[Opinion] Rekindling the central spirit

After  completing  high  school  education  23  years  ago,  each  of  us  who  belong  to the  batch  of  graduates  of  Central  Philippine  University,  pursued  college  on  a discipline  of  our  choice  and  later  established  a  career  or  vocation.

While  a  good  number  has  preferred  to  study  in  universities  in  Iloilo,  some  went  to Manila  where  the  menu  of  courses  is  wide  ranged  and  the  opportunities  for  work after  college  are  vast.  This  is  the  period  of  time  that  detached  many  of  us  from our  classmates  and  friends.  Despite  the  distance  and  circumstances,  however,  some of  us  have  continued  to  hold  periodic  gatherings  in  small  groups  given  the opportunity  or  when  one  is  visiting  the  city.

Last  weekend,  the  graduates  of  Batch  1990  of  the  CPU  Development  High  School joined  with  other  graduates  in  commemorating  the  first  Grand  Reunion  organized  by the  Alumni  Association  together  with  the  faculty  of  the  department.  Although  this is not  the  first  time  for  our  batch  to  gather,  still  I  cannot  deny  the  fact  that  the event  was  refreshing  and  energetic  and  it  revived  poignant  memories.

Whether  we  realized  it  or  not,  there  is  a  certain  mystic  about  high  school  life  that makes  it  extraordinary  compared  to  college.  One  could  not  fully  realize  how  special and  important  high  school  life  is  not  until  one  had  reached  pre-midlife.  What  many may  call  the  fountain  of  youth  is  literally  “overflowing”  during  high  school  years.  It  is in  high  school  where  the  possibilities  of  achieving  ones  dreams  in  life  are  cultivated. It  is  the  starting  point  for  one’s  aspirations  to  accelerate  towards  accomplishment.

I  am  reminded  by  a  lecture  about  society  and  selfhood  which  I  attended  long  ago. The  lecture  underscored  that  it  is  in  high  school  that  one’s  identity  begins  to  take shape  and  it  is  where  principles  and  convictions  are  formed  which  can  later  help explain  the  established  belief  systems  that  many  of  us  have  carried  along  as  we grow  old.

Not  many  will  agree  but  somehow  it  provides  enlightenment  as  to  the  supplemental influence  of  high  school  in  forming  some  of  one’s  traits,  behaviors  and  personality characteristics.  It  can  also  facilitate  understanding  why  we  repeatedly  go  back  to the  memories  of  high  school.

Yet  after  all  the  flashing  of  camera  light  bulbs,  the  noise,  laughter  and conversations during  the  reunion,  one  attempts  to  sum  up  the  events  that  defined  one’s  high school  life.  Sooner,  one  will  realize  that  many  of  the  circumstances  and  events  of that  time  have  actually  defined  much  of  one’s  life.  Such  a  summing  up  have become  inevitable  when  one  participates  in  school  reunions.

These  gatherings  cause  reminiscence  and  recollection;  of  bridging  gaps  and  of putting missing  pieces  of  a  puzzle  together;  and  of  explaining  what  have  been  and  what are  up  and  coming.

It  was  only  during  the  gathering  that  we  were  reminded  of  the  rich  and  long history  of  the  high  school  department.  Established  in  1913,  its  centennial  celebration is  two  years  from  now.  Surprisingly,  the  CPU  High  School  was  already  on  its  73rd year  when  we  enrolled  as  a  batch  of  high  school  students.

The  “Central  Spirit”  is  indeed  a  unifying  element  for  all  Centralians.  It  is  the  tie  that has  bonded  together  many  generations  of  Centralians  across  continents.  I  am  certain it  will  continue  to  unify  future  generations.  Mabuhay  to  Batch  1990  and  to  all  the Centralians! (Misreadings, The News Today, 21 July 2011)

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