Orientation Program for JPIC Scholars by Jean R. Chavez

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An Orientation Program was held on Saturday, June 21, 2014, for the 53 scholars accepted to the SSAP-JPIC Scholarship Program (SY 2014-2015). Present during the affair were the scholars’ parent(s) or guardian(s), and representatives from partner schools: Miss Nenette de Chavez, Student & External Affairs of Maligaya Institute in Malate and Miss Caren de Luna and Jerome Tuazon of Don Bosco, Makati. PPC President Jayme Blanco and VP Edmund Lim graced the event. The National Anthem was beautifully rendered by JPIC scholar Mary Ann Ramirez of Maligaya Institute.

In his Opening Prayers and Inspirational Message to the scholars, Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM, SSAP parish priest emphasized the need to appreciate the gift of education made available to them through the generosity of their benefactors, the Santuario de San Antonio parishioners. He implored God’s help to bless the scholars’ efforts to excel in their studies that God’s name may be glorified.

Fr. Reu underscored the importance of parent/scholar partnership to guide their children in the pursuit of their studies and extra-curricular activities. He stressed that parents should not be dependent on the generosity of others but to strive on their own efforts to change the cycle of poverty into a cycle of opportunities and challenges. It is through their examples that hard work and dedication can be instilled in the young to nurture good citizens of the future.

The highlight of the program was the Reading and Signing of Contracts to secure the JPIC Scholars’ commitment to do their best always; to formalize the parents’ commitment to give moral support to their children in their quest to finish their course; to assist their children in their project expenses through financial support within their means; to allow the follow-up of their children’s progress by the JPIC Socio-Pastoral worker through home visits.

Introduced years ago by Sr. Marisa Lichauco, a simple ceremony of the Lighting of the Candles capped the event, participated in by the scholars, their parents/guardians, members of SSAP-JPIC Scholarship Program, partner school representatives and pastoral workers.

First was the Lighting of the Candle of the Present to signify the scholars’ journey into the present moment into the unknown future, when the God of our journey through the Holy Spirit will give us a heart that is attentive to our renewal. Next was the Lighting of the Candle of the Past to remember where we came from as our God of our journey leads our hearts to transformation. Lastly, the Lighting of the Candle of the Future signified a time that is yet to be, a place where all our hopes, dreams and visions have yet to bear fruit in the spirit. “Where are we going?”

Conceptualized by Chingay Lagdameo, former Dean of Assumption College, a Kristiyanong Mamamayan Workshop was held to help JPIC scholars and their parents embody the virtues/values they need to practice daily at home, in school, at work, in the church/parish and in our community/country.

The SSAP-JPIC Scholarship Program started in 1996 under the helm of its founding “mother”, Menchu Bautista. The SSAP Foundation, through a portion of church collections and a share of proceeds from special fund-raising events of the Parish such as the FrancisFest, allocates yearly Php1.5 million to the Scholarship Program.

The JPIC Scholarship Committee also generates funds by writing sponsorship appeals for deserving college scholars through letter solicitations to parishioners interested in sponsoring scholars, parish bulletin publications, walk-in donors, etc.

A simple merienda and lunch provided an opportunity for the scholars to interact with each other. A new year of promise and hope awaits our scholars. For now they will hurdle the daily grind of a student’s life, deeply appreciative of the privilege accorded to them, driven by a desire to transform their dream into reality.