WE Theresians (graduates of St. Theresa’s College or STC) always look forward to coming home to see the institution where many of our dreams were nurtured, to remember beautiful memories of enjoyable camaraderie and to reminisce about our mentors and the escapades we went through and to express our gratitude for what STC gave us.
These days we are going through the rigors of the practices for our respective dances in our presentation for our “Philippine Festival.” We of the diamond group (60 years after high school) feel our joints creak, our muscles complain and even our hearts murmur but we enjoy every second of our hilarious practices.
Each jubilarian is allowed only 3.5 minutes on stage but especially for senior citizens, we each turn according to our wayward ways and we’ve developed two left feet. But what do we do when we bump into each other as we commit mistakes? We wind up in raucous laughter. The practices are always fun-filled with the eating sprees afterward.
There are only nine of us from high school class ‘53 who will perform the Cabcaban dance of Carcar. Maricar Longa Mendezena, Annie Osmeña Aboitiz, Lily Gokongwei Chua, Dolores Du Diez, Alma Ceniza Reyes, Ligaya Bataclan, Leticia Osmeña Canoy, Cynthia Ramas Mann and myself. Sister Letty Kuan and Sister Teresita Borromeo may appear at the last minute. Honey Echivarre, Concepcion Rizarri Asuncion and Melinda Yap will be with us but not on stage.
We have several classmates in different parts of the world and also several classmates who have been called Home.
Our Eucharistic Celebration, our Philippine festival dances at the STC stage and the homecoming dinner are the highlights on
homecoming day itself. But with nine groups of jubilarians—diamond, emerald, gold, sapphire, ruby, coral pearl, silver and plalitum as the years are identified—trust your imagination to picture each group having fun-filled parties, sightseeing tours, sleepovers, etc.
These are the times when we become young again. I speak for the diamond group to which I belong. So here goes. Every one of us has long been involved in STC’s social orientation program. People who have difficulty sitting up or standing up find themselves so steeped into so much apostolic activity that we find ourselves terribly busy. However, one of us quipped, “Thank God we are so busy! We don’t have time to think of dying.” Maybe that’s the secret of those who are still left behind.
Seriously, Cebu is really a small place and it is so easy for Theresians to bond with each other. We see each other at adoration chapels, at Bible study groups, at daily masses at the different churches in Cebu City, at small get-togethers, at large parties or in malls. When you see women waving at each other, chances are they are Theresians.
We owe STC our upbringing, our values, our mastery of the English language, our confidence and our independence. We have been criticized that we have been turned into strong women. Praise God for that. Among the many widows here in Cebu City, those who have moved on, those who have survived the hardships of rearing families single-handedly have STC to thank for.
True, the way catechism was taught a long time ago was more different than it is today in many ways but we will never negate the fact that in kindergarten it was Mother Amandina who told us over and over again: “God loves you very much.” As we went through the classrooms and corridors of STC we were always reminded to “love one another.”
That love now overflows in outreach programs, feeding stations, scholarship sponsors, hospital visitations, orphanage work, etc.
Theresians work behind the scenes. They shun publicity and they often refer to themselves as “country mice” (no flashbulbs, please).
So much of the planning, the organizing and the sleepless nights are really in the hands of the STC alumni board officers and members led by president Alice Morada. They too move silently and humbly behind the curtains, the scenes and even the STC grounds.
Every homecoming is led by the silver jubilarians because after 25 years they still are young enough, energetic enough, full of life and mobile enough to carry the brunt of making all of us enjoy.
One last word! Every graduate of STC has the choice to come home, have fun, contribute her talents and to enjoy every single minute of the homecoming.