By Ana de Villa Singson

Early declaration… I am one of the 18 candidates who answered the questions posed to us live over Zoom by the event’s hostess with the mostest,  AAA Vice President Monette Quiogue. Arranged by the Nominations and Elections Committee (Nomelec) headed by Tina Casas Nakpil, the Meet and Greet live event with candidates is the first pre-election activity of its kind by the AAA.  With an audience of over 140 participants, each candidate was asked to say something unique about themselves.  The breadth and width of the responses gave interesting insight into the lighter side of our nominees.  Candidate A ( I won’t be naming names here! We have to make sure that the playing field is fair for all!) has a talent worthy of the Guinnesss Book of World Records; she can actually curl her tongue into 4 loops ( vs the 3 that was last on record!).  Candidate B  would sleep with  not 1 or 2 or 3 ..but with 9 cats!  Candidate C, not a doctor, dispenses medicines that her doctor relative cannot dispute! Candidate D goes to mass 2 or 3 times a day (that is not just unique…it is also deeply sublime!)

Each candidate was then asked a question randomly pre-selected and matched by the Nomelec group.  The questions on their own were true winners that had many in the chat box posting thumbs up and many of us laughing in stitches when they were asked.  When did you first realize you were an adult?  What was the song in your Assumption graduation and why was that the song?  What misconception about people did you have and what made you change your mind about that?  What were the colors of your wedding, who chose it and why? Who is your favorite saint ? What was the last book you read?  (That had private Viber chats erupting since not many could remember their last book!  Big sigh!  Netflix and K-dramas take the cake over reading in these stay at home Covid times!).  The answers ranged from serious to light-hearted, delivered in dignified tones or laughing a mile-a-minute tempo.  Regardless of the answers, I laud each and every one of the candidates.  It’s not easy putting yourself out there, thinking on the spot and saying in 4 or 5 sentences what you would normally say in 20.  It isn’t easy laying yourself bare for people to watch and applaud (or not!). One candidate in the private chat group of all nominees said her hands were shaking and clammy, she was so nervous.  That each of the 18 candidates put themselves out there, nerves and all, shows that they have mettle, commitment and courage!

In the open forum afterwards, there was a question regarding additions to the curriculum that the candidates would suggest.  Answers ranged from Voters Education, Parenting/ Mothering 101, Matrimonial Communion for Family Building and Inclusive Education for the traditionally excluded learning groups.   Each candidate  was asked what they could personally contribute to the AAA.  Sadly, we did not have time to listen to all the answers ( it was well beyond 7:30 p.m.), but it was noteworthy that the contributions ranged from IT fluency, spirituality, relationship-building.  This  very same question was 1 of 3 questions  asked by the Nomelec of each candidate and their responses can be read in full in the cover page of this website. ( I will end up campaigning after all!  Please give this website your vote of confidence!  Visit it often and always!)

The last question is one that the AAA Board of Trustees, newly minted with its new trustees in January 2022 ,can give serious thought to.   What programs  would you implement to improve engagement and involvement of alumnae?  Candidate E said that she would gather the many talented alumnae who have successful careers that span many industries and have them coach others towards success ;  a mentoring program that transforms!   Surely, we would do well to listen.   Surely , St Eugenie is smiling with that answer.  We were taught, after all, that  “To educate is to transform the world.”

When we were told that we would be “on stage” answering one question each, we were having fun in our Nominees Only Viber group saying that we would be in a beauty pageant.  We weren’t very wrong.  Because there was much beauty on display that night. I saw spirit, commitment, bravery, drive, composure and willingness to serve on stage that night.  And all of those are beautiful!

Wishing the very best for all the candidates!  The future of AAA looks …beautiful!

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