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Hope of our future

Jojo G. Silvestre



Even as families are debating over whether to send their children to face-to-face schools or enroll them for home education, the memories of the recent graduation, virtual (via live streaming) or even house-to-house with the section adviser and principal going around town in a float and stopping by the home of each graduate who ascends the mobile stage (set up with commencement exercises trimmings), continue to play on the mind of those who graduated as well as their parents and grandparents.

Only the other Sunday, we featured some outstanding college and high school graduates. While the value of education cannot be overemphasized, the children’s lives are, of course, at stake should they be exposed vulnerably to crowds.

As we remain hopeful that a cure for COVID-19 may soon be discovered, allow us to congratulate our new graduates, elementary and kinder, in whose hands lie the future of our motherland and our mother earth. May God keep them and their batchmates always as they journey to a bright and peaceful future.

Hector with Lola Pinky Marcos Osias.

La Salle loyalist

Gabriel Joaquin “Gabe” Ocampo Guevarra, is the grandson of Marilyn Guidote Rodriguez & Rad Briones Ocampo.

His parents, Trisha Rodriguez Ocampo and Joseph Guevarra, chose to enroll him in La Salle because it has been the school favored by the family for generations.

Recognized for his good conduct, Gabe draws, dances and plays basketball. In school, he enjoys his science subjects. He created TikTok videos during the recent lockdown.

Of her grandson, Lynne Rodriguez says, “Gabe has grown up to be more mature and responsible. This lockdown has made him and his other siblings realize the value of family togetherness. Since Gabe is the only male in the house, his mother has given him more tasks especially on helping her out with her food delivery business. I am proud of Gabe more than ever.”

Grandma Lynne Rodriguez is in red (center) while Gabe is in white hoodie sweatshirt. They are with his mother Trisha and his sisters.

Good host

Six-year-old Albert Raul “Bebito” Buan Muñoz, the grandson of Alita Muñoz, recently finished his kindergarten.

Albert’s favorite subject is English. He swam, built LEGO, played video games, read books and cooked with his mom, Carla, during the lockdown. Very talented, Albert hosts children’s events. He admires Optimus Prime “because he is a leader” and his dad and mom.

Bebito, in blue shirt, is with his grandparents Dodjie (in gray shirt) and Alita Muñoz (in brown dress), and his parents Bebong (in black shirt) and Carla, with little boy Carlito.

Mathematics lover

The grandson of Jose and Sylvia Osias and Benjie and Badette Aton, Hector Benjamin Aton Osias, finished grade six from La Salle Green Hills. He received a Blessed Brother Raphael-Louis Rafiringa Honors’ Circle Medal, which is given to those who belong to the top 25 of the batch, and a Bronze Medal for Conduct.

Hector loves Mathematics and plays baseball. He attended summer online classes during the lockdown. In between, he drew, read and played his favorite retro videogames like Sonic, Kirby and Megaman; as well as Minecraft and Pokemon.

“We’re very proud of Hector and his achievements,” says grandmother Sylvia. “It’s unfortunate that he will not get to experience going up on stage to receive his awards and celebrate with his batchmates, but we all understand the need for safety and sheltering at this time.”

Little artist

Ignacio “Nacho” Dueñas, the six-year-old grandson of Manny and MaryAnn Dueñas (nee Cuyegkeng) finished preschool this 2020.

His parents, Mannito and Rita Dueñas, share that Nacho loves to put together puzzles, draw and color, and swim. Like his siblings, he attended preschool zoom classes while on quarantine and, like most graduates, “participated” in their moving up ceremony online.

Nacho, whose favorite subject is Art, is outstanding when it comes to drawing and painting. It was not surprising that Nacho and his siblings made a rainbow artwork for the health and medical frontliners. Nacho earned the title Little Artist for his bright and colorful artwork and earned the Awesome Attitude award for persevering in spite of his challenges in learning and communicating with his teacher and classmates.

Being a natural, he fearlessly swam in the lagoons of Coron, Palawan in one family trip.

He will most likely enroll in a home study program.

(Standing) Nacho’s Dad, Manny Dueñas. (Seated) Lola Maryann Cuyegkeng Dueñas while Nacho sits on her lap.

Robotics expert

Twelve year old Antonio “Mito” Dueñas finished Grade 6 at the De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, a co-ed Catholic school that focuses on the holistic growth and values formation of its students.

Mito, whose favorite subject was Robotics, received a Youth Excellence Science award from the Department of Science and Technology for winning in international STEM competitions last school year, including the World Robot Games in Thailand (silver award in innovative category).

Since their grade 6 graduation ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19, Mito’s sister, not wanting him to miss out on this all-important milestone, surprised him with a ceremony at home, complete with a homemade graduation cap and diploma with “Pomp and Circumstance” playing in the background. Not only Mito was elated, but also his parents, Mannito and Rita Dueñas, and grandmother, Mary Ann Cuyegkeng Dueñas.

During the lockdown, Mito learned to cook and do house chores. With his sister, he painted the garden wall. Using his bike, he helped his mom deliver vegetables to the neighbors on his bike. Mito also worked on his RCs and engaged in a restoration project of an RC of his dad from the 1980s. Like most children, he also watched a lot of YouTube. If you want to know more about his interests, you can follow Mito in his Instagram account “lifeofmito.”

Mito’s idols are famous race car drivers Carroll Shelby who founded the Shelby American, and BrazilianAyrton Senna who also helped the poor and the marginalized.

Mito with his Dad, Manny Dueñas.