ONE CLASS 70’S ADOPT A SCHOLAR PROGRAM
San Juan Nepomuceno School
By: Leny De Borja
One Class ‘70 was busily at work, responding to the call of feeding a community experiencing hunger due to the pandemic. We were in the midst of self-imposed commitment to supply the Marie Eugenie Community Pantry with much needed basic nutrition to keep them going. As we got exposed to the simple neighborhood, we soon experienced the real Malibay community. We became aware of the numerous needs that were just waiting to be addressed and became our next opportunity to rise to the occasion.
“OUR LIFE MUST BE A CONSTANT YES TO GOD” –St. Marie Eugenie
Some of us who actually immersed ourselves in Malibay thru the community pantry realized we knew nothing about the social impact of SJNS to the wider community. The school, administered by the Religious of the Assumption, has been serving the community for the past 52 years. It became an instrument that changed the values, choices and attitudes of the families who experienced the Assumption education. Our class was completely impressed after we learned the details of the school’s contribution to the wider community and its mounting Covid-19 related problems.
“LOVE NEVER SAYS, IT IS ENOUGH” –St. Marie Eugenie
Sometime in June, during a casual conversation with Sr. Lourdes, Superior & Head of Apostolates of SJNS about the school, she mentioned that the pandemic surely affected their number of enrollees for SY 2021-2022. It was down from 700 students to only 105. This was quite an earth shaking thought that SJNS may not be able to sustain its existence. Why were enrollees down? Well, most parents in the community enrolled their children in public schools to receive a P1,000/month subsidy per child from the government, a monetary consideration important to most parents.
What can we do? How can we help? Herran Class ’70 was worried! Classes are soon to open in August. Aptly, we took to a zoom meeting with Sr. Lourdes who made time to explain the impact of a low enrollee situation to the school as well as to the Malibay community. We needed a plan and we needed to implement it soonest.
After a few days of discussion, two (2) proposed plans emerged from the zoom meeting with Sister Lourdes showing a deep commitment to the grace of generosity. The plans needed urgent implementation and commitment:
PLAN A – a 1-year monetary donation/commitment to support a student.
The one-year commitment was to garner support from other batches spearheaded by Leny De Borja: Class ‘72, in one week, surprisingly committed support for 10 students. Having reduced their single sign-up amount from Php5,000 to Php1,000, a whooping 50 classmates signed up within a day.
Then there is Class ‘65 who has been supporting SJNS for more than 20 years. In their weekly meeting with the teachers and the scholarship fund, a mother with four daughters studying in AC sponsored four students in SJNS instantly.Many other alumnae have silently supported SJNS one way or another. Siblings and cousins grouped themselves to be able to sponsor more students. Old Girls living abroad like Canada and USA responded to the call. The call was a whisper of getting together, of sharing!
PLAN B – a 5-year commitment for a deserving (named)student from Gr. 2 to 6. The 5-year commitment was mainly a Class ‘70 Program called “Adopt A Scholar” spearheaded by Pilar O. Fernandez.
It is wonderful, that one (1) section could be assured of an education until Gr. 6!
Motivated by a strong sense of social responsibility, Class ’70’s willingness coupled with an engaging ability to persuadeclassmates led to a seemingly huge task in support of children education.
We said, “We do need to get more enrollees”, so with creative minds at work, a system of bundling donors was suggested and could work. Pooling resources in smaller groups of 1or 3 or 5 yielded sponsorship for one (1) student. Then as the number of groups increased, so did the number of students sponsored…it is working!! There were sponsors for just a year as a jumpstart and another to sponsor a child for the entire 5 years until graduation. The long hard climb just began.
“EVERY ACT OF SELF-DENIAL MAKES ROOM FOR GOD”–St. Marie Eugenie
With just over 4 weeks before school opening, enrollees started to increase, from 105 to 195, to 210, to 250 and by August 2, 2021, when SJNS opened classes for SY 2021-2022, they had 300 students. Amazingly, while continuously calling on St Marie Eugenie, SJNS’ population reached 450. The goal was reached! Now, it is in our hearts and minds to wish that this effort will be sustained in the coming years.
The satisfaction of being able to make a difference in the lives of our Assumption Mission families is more than enough reward but we all know that everything has an end. As each of us grows in wisdom and eventually needs to ask a generation to take on the lead, it is our deepest hope and wish that the younger classes open their hearts and minds and hasten to respond to the call of the needs of the time and opportunities to help our neighbors in dire need.
San Juan Nepomuceno School has nurtured a priest, Fr. Casey Ureta (now based in Sydney Australia) and an Assumption Sister, Sr. Myrna Eugenia Maluyao,r.a. (Faith and Spirituality Head of Assumption College). Likewise, the schoolhas produced Engineers, Flight Attendants, Nurses, Doctors, Chefs, Architects, Business Men and Women, and almost 500 Teachers who some are now teaching in the school.
Thank you everyone who have supported this feat of love for the Assumption!
“GOD HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR ME, I WANT TO DO SOMETHING FOR HIM.”-St. Marie Eugenie