GOLDEN JUBILARIANS 2021 | ACHS 1971 More Precious Than GOLD!
By Chona Urbano-Lakindanum, Laida Adduru-Bowman, Marlu Emmanuel and Malu Cumagun-Dy Buncio
It seems hard for us to believe that half a century has passed since High school Assumption Class of 1971 graduated. It was only recently, since we started collecting photographs for our Velada online presentation ,that reality set in. Flashback to 1959: 150 of us began kindergarten in two campuses, Herran and San Lorenzo, located in two cities Manila and Makati. We had the same charter and orientation, the education and activities were navigated by a “mistress of class” who orchestrated our doings and supervised the teachers who formed a well-rounded curriculum to feed our minds and build our foundation of values to prepare us for the life ahead.
The San Lorenzo branch was composed of a small class, just one single section. This created intimate relationships from the start and close solidarity. We all knew each other well. We were known as the “singing class”. We loved to sing, perform and compete, coached by our music teacher, Miss Rose Hugo. One song in particular, made us sing from the heart , “Fill the World with Love”. Even today, this song touches our souls. Unfailingly, when this song is played and while we are together, one of us will say “That’s our song!”. And it is our song because the lyrics are in tune with our values as Assumption women, and as graduates of High School Class of 1971.
“In the morning of my life I shall look to the sunrise,
At the moment in my life when the world is new
And the blessing I shall ask is that God will grant me
To be brave, and strong and true
And to fill the world with love my whole life through”
This is the character of our class when we graduated. . . brave, strong, true and full of love! This,together with our class motto “Stabat” meaning: I stand. I stay. I remain.”
Steadfast we have remained.
The Herran contingent was much larger, 110 plus strong. From the onset, we had three (3) sections divided only by folding partitions which formed one huge classroom when opened. Unintentionally, the yearly shift of each section’s composition brought us to eventually get to know all our year mates. We had common activities, we played together, exchanged opinions and shared dreams. Our daily benedictions and weekly masses engaged us into a constant spiritual reboot. We had the same upbringing under the strict guidance of all the Assumption nuns whose goal was to give us a well-balanced education. Inevitably, social groups were formed but we overlapped playing and friendly competition while playing.
Our class motto “Dilexit et finem” meaning: to love to the end. This everlasting promise of love is instilled in every member of this group of 71ers.
Fast forward to graduation in 1971. As we stepped out of the sheltered confines of the convent walls of Assumption, Martial Law was declared. This changed the landscape of our worlds. By this time, the two physical branches that kept us apart were merged. Many went to San Lorenzo to form College Class of 1975 which finally fused us together. After all, we were products of the same charter, method of education, the same religious orientation. We were formerly separate entities now finally united into an even stronger body of individuals who shared like background and interests. This natural blend was also another step in integrating friendships.
Our shared history became a mantle that sheltered us with warm lifelong friends, now exponentially expanded. After all, 12 years of primary and secondary education and 4 more years of college created an invisible bond tested by longevity of acquaintance and shared experiences.
When our schooling years were over, we were armed with skills and values, developed many allies and an understanding of what was in store for our real lives. We learned how to thrive in different environments, raise our families, develop careers and push the envelope in the paths we chose. The lives we led were vastly different. We lived in various parts of the Philippines and all around the globe. All throughout the voyage, we never lost sight of our Alma Mater nor each other.
For 5 decades since graduation, we stayed in touch, constantly weaving into each other’s lives. We celebrated our triumphs (and that of our children), cheered each other’s milestones. We offer our shoulders in times of health challenges and grieve together when we lose a loved one.
Our genuine concern for each other’s welfare has prompted Herran and San Lo groups to organize their respective “Angel Funds” to assist our classmates who have difficult phases in life. This spirit of rescue is a concrete demonstration of sisterly love and concern for each other in uneven times.
More than anything else, it is prayer that has united our classes all these years. We constantly include each other and our loved ones, in our spiritual intentions. It is not uncommon to see prayer requests fielded in chat groups. These are all affectionately responded to without hesitation.
Assumption High School Class of 71 will celebrate our Golden Jubilee this year. There again, in the years leading to this milestone, we enthusiastically prepared fund-raising events both here and abroad. They included : Portrait Project, Medical Forum, Jazz Concert, Retro Dinner Party, Dance Sessions, North American Auction and generous personal donations .
All these events were jointly participated, and enthusiastically driven by the desire to contribute to the Assumption Mission Schools in the Philippines and to other worthwhile projects.
Our Jubilee year will culminate in an online celebration together with the other Milestone Celebrants. The contribution of 71ers, developed and spearheaded by Monique Siguion-Reyna, profiles all of the former classmates that could be gathered to celebrate the shared joy of our years of friendship, cooperation, and the blending of our collective happiness when we are together.
After fifty (50) years, we look back with gratitude — gratitude for the innumerable blessings that we have received individually and as a group. These past five decades have been decorated and spiced with camaraderie, permanent bonds of relationships, fun well- attended events and sharing the harvest of our lives. Someone coined our years together as “more precious than gold”. Indeed, what we developed and now give each other is invaluable and a unique sisterhood: PURE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for God, for life and for each other. We now joyfully look forward with much anticipation to more decades, more time to share the fruits as Class of ’71!