By: Alexis Balansag*
March 3, 2012 marked the first Alumni Homecoming of the graduates of the Siena College of Taytay, Night High School Program. The night’s theme was, “Recollect, Reconnect, Rediscover”.
Planning for this momentous event, which started early 2011, was a long, tedious process – from the conceptualization of the program, to fundraising, and finally in naming the actual event, the “Alumnight.” The planning committee was organized by a core group which was composed of representatives from each Night High alumni class, led by Jackielyn Mensones, from the Night High Class of 2006. With months of planning, meetings, and with the never-ending support and guidance of Mr. Rene Logatoc, Head of the Siena College Christian Development Center, the event pushed through with great success.
The aim of the Alumnight Program was to recollect the past and to gather all the Night High graduates together to share their experiences after graduating from the Night High School Scholarship Program; to reconnect with old friends, and teachers who were part of our high school lives; and to and rediscover new things about each other, and to hear about the recent accomplishments of successful scholars.
The Alumninight, held at St. Catherine Hall, gathered participants, sponsors, Siena College teachers, administrators, and guests for a night of remembering, and reuniting.
Three Night High alumni gave testimonies about their experiences as scholars, and their lives after graduating from the 5 year program.
The first testimony was from Rochelle Majaraiz, a graduate from the first Night High School class – Class of 2006. Rochelle was orphaned at a young age, and led a difficult life. After getting into Siena College and graduating as a Night High School scholar, Rochelle availed of a scholarship to study Religious Education, also at Siena College of Taytay. Through the support and encouragement of her friends, teachers and the Dominican Sisters of Siena, Taytay, Rochelle found the love, affection and guidance she longed for all her life. Having graduated from college, and passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in 2010, she is now working as a teacher at Siena College of Taytay, teaching Christian Living and Values Education.
The second testimony was given by Fatima Ivy Sedo, from the Night High Class of 2008, who is currently employed at ICI Systems, Inc., as an instrumentation technician. After graduating from Night High School, Ivy availed of a scholarship at the Meralco Foundation Institute to major in Instrumentation Technology. Now, Ivy is working as a full time instrumentation technician, servicing local factories of international companies, as well as national government utility agencies.
The third testimony was from Joana Penaranda, also a graduate of the Class of 2006. Though Joana was not able to go to college, she worked hard after high school to earn money to support herself and her family, and is now the owner of a very successful food store which distributes dim sum to different restaurants nationwide.
After the alumni’s testimonials, there were short messages from other participants of the program, namely Ms. Ma. Caridad Meneses, who had been class adviser of graduating Night High classes, from 2007 to 2011; Mo. Teresa Examen, O.P., who, along with Mr. Rene Logatoc, started the Night High School Scholarship Program 10 years ago, and of course, Mr. Lewis Edwards, Chairman of A Better Chance Foundation, which has been sponsoring the Night High School Scholarship Program at Siena College, Taytay, since 2002.
The Night High Alumni Association also awarded Night High teachers, ABC Foundation members, and Siena College Administrators with Certificates of Appreciation.
As alumni, I was inspired by the stories shared by Ms. Rochelle, Ivy, and Joanna, who, despite numerous setbacks in life, under different circumstances, have succeeded in realizing their dreams. I was also thrilled to see, not only my classmates, but also old schoolmates, and former teachers, who are so proud of what we have accomplished so far.
Looking back, I cannot express how grateful I am to all those who have worked so hard to give us educational opportunities to help us rise out of poverty – my sponsors, ABC Foundation, Springboard Foundation and Robert Bosch, Inc.; all my different teachers, and of course Siena College, for creating the Night High School Scholarship Program.
I can say with confidence that the very first Night High School Alumni Homecoming was indeed a success, and a milestone to be remembered.
*Alexis Balansag is a Night High alumni, from the Class of 2011. He is an ABC College scholar, going on his 2nd year of college, majoring in Advertising and Public Relations. He works part-time at ABC Foundation.