ACcelerate98: Our Road to Velada

We’ll be the first to say that our batch, Assumption High School 1998, has always been full of vigor and initiative. The pandemic may have thrown a curveball our way, but it became a springboard to work harder, better, and stronger together. 

After 2 years in lockdown, it was definitely time for a celebration!

Still on a high from Velada weekend, we look back on the journey and how far we’ve come.


The 10 Year Mark: A Joyful Reunion

Fifteen years ago, in 2008, our Velada journey began. We were ten years out of high school and decided to have a reunion, mainly because we missed each other. 

At a popular, cozy bar in Makati, we had a band, a raffle, and even sponsors. We definitely had a lot of fun that night, and we raised money, too! 

It gave us joy to know, that we could catch up with one another, have fun, and raise funds for the Assumption community at the same time.



20 Years: Getting the Ball Rolling

Fast forward to 2018,  we started hearing chatter of how much hosting batches were able to raise for their Veladas, and we wanted to do the same. But how? 

We invited our batch of 156 people to a planning session, and only 10 people showed up. By the grace of God, we managed a few movie premieres, a makeup workshop, and a few more fundraisers. It seemed we were building momentum



Pondering Through the Pandemic

In 2020, just as we were about to start earnestly planning, the world came to a standstill. 

As we watched other batches staging their Veladas online, a little pressure eased off. We thought, this could be fun, too! Surely we can produce one with the minimal funds we had raised. 

We puttered on with projects like selling Christmas and Halloween donuts, a daily devotional journal,  and Abaca bags lined with the school plaid. We were encouraged by how much support our batch and other AC Old Girls gave us. 



After the Standstill, Time to ACcelerate

It’s 2023, and our year as Silver Jubilarians hosting the Velada had arrived. The  pandemic was officially declared over by the World Health Organization and life as we know it had resumed.

Our batch slogan, ACccelerate98, summed up our mission to help accelerate progress and support for the Assumption Mission Schools after the slowdown caused by the pandemic. 

Jo Tripon, our batchmate, drew up our logo: An Assumption necktie, symbolizing education with a 98 floating on its string to show upliftment and hope. It was perfect!



Time for #ACelebration

The question most frequently asked of us: What is your Velada’s theme?

This came easy: After being indoors for the last few years, and the somber effects of the pandemic, it was time for ACelebration of anything in our lives that we are grateful for—the gift of friendship, life, love, health, family, dreams, children, freedom, peace and hope.

Hosting an in-person Velada was the only option not just for our batch but also for the other Gems who would be coming home to Assumption. 



It Starts with Prayer

With each one busy with their daily lives—working corporate jobs, running businesses, raising kids, dealing with health issues, and any challenge you can think of, it was hard to imagine mounting this project. But little by little, our batchmates heeded the call of being Women of Faith and Action and just started helping where they could. 

Advice from previous batches was that their own road to Velada started with a spiritual encounter. And so we followed suit with a batch recollection as the first activity on our agenda. Throughout the year, each workshop, community mass, and group rosaries via online calls renewed our faith and strengthened our friendships.

The power of prayer manifested in what was most beautiful about our Velada journey—that everyone involved was willing to help. Whether asked or voluntary, each one found a way they could participate, big or small, giving what they could based on their God-given talents, industry experience, connections, and more. 

Sharing kind words of appreciation and encouragement, became a standard in conversations. We learned to value and respect each one’s input to show that each one’s voice mattered. 



Teamwork Making the Dream Work

In our effort to keep  to our Assumption values of simplicity and fidelity to duty, we decided to take on a lot of the work ourselves. 

Within the batch, we luckily had three project managers, an architect an interior decorator, a videographer, a film director, a caterer, a professional host, a calligrapher, an educator, a fashion designer, a clothing manufacturer, CEOs, a CFO, Financiers, Silent investors, Marketing directors, PR directors, a publisher, a social media influencer, an editor in chief, among others. Together we started to work on every minute detail together. 

We grew closer as we neared the Velada, organized weekly Zoom catchup meetings, and joined 100++ group chats for all sorts of reachouts, check-ins, activities, projects, and fundraising.      In our excitement, we decided to not only to stage a show, but also to have other weekend activities that started with a Holy Mass celebrated by Father Tito Caluag, a decorated bazaar with 25 booths, including our batch shop with 16 AC-themed products, a colorfully styled brunch with a live viewing area of the show a raffle, and a livestream of the show so that batch mates and friends abroad could join in the fun.

Thirty-nine dancers devoted their weekends and evenings rehearsing the choreography. We wanted to deliver a pro performance as we grooved to a medley of our favorite songs from the ‘90s. Our batch’s dedicated members of the AC Chorale also invested hours in rehearsals for the Velada mass, in addition to their recording of the heartfelt song “Angel” for the In Memoriam segment of the show.

We bonded over learning steps, and tunes, laughing through mistakes, and cheering each other on. Even our costumes reflected both unity and honoring each others’ differences. We all had a batch jersey that  everyone styled their own way. 



So Much to Be Thankful For

A lot of appreciation goes to our core team including Elaine Yap von Grabowski, Katz Regala Odulio, Anna Mejia Beltran, Maymay Ang Tan, Kathy Polotan Lirio, Marielle Santos Po and Amelissa Espinosa Ramos. They steered the batch toward our goal. They filled the gaps, made sure all voices were heard, and provided consensus and controls for big decisions.

We were blessed to have had the guidance from the Veladas of the past. We would like to thank Carmella Gana Araullo and the Assumption Alumni Association, Dr. Ola Regala, Joy Nera and Adora Gayatgay,  Joseph Andal, our director Chito Miguel, our choreographer Jo De Peralta, Sr. Maitel, Sr. Lerma, and of course our co-celebrants, our fellow gems who were all in ACelebration mode to make the show really a spectacular event.

This Velada could not have been possible without the support of our generous donors and sponsors: Platinum sponsors Birch Tree Advance, Century Tuna, Cooks Chicken, Unionbank and ESL; Gold sponsor Proage; Silver sponsors: All Home, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Divina Law; Bronze sponsors: PLDT, Autonation, Vitarich, Livingspring Communities, Century Properties and our raffle sponsors who gave exciting prizes for the participants of the event.

We would also like to thank our media partners CNN, who made a documentary about the Velada and the Assumption community beneficiaries, and Firstlight, who created the professional and heartwarming      videos. 

No matter how busy we were preparing for the Velada, we always kept in mind the main purpose of this event, which is to raise funds for the Assumption Mission Schools, Centers for Transformative Education. This fueled our efforts, knowing that at the end of the day, our work would help accelerate  the future of young students.

From that meeting of 10 in 2018, we celebrated as a batch of over 100-strong participants. Velada 2023 was the triumph of so many Assumption High School 1998 batch mates and their supporters giving their all.  Planning for this Velada together as a batch despite so many unknowns and challenges was the full embodiment of our batch motto, Credo, Spero, Amo, I believe, I hope, I love.

In the words of Crystal Waters, a ‘90s music fave and one of our high school anthems, we gave 100% Pure Love.