been asked to speak for this wonderful occasion. Not only have I been given the opportunity but the weeks looking back made me see how life has been.

More than a decade ago I got up in a stage similar to this and deliver my graduation speech. I can still remember what happened that day and how I prepared for it. But I apologize; the only thing I can recall in my speech is the opening remarks. Now, I’m here again, inspired and motivated to give you something that both can help you not only in school but in real life too.

Pardon me for the lack of articulation; I am really not good in giving talks like this. I believe that I’m more effective doing one on ones though but I’ll try my very best.

To give you a little background of myself, I was in DBS since Grade 1 and continued studying here up until HS. I was part of the second batch of HS graduates of this institution. A lot has changed since I left. There were no air conditioned rooms during my time, no elevated platforms and definitely no covered court like this one. Fortunately, some things didn’t change. The school canteen looks identical but more food than before, the Hall and the Combo room is still there and most especially the Chapel looks really the same. This Chapel is where I had my first Confession, first Holy Communion, first Liturgy of the Word reader and this is where I first presented my graduation speech. It is also the same place where pupils come to visit the very first thing in the morning upon arriving school, a practice which has become a routine and which I suppose, you too have also adopted.

As much as I want to share my academic years, I’d rather share how school life has been for me in general. I was engaged in a LOT of extracurricular activities, literally. I was in the Drum & Lyre band, Combo Club, Dance Club, Marian Club, Art Club, Math Club and SLTC or the Student Leadership Training Club. My zest for adventure didn’t stop there, I also, in every possible way I can help in organizing school’s activities such as Gratitude Day, Teacher’s Day, Family Day and all the “Days” you can think of. I was also an active SYM Leader for years and surprisingly was part of the first DBS musical play that narrates the life of Mary Mazzarello, the Love Beyond Time.

I always believed that being part of these clubs has a lot of benefits. In the past, I used to answer the reply slips and check “Attending” box and just asks my dad to sign it. I am almost sure that every reply slip I handed to my teachers was all in a positive note. Mind you, I had a strict parent. My dad doesn’t allow me to go on gimmicks, night outs and the like when I was in High school. He used to fetch me every time I stay late in school because of practices or extended time needed for a project. I’m not sure if anyone can relate but he actually fetched me right on the clock on prom night! I wasn’t able to enjoy the company of my date and was really apologetic to him as well as to my batch mates that I ditched “disco” time because my father is waiting at the door! What’s my point? I hated him; I was even convinced that he was sabotaging my high school life. After some time, I felt I have no choice so I conceded. Instead of rebelling, I used it as an advantage. We had a compromise. I won’t push him to allow me going out with my friends but he should accept all the activities that I’d join to in school. True enough, he did. A win-win situation!

Long before the prom event, I was already involved in many things in school. I just became more active in my last years in High school. I remember joining the school’s activity even on summer breaks. A number of overnight stays or more and trips to Mary Help of Christians in Canlubang to prepare for an event are some of the things I enjoy the most. I believe that through the supervision of the sisters, I was taught the virtues of chastity, humility, obedience, generosity and most importantly, the true meaning of leadership by example.

As I reflect on my life, I realized that there are lessons I’ve learned and values I’ve lived by that were defined here in Don Bosco School. To better understand these, I came up with sayings/quotations that were instilled to me by this institution.

First:  A joy that’s shared is a joy made double. –American Proverb

I really thought that this saying was from the saints of our school. However, when I googled it, it says “American Proverb”. I said to myself, who is American Proverb!??!  Kidding!

Anyway, I first learned of this saying during one of our SYM activities in the school. As SYM leaders, we were in charge to handle a group of students to guide and assist them with the activity. This was the line assigned to us by the sisters. They made us reflect and give examples what we think the meaning of the saying was.

That saying was stuck in my head ever since. I even hear myself quoting this line to friends until now. I’ve realized that one reason why I am having a soft spot for outreach programs is because of this. In the past years, I see myself joining communities that offer such programs. I do my best to share the blessings I have even once a year to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Recently, I came up with an idea of a “Birthday Project”. It was debuted last year and I’m hoping to do it for the next years to come. I’ve been always blessed to have a good life, not extravagant though but just enough to live a decent life. It is better than the ones in the orphanage, shelters or worst, the homeless. I always feel a cringe in my heart whenever I hear stories of abandonment because of poverty. Hence, as an initiative I started the project. I may not be able to donate millions of pesos but in my own way, I know I’ve helped them in the best means I can.

The joy of giving always appeals to me. It may be materially or not as long as I’m sharing. Therefore, this saying had constantly been my guide.

Second: Run, Jump, Make Noise but do not Sin. – Don Bosco

This is the famous motto of being a Bosconian. As such, we are highly encouraged to live this example.

Since I spent more than half of my life here, I only know how Bosconians play. I remember me and my classmates yearn for 10:00am when the bell finally rings for recess! The 20minute break that each students die for! I can almost hear the sound of my school mates laughing shouting and screaming in the hallways, having fun!

You can almost see all the corners of the hall are occupied, students playing basketball, Chinese garter, 10-20, jack stones and other board games. I hope you still enjoy these games until now. I know most of you have your own smart phones, PSP, iPAD and all other gadgets that compromise social interactions that we didn’t have back then. We enjoy each other’s company and do not take pleasure feeding zombies with brains and killing the pigs with angry birds. My fellow Bosconians, delight yourself with natural entertainment. Be with your friends and discover each talent. Be creative!

Friends, I want to share a small discovery. A few years back, I was with a group of friends chatting and just chilling out. I’m not really sure what we’re into but we end up discussing how we were in our elementary and high school years. Since we all met in College, we didn’t know how each one was in their high school years. So we took turns and discover new things from one another. I shared how amusing our school is during break times as well as during foundation days when we are out there playing and doing whatever we want, well not all technically. We still have to take into consideration the rules and all that. Nonetheless, I told them how loud and competitive a Bosconian can be during these days. Little did I know, some of them get reprimanded when they go out in their classrooms running and laughing their hearts out. I can’t help but comment, “weeh, hindi nga? Baka pag pumunta ka sa school namin ‘non, ma-culture shock ka.” I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad but I like to believe that it’s the former.

Enjoy being a child. Be Youth forever, age is just a number! Right, parents?

Seriously, others get scolded when they literally run, jump and make noise. Here in DBS, we live by this motto, be proud of it. But… be consciously aware that our motto doesn’t stop in these 3 adjectives, we tend to forget the last one. We are not perfect, I can’t say that I don’t commit sin but we are highly persuaded not to have one. We must always remember that we are not only children of Don Bosco but of our Father, Almighty.

Finally: Let every stitch be an act of love for God. – St. Mary Mazzarello

If Don Bosco has a motto, St. Mary Mazzarello too. This I admit is hard to put into action. Unlike running and making noise, this one requires discipline and hard work. Until now, I am still striving hard to live by this.

This motto has been one of my driving forces to do daily routines as well as household chores with a smile. I admit, I slack off doing chores thinking that there will be another chance tomorrow. Saying to myself, “this is all I got for now”. Words I utter to myself just to go through the day. In the end, I’ll realize I didn’t give my best since I thought it’s just a little thing. This is when I seek the guidance of St. Mary Mazzarello… to give me the strength she posses to let each act, even in its simplest form be for God.

However, there are little things that I’m proud of doing like singing during the mass. Here in Don Bosco, we have Wednesdays allotted for song practices (I don’t know if you still do this until now). I never get to confirm this practice if this is done in other schools but during High School, I thought it was a required thing to do. I inherited this habit so until now even if I don’t have song practices anymore, I always sing even if I’m out of tune during Eucharistic celebrations.

My dear fellow Bosconians, being here is a celebration. I never thought that Salesian spirit would play an important role in my life. The values that the community taught me have greatly influenced who I am today. Habits that you developed here will be your life’s standard. I believe that it will be a way of life.

As you continue your journey, may you live by St. John Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello’s examples. May you face all the challenges you encounter with pride and ardent hearts knowing that with the roots of being a Salesian, anything is possible.

Remember: “Once a Bosconian, always a Bosconian”.

Once again, congratulations to all of you!

The sisters loved my speech, I’m not sure if they just said that for me to feel good. But it was a success when 2-3 parents congratulate me with my speech. I tried not to get teary eyed but I was really touched and fulfilled. At least I know, someone did listened and appreciated what I did.

Assisting the Principal in handing out the certificates

By the way, after the speech, I was informed that I will be assisting the Principal, Sr. Tita and the Directress, Sr. Celia to hand the awardees their certificates. It was more than 2 hours of personal congratulatory message to the students as well as their parents. (Feel na Feel ko naman! Sympre with full smile and “Congratulation” to them! Mabuti na lang at di ako na-paos.)

It was tiring but I had fun. It was my first time to do that and never in my life did I imagined doing that. It was really a great opportunity for me. After the certificate giving, a Thank You message was delivered by one of the students who got the highest awards. The Alma Mater Song was played next right after the speech. I don’t know if my batch mates still know the song but I still can sing it without a lyric guide. I still know it by heart. Naks!

with former teachers

The recognition finished almost after 3-4hours. I saw former teachers so I hurriedly went to them and took some pictures. It was also heart warming when some students asked me to take a picture with them. (Hanep! Model student! Hahaha!)

Undergrad Awardees

with Mrs. Santiago, former T.H.E. teacher. (ngayon, lahat ng anak nya awardees. galing! (0_0))

with Mrs. Peñano, SIBIKA teacher and Mrs. Pineda-Oliveros, Grade 5 Adviser

The sisters invited me for dinner in their refectory area and we had time to look back and some catching up.

It was really a one of a kind experience that I’ll treasure in my lifetime. This school has and will always be a special part of me. As I’ve mentioned in my speech, this community helped me to be who I am today. Thank you DBS Community for inviting me. It was my pleasure to be of service to you.

image from FMA Mumbai website

Once a Bosconian, always a Bosconian

Click the links to know more about St. John Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello.


Don Bosco School (Salesian Sisters), Inc.
3500 V. Mapa Extension, Sta. Mesa, Manila 1016
Telefax: +63 2 714 7791 to 92
Email: dbmanila@pldtdsl.net
Website: http://www.donboscomanila.edu.ph/