Sapphire Class of 1978: 45 Years of Saying Yes!

The word sapphire comes from the Latin word saphirus which means blue. This gemstone has been said to bring luck, loyalty, happiness, love and other blessings. Its blue, calming color has symbolized both the skies and the sea. It is also the color of our Blessed Mother’s mantle – reminding us of her faithfulness.

For us in the Class of 1978 – the Latin words closest to our hearts are Fiat Voluntas Tua (Thy Will Be Done!). We chose it as our class motto 45 years ago when we were 16- and 17-year-olds with nary a clue to what the world awaited us. We eagerly said “Yes!” as the Virgin Mary did when she was told that she was to give birth to the Savior.

That “Yes!” has brought us again to journey together during our Sapphire Jubilee. Under the very able leadership of Class President Cynthia Gatmaitan-Menchaca and the ACHS78 Velada Committee, we had events and activities lined up for nearly two years. Because of pandemic conditions, our first Christmas Hat Party was held virtually on December 4, 2021. With much creativity and the help of technology, we kicked off our sapphire year.

By mid-2022 when restrictions had relaxed, some 25 of us banded for a trip to Pampanga on June 24. First stop was the Assumpta Technical High School, a center for transformative education (referred to as a mission school), where we were welcomed warmly by Sr. Josefina Magat with their administration and faculty members. We were impressed with how the campus continues to thrive as a top technical high school in the country.

When face-to-face gatherings were deemed safe under certain conditions, we held our Blue Christmas Party on the First of December in 2022 as the official start of our Jubilee Year. Henceforth, we would have online meetings regularly in preparation for Old Girls’ Day and our velada presentation.

But, as with every jubilee celebration, we always include a recollection before anything else. This took place on March 25 with Sr. Sheryl Reyes of the Marie Eugenie Institute facilitating a half-day session on Mother Foundress, her life and teachings. How wonderful it was that Sr. Sheryl highlighted Sr. Marie Eugenie’s often used saying “My life must be a constant YES to God” that mirrors our very own class motto.

With our spirits awakened and refreshed, we earnestly looked forward to our forthcoming jubilee.  About 30 of us flew to Bacolod City for a weekend of bonding from June 15 to 17.  We were fortunate to have as our most gracious host, Gina Bautista – Martin, who made sure that we not only enjoyed our visit but that we learned as much as we can about the Negrense culture and heritage. 

Assumption Day on August 15 is always a special occasion. This year it was made even more special with the book launch of A Missionary’s Journey: Selected Stories of Filipino Migrants in Japan by the late Sr. Remedios Carmen Locsin, who was our Principal and Mistress of Class in Grade School.

Velada practices began in September and we were sapphires on fire on that dance floor! Gaby Zamora reprised her role as our very patient choreographer; while Vicky Salvador multitasked as our music director, rehearsal scheduler and costume coordinator. We dedicated our velada presentation to Marla Teopaco who had been the creative force behind our previous jubilee performances.

A post-velada trip took place on October 17 where a dozen of us trekked to Assumption Antipolo to visit the community house of the sisters. Sr. Clare Cecilia Salvani (who was Mistress of Class to some of us in Grade 4) welcomed us warmly and showed us their beautiful home. We will officially end our Sapphire Jubilee on November 18 with our Christmas Party.

When we now look back at what has transpired in the last 22 months since we began preparing for our 45th year since our high school graduation, we can see how we had to first overcome the limitations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – lockdowns, social distancing, masks, vaccinations, and many others that changed the way we live. All of us experienced a certain degree of suffering from illness, deaths among family and friends, the lack of interaction with friends, and uncertainties about the future.

But, as always, our faith and friendship helped carry us through those moments. We were probably not even aware of it but we were, again and again, living our class motto and saying “Yes!” to all the challenges that came our way – that and with our Blessed Mother’s blue mantle protecting us.

To the next five years, we once again, we say “Yes!” as we go for gold!