Monday, May 27, 2019

Palasan: Of reunions and homecomings

Spark of Law

THIS evening the men will be boyz, as they fondly spell it for a reason, once again. Xavier University High School alumni will once more troop to their now famous venue, the Atrium at Ketkai.

This high school homecoming started in 2006 and the venue was the covered courts of the Xavier University main campus. The few pioneering souls of XUHS Batch '82, namely Isagani Capaning, Rico Borromeo, Edward Espiritu, and Noel Dajao came up with the idea of having a homecoming exclusively for the high school. An alumnus from Batch '71, George Goking, was some sort of the gadfly for the core group, giving inputs and encouragement. George Goking is even now the recognized big brother of Batch '82.

The concept to ensure the continuity of the homecoming is simple but effective. The "Atchoys" system has been in place. The first "Atchoys" was Batch‘82. They basically pander to the commands of the other batches, providing foods, drinks, and serving them as well. These "Atchoys" are not your ordinary house helpers. They raise funds for the homecoming, invite people, and prepare the program. And after assuring all these are taken cared of, they serve pitchers of beer and plates of foods. During the event, they are slaves of the other alumni.

After Batch '82, the next "Atchoys" was Batch '83. This goes on in perpetuity until, God forbid, there will be no more graduates of Xavier University High School. But the way the ateneans respond to the biblical call for populating the earth, you are sure to see different generations of the blue eagles congregating in one venue.

Well, the covered courts at the main campus as the venue of the homecoming ceased after Batch '86, led by then their famous batch mate, Benjo Benaldo, invited Maui Taylor to dance scantily, or rather, sexily, during the 2009 homecoming.

The mix of booze and sexiness was too much for the university president. The following year, 2010, the homecoming was to be held at the Atrium in Ketkai. There, the men gathering as boys, drink in gusto and feast in bacchanalia of foods. When already in stupor, the entire Atrium reeks with alcohol, high fives for long lost classmates, and guttural shouts of a teen.

You get to see alumni who are way past senior citizenship sharing a pitcher of beer with alumni who can be their grandchildren. If you have not seen batch mates for three decades already, be surprised, they may have just travelled far just for the event. Yes, they too share their memories and exploits in the campus. And they share memories with so much passion that one may think the events just happened yesterday.

No, never get the notion that these graduates are all but bacchanalia. These are not apologies for them but they are just men who know how to celebrate after year of work and toil.

Of the different departments of the university, you are sure to meet the mighty proud from the high school alumni. For them, the real Jesuit education is in high school. Steeped in Ignatian ideals and learning, they set out graduating in high school believing that they had the best education and they are imbued with the mission to work for the greater glory of God.

There are several batches who are engaged in charity works. XUHS '82 even has established scholarship fund for the deserving high school students. Other batches go to the community to offer food and services.

These boys are men who stand tall in society and the world. The Jesuits have produced priests, businessmen, politicians, generals, and yes, even communist's commanders and Muslim rebels.

Meanwhile, during their break from the vagaries of life, they sure would want to shed their adult lives, and share that which is always constant in their minds, the memories of their your youth at their beloved alma mater.


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