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Graduation congratulatory messages, who reads them? (Part III) recalling the story of “The Toga: A dream no more”

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(BY: PROF. ALI T. YACUB) “Surely this community of yours is one community and I am your LORD, so be dutiful to me, but they divided into sects each party rejoicing in what they had”
– Hoy Qur’an 23:52

“The heart of any religion is none other than that single Universal Truth that resides at the heart of all authentic religions and that is itself the foundation of all religions of the heart”
– Seyyed Hossein Nasr, THE HEART OF ISLAM: ENDURING VALUES FOR HUMANITY (2000)
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This is a continuation of my presentation in Part II which was titled “Graduation Congratulatory Messages, Who Reads Them?
These messages are not thrown away but as suggested, please read the suggestion:

IV. THE MESSAGES
1. What to do with messages?
a. This will be published in the school paper as a special issue
b. Included in the Baccalaureate Program
c. Included in the Recognition Day Program
d. Posted in all Bulletin Boards of the School

V. ORGANIZING THE GRADUATION COMMITTEES
1. Early composition of the Committees not later than September of the current year to tackle the following agenda:
a. Budget/Finance
b. Assignment to Committees and Orientation
c. Start evaluating candidates for graduation, those who are academically deficient
d. Conference with parents on issues and concerns
2. Drafting of Graduation Program and send letters to Commencement Speaker
a. Program draft, not later than end of October of the current year.
b. Invitation Letter to Commencement Speaker on the first week of October of the current year.
3. Final draft of Graduation Program – this has to be completed no later than the first week of January of the current year to be reviewed by the Over-Sight Committee. After the review, this will be sent to the Principal for the comment, correction, and/or approval.

VI. THE MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Commencement Exercises/Graduation is a solemn and dignified ceremony, hence, the Master of Ceremony must know beforehand his role.
A seminar on this must be undertaken.

VII. FORWARD LOOKING
1. If this innovation succeeds in the implementation on the first year, the credit goes to the Superintendent for his leadership, the Division Supervisors for their brilliant handling of the proposed innovation, the Principals and the Faculty as torch Bearers of knowledge and tradition
2. The parents, the graduates, the donors, sponsors will no longer be punished with the same pages year after year without the necessary improvement.
3. My congratulations and esteem to all!
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A WORTHY PROJECT RECALLED
Before the month of March 2015, there were already some naughty souls who alerted me that the new administration of the Zamboanga City High School would comply with the DepEd dictum of “simple graduation” and the first casualty to be buried into the annals of ZCHS history is the Toga, a labor of love of some alumni of the past.

A KIND-HEARTED FACULTY
A Kind-hearted faculty wrote a story of the “Toga Project” and how it brought life to so many and yet “negative-minded” personalities wanted it discarded. Fortunately, this will not happen because the new Principal is sympathetic to the Toga Project, I was told.

Here is that story, with the permission of Mr. Joseph S. Wee, author of the beautiful story, I am reprinting his story so those who intended to have the “toga” discarded because “they” still have the Martial Law Syndrome will not push through with their naughty design. Here is that story:

The Toga: A Dream No More
By: Mr. Joseph S. Wee

The valiant struggle is over! A beautiful dream is gone! The dream did not choose to slumber but chose to stay awake and gave itself a sturdy flesh. The dream is no more yet it enhanced the status of a man, enriched his spirit, and dignified his person.

Indeed, the dream found a comfortable cradle in the mind of Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Al-Hj., a ZCHS Alumnus who chiseled it with fine intention and painted it with enduring colors. Of course, the same dream fell in the heart of Ms. Anisa Yacub-Romero who gave it warmth and affection. Mr. Javil Lim, Al-Hj. And Mr. Victor Liozo gave the dream its wings to fly across time and ages. But over and above, it was Mrs. Eloisa B. Ruste who gave it life not only to exist but also to live.

These precursors of the “Adopt-a-Gown Project” crystallized the aspirations of those who left and shall leave the threshold of the revered Zamboanga City High School. These four alumni, armed with noble intention, saw the veritable need for improvement. For them, nothing is permanent but change towards something better, as long as the change shall not tarnish the school’s dignity and their unblemished integrity as well. Although at first, their dream and effort collided with prejudiced minds, yet later converged. Here the proponents and their critics meshed and harmonized in propelling the endeavor to its birth in 1998.

In the silence of their grateful hearts, the true people who deserve the loudest accolade and immense recognition are the alumni themselves. It was them who generously gave PHP 250.00 for each academic gown; though some munificent others donated pleasing amount for two, three and even ten gowns each. The project gained a steady momentum when Dr. Ernesto Espaldon handed out one-hundred thousand pesos (PHP 100,000.00) as donation for the togas.

Like a candle, the dream of these great alumni burned itself out. Yet the whooping amount of candle wax that remains is actually a hill of marble that mirrors the enormity of an exceptional task well-dreamt of. These academic gowns are profound statements of their shining symbol and of their deep and abiding concern for the welfare of those would-be alumni of Zamboanga City High School.

Yes, it’s a dream no more, for the same dream is a splendid reality that has been extolled by numerous names and faces. Such dream has fortified the bonds that make the past, present and future alumni of this great Zamboanga City High School stand as one family proudly singing, ‘Thy sons and daughters, thy voices raise…” This immortal song coupled with the vibrant blue academic gown, the graduates march with sincere pride and honor, and lift the nobleness of their Alma Mater.

And now, on every commencement exercise, the sparkling blue togas dominate the horizon and the faces of these four alumni as well as of the “life giver” shine through; while the efforts of the thousand others whose deeds may have remained unnoticed, unacclaimed, unheralded, and unrewarded are sewn in every fiber of the blue academic gown. It is on this moment, the jubilant spirit of this Alma Mater soars high bringing the sonorous names of Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Al-Hj, Ms. Anisa Yacub-Romero, Mr. Javil Lim, Al-Hj., Mr. Victor Liozo, Mrs. Eloisa B. Ruste and those alumni, to the proud past, the joyous present, and the exciting future. There in the depth of time, their names reverberate and their efforts find no oblivion because their remarkable achievements linger in the heart and soul of Zamboanga City High School. ####




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