Two hundred and forty-five graduates from the Elementary, Secondary and Tertiary levels gathered together for the Twelfth Commencement Exercises last March 27 and 28, 2015 at The Lewis College Quadrangle in Sorsogon City. This year’s theme, “Lifelong Learning: Key to the Challenges of the 21st Century”, was addressed by keynote speaker, Dr. Rosa D. Anonat, retiring Officer-in-Charge of the school.
TLC President, Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis personally thanked Dr. Anonat via a video message for exemplifying the three languages exhorted by Pope Francis during his historic visit to the Philippines: the Language of the Mind, the Heart and our Hands. Mrs. Lewis lauded Dr. Anonat’s fifteen years of dedicated service. “Her integrity, her diligence, and her love of teaching shine all the way through,” she added.
Equally moving was the Tribute to Parents where each graduate offered a rose to their parents in gratitude for their support and love that enabled these students to achieve their goal.
Applause greeted another inspiring moment, when Jose Arnel Mallete, a person with disability, was ushered by his mother and a soldier to the stage to accept his diploma for graduating in Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. He is a living example of Reginald Lewis’ motto to “keep going, no matter what.”
It was indeed a day of celebration for all.
The inspiring message of Dr. Rose D. Anonat during the 12th Commencement Exercises can be viewed below:
To be at The Lewis College is for me an opportunity, a privilege and an honor. An opportunity because I was given the rare chance to continue serving the people of Sorsogon for the past 15 years from 2000 to the present; and taking it from the Founder and President, Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis, this is an opportune time to give back to Sorsogon, our home province.
Moreover, it is a privilege bacause among all professional educators,the Founder has entrusted this institution under my charge for seven years starting 2007 to the present; and from then on the school enrolment ballooned six times over.
Likewise, it is an honor because this institution is already known not only in the Philippines but also abroad where we have sent a scholar to US, and graduates to Europe, Australia, Middle East, Japan, China and South East Asia as well as public and private companies in the country. It has also earned recognition by winning national, regional and local competitions in both academic and non-academic areas from elementary, high school to college levels.
For all these, I want to express my deep gratitude to the Nicolas-Lewis Family, the Board of Directors, the Administrative Staff and all faculty members for keeping our unity and cooperation in tact through the years.
If there is anything that matters most to the future of our country, it is to ensure that our young men and women have acquired their lifelong learning. What you have learned from the day you set foot in school up to today that you are graduating from college are most important in the succeeding days. True it is, that parents should give support for the education of their children; and that the government should provide for the education, training and opportunities of the youth for the promotion of their welfare and in service to the nation.
But one big question haunts us: Why is the life we dreamed of still beyond our reach? There are a thousand and one reasons but which can be summed up into one-that is, there are many challenges to face, many hurdles to get over with; and many mountains to climb.Only those who are courageous, those who have unwavering will power will succeed.
What I am saying does not come from imagination. It is not even a theory to be proven. It came from actual observation of our students. Try to reflect on this: There is no better opportunity for an improved life than the various scholarship, academic scholarship, city scholarship, PALFSI, Bayanihan, Perlas scholarship, and RFL Foundation Scholarship.
Believing in education, our Founder and President and the Board of Directors have approved of these scholarships as a way of helping Sorsogueños in order to release them from the clutches of poverty. There are one hundred working students a number no other college or university in the whole country can afford to offer. Sad to say, that still some students fall off or could not finish due to lack of determination, courage and will power.
After today, these young graduates will face the real world of work. All of you have gone through your on-the-job training or practice teaching, or practicum. In those few months that you immersed yourself in your chosen career, you already got a feel of job. Are you going to pursue it? There are those who had been hired already before their practicum ended. Would it be your lifelong career? Would it be the work you are passionate about so that you are not only after the salary but the expression of your passion and your desire to serve? On the higher level, would your job give meaning to your life? Would it add value to the quality of your life? What you have learned through the years of your schooling should be your capital for a job that will give you satisfaction, happiness, the development of your personal assets and talents, and a sense of self-worth.
Aim not just to exist. Eat, drink, breathe and you exist. Life means more than that. People who spend more time pursuing activities that reflect their passions in life are the people who find their lives more meaningful. You have been in school for an average of fifteen (15) years or more. The lifelong knowledge you got, the skills and attitude you’ve developed should be your capital for a meaningful life.
The world of work is so vast especially now that we are part of the ASEAN integration. The Philippines has neighbor in Asia, Namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. All of these neighbors will become bound together into one whole called ASEAN Common Market, with each country entitled to equal participation and membership.
In 2003 these member notions agreed to integrate their economies. In 2007 the leaders of these countries approved a “blueprint” to guide each member on initiatives and measures to achieve regional integration which has already started this year 2015.
Under the ASEAN integration these ten countries with over half a billion people should be able to participate in the free flow of goods, services, labor, capital and foreign investments. Ultimately, integration will foster greater cooperation and healthy competition in these countries in Asia.
There are advantages of ASEAN integration. First Advantage is the opening up of job markets in the region. those who can’t find jobs in the Philippines can go to any of these country-member of ASEAN. While many Filipinos already work in other ASEAN countries, the process of looking for jobs abroad will now be made easier by the integration. You won’t need a work visa anymore to apply for a job. But the challenge is this: the job market will bw fiercer. Filipinos have to compete against applicants from other ASEAN nations. A Filipino applicant should be better than applicants from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and other countries. However, we have an advantage because we are highly adaptable. We can easily adapt to multicultural workplaces. Wherever you put the Filipino worker he survives and becomes the choicest employee. That’s why you should carry those values you have acquired in school- a sense of responsibility, and self-discipline. Our command of the English language is also an advantage over our ASEAN counterparts. TLC offers a foreign language speakers whether in computer technology, business management or teaching job.
Second advantage is the regional community approach to integration of education in the region. The K to 12 program has been instituted to make Philippine education comparable to the ASEAN and the rest of the world. The academic calendar synchronization of ASEAN universities lays the groundwork for increasing student and faculty mobility within the region where a teacher can teach in any of the member nation and a student can continue his studies in any of the universities. Only the Philippines starts its academic calendar in June. Most universities in China, Korea, Japan, and North America start their classes in August or September.
The integration is the main reason why some Philippine universities such as the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University have synchronized their schools calendars in 2014 with those of their counterparts in other ASEAN countries. The synchronization of the academic calendar of Philippine universities with most ASEAN, European, and American academic partners will create more joint programs and partnership with other universities and allow students to get transfer credits from different universities in the ASEAN.
Experience ot other OFW’s who go to foreign countries show that a graduate of a four year college course in the Philippine has to study two (2) years more abroad because ten (10) years of basic education, that is, six (6) years inn the elementary and four (4) years in high school is not enough in a foreign country which has a K to 12 curriculum. We are lacking 2 years more in our education. Thus, the implementation of the K to 12 program.
How prepared is The Lewis College for ASEAN integration?
First Step, TLC is adapting the K to 12 curriculum to complete the number of years a graduate needs in order to compete in the global market. It has begun its preparation of the facilities needed in the senior high school implementation. Before you is the nearly completed building that will house the laboratories for sciences, vocational courses, computers, and classrooms for grades 11 and 12 come 2016.
Second Step, TLC has prepared its faculty members with the required qualifications such as master degrees and licenses to teach academic subjects; and for those who will teach vocational courses by having them passed the TESDA assessment. Now, these faculty members are certified by TESDA and qualified by DEPED to teach their respective specialization.
We have the best faculty members who have proven their competence by gaining national and regional awards in computer science, business administration, and other academic performances.
Third Step, curricula for the different subjects are now ready and the details of their lessons being worked out this whole summer, a year before the program starts in 2016. That is how TLC responds to the needs of the time for the good of our students.
Much is still to be done. TLC takes it in stride but there is a serious intent that we shall offer the best we can for our students whom you, parents, have entrusted under our care. With strong resolution TLC should come up to the challenges that face our young people. With unwavering Faith in God we shall emerge victorious in all our labors and ultimately crown us with success in whatever endeavor we shall undertake. CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK!”