At Home to Give bACk

Annalee Ventura-Carpio, AC HS Class of 1997

One day after the event ended, students of Batch 1997 relish in a post-Velada ocean of photos, videos, social media tags, and great feedback. Smiles all around as we relive yesterday and see the Assumption Tart, red plaid fan, and other loot we collected from our home away from home. But what does one consider home?


Starting Early

They say that the days are long, but the years are short. Velada preparations seemed both slow and fast. Our batch had reunions on our 10th year, as well as 15th and 20th years out of high school. Each time, the gathering was simple yet enjoyable. We made it a point to remind each other that when it’s our turn to host the Velada, we would keep the same vibe, where our batchmates could catch up with each other, reminisce with wild abandon, and not have to worry about remembering dance steps on the day itself. 


The homecoming was not a one-day event. It entailed months (in our case, years) of planning and preparation. As early as 2018, we already contacted the Assumption Alumna Association (AAA) to reserve our theme, GIVE BACK:


As Assumption students, we were educated to be women of faith and women of action. Excellence, service, and social responsibility were always at the core of our upbringing.


As individuals, we have strived to live the Assumption teachings and values. Through the years, our batchmates have contributed to the world beyond our school walls in their own unique ways.


The Velada is a chance to make a bigger difference together. It’s a venue to show gratitude to the nuns, teachers, and all members of the school system who dedicated their lives to our education. We match our faith and passion with an impactful and sustainable plan, and inject fun in everything we do.


Every step we took revolved around this theme and what it stands for.

Every idea we proposed exemplified what and how we give, which reflects our batch motto:

     “Nothing without Faith. Never without Passion.


On October 16, 2021, the day before the previous batch’s Velada and exactly one year before ours, the batch gathered online to discuss our Velada’s theme and proposed program. It was in the midst of Covid-19 vaccination rollout across the Philippines, and holding a face-to-face event by October 2022 could not yet be predicted. Hence, for the first time in Velada history and since the pandemic started, the homecoming was targeted to be hybrid — part face-to-face, for the Silvers, and part online, for the other celebrating gems. The whole program but the Holy Mass and AAA Update would be pre-recorded, and plated brunch would be served on the one-day event at Assumpta Hall.

Keeping Momentum

Aside from holding various fundraising projects, such as selling watches, jackets, plants and more,  spiritual formation activities also took part in preparing ourselves for the big day, as the monthly series kicked off with a morning session in November, led by our beloved senior year English teacher, Mrs. Eala, entitled “Coming Home: From looking bACk to giving bACk”.


Music played a big part in the preparations as well. Our lovely AC Chorale batchmates organized an online Christmas carolling special, directed by music mentor, Ms. Tina Yulo-So. In mid-August, we hosted the ReACtivate Concert, the first face-to-face fundraising activity in years, that featured local musicians from the 90s: Paolo Santos, Pido, and South Border. It was a big hit for audiences, both in person and online!


Dance rehearsals were a whole different ballgame. After the choreographer sent the dance videos, each Old Girl set out to learn and practice the steps on her own. Across the globe, some filmed individually, while others in groups. Just the same, each submitted video brought a smile to the organizing committee because each step was symbolic of our youth and shared purpose.

Coming Back

Then came Velada Day itself. Waking up to wear the high school uniform once again and being dropped off by the Main Gate, after 25 years, was surreal. Top that with finally seeing familiar faces in old-but-new spaces, like the Assumption Chapel. Though it’s been renovated since, sitting there with Sisters in purple habit and listening to AC Chorale’s heavenly sound transported us back to 1997. 


The past couple of years have not been ideal for a lot of people, including some of our batchmates. There have been instances that made it seem difficult to give back, or let alone, made us wonder if our efforts were even worth it. But since we were fortunate enough to have been gifted with an Assumption education, it is our passion to help more people experience the same — this is our why. Fr. Luis Lorenzo’s homily encouraged us to trudge on, “Nothing without faith leads to everything with It. Everything with faith.” He further reminded us that passion, coming from the Latin word “passio”, meaning “to suffer”, because it always demands some sort of sacrifice. 

Unifying Gems

In true Assumption fashion, homecoming song and dance performances are inevitable. There were, however, a few elements that set this year’s Velada apart from the others.

  • Give Theme Give Back is the Silvers’ theme, and our batch aimed to unify the program with each celebrating gem owning a “Give” theme —

     Titanium 1947 – Give All to Jesus through Mary

     Platinum Batch 1952 – Give Service

     Diamond 1962 – Give Joy

     Emerald Batch 1967 – Give Hugs 

     Gold Batch 1972 – Give Thanks

     College Gold 1972 – Give Weight, Wit and Wisdom

     Sapphire Batch 1977 – Give Strength

     Ruby Batch 1982 – Give Hope

     Jade Batch 1987 – Give Faith

     Pearl Batch 1992 – Give Kindness

     College Silver 1997 – Give Love

  • Then and Nowprofiles were peppered throughout the program, where each Batch ’97 student was introduced individually, showing her graduation photo beside a current one. It was entertaining to see how far we’ve come! 
  • A Tribute to Teachersvideo was put together, to show gratitude for the patience, service, and valuable life lessons that our educators imparted.  
  • We visited San Juan Nepomuceno School in Malibay through the video on Mission Schools, to show the “who” to our “why”. For every merchandise created, every ticket sold during a concert, every video put together, proceeds lead to the various Assumption Mission Schools around the Philippines.  As Dr. Ola Regala said in her Opening Remarks, “We want and know how to give back… The real meaning in life is not from what you get, but from what you give.”
  • The program ended with a Culmination,showing snippets of each celebrating gem’s performance. We believe, though, that could be the beginning of a new tradition — to highlight how the Assumption sisterhood remains strong across batches, each giving in different ways and means.

Moving Forward

Having experienced the Velada has confirmed that home is the feeling of being recognized as who you are, belonging to a safe space, and being able to make a difference while at it. It is somewhere you’d like to be — a place you will choose, repetitively.


Assumption is our home.

On Velada Day, we came back.

And for as long as we can, Batch ‘97 will GIVE BACK.