“My stay in Marist was like an abstract artwork, difficult to understand at first, but still filled both my eyes and heart with joy.”

Completing junior high school with a class of equal number of male and female students, Ana Katrina Asuncion has experienced new things in Marist School after her transfer to senior high school.

“I entered a new school where I saw facilities that enticed my eyes. I met new and different kinds of people who treated me nicely. I also felt different emotions as I interacted with them and formed bonds of relationship which I could hold onto,” Asuncion shared.

Asuncion is the first female valedictorian of the school, who was officially inducted as an alumna during their graduation last June 24.

Blue & Gold’s tribute to Batch 2021

A student of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand, her parents wanted her to transfer to a school which holds competence in the sciences and has the facilities to do so.

Meanwhile, Arden Anagap, who is Asuncion’s fellow STEM student and a two-year editor of the Blue & Gold, was named batch salutatorian. For Anagap, their journey in journey in senior high school is “differently familiar.”

“For example, the teachers were the same teachers from JHS, but they treated you differently; you were expected to learn more independently, and they treated you with more maturity. Another differently familiar aspect were my batchmates. Being exposed to transferees, I could see how my batchmates interacted with people they never met before,” Anagap expounded.

Together with being an editor, Anagap was the vice president of MSCB-SHS when they were in Grade 11. Being active in extracurricular activities, they see the act of doing org work as a way of repaying Marist School for nurturing them for more than a decade.

“Leadership and responsibilities are hard to learn in a day or in one school year,” Anagap added.

This high regard to service is what Asuncion shares with Anagap. In her valedictory speech, Asuncion mentioned that Marist taught her the essence of being of service to others and the importance of love of work.

Asked if she aspired to receive any graduation honors, Asuncion admitted that it has been a goal, but it came with challenges that she must overcome, especially with the implementation of online classes.

“Given that it is a must to use gadgets in reading online learning materials, watching online supplementary lessons, and creating and submitting assigned tasks, it is easy to be distracted by social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube for some entertainment in between studying. In addition to that, at some point, I also lost the motivation to strive hard in studying,” bared Asuncion.

But these challenges made her establish a routine of accomplishing academic tasks, resting for about 30 minutes, and returning to the rest of her requirements. She added that it helped whenever teachers respond to her emails.

Yet, hearing the news of her being the valedictorian, Asuncion still felt surprised.

“Compared to when the classes were conducted face-to-face, I can say that my performance this year was a bit lacking. With this in mind, I did not expect to be the batch valedictorian. I even said it to my parents a couple of times,” she said.

Similarly, Anagap was shocked to receive the news of being the salutatorian, given that they also had their own share of difficulties in online classes, such as lack of equipment at home for laboratory works and PE videos.

“What I wanted most was to do things that made me proud. Finding out that I was batch salutatorian came as a shock. It made me realize that you can still do things your way and get achievements,” Anagap commented.

Moving on from Marist, Anagap would carry how the school taught them to own their ambition, but not their achievements.

“I learned to lead, to aspire, and to excel. But one thing I’ll always remember is that I was not alone in doing those things,” Anagap said.

For Asuncion, she assured the female students of Marist that they are in an institution that would teach them both academic and life lessons.

“It is a given that you will encounter some hardships as you study, but rest assured that with the supportive friends and classmates you will meet, and caring teachers that surround you, you will survive the tough times. Do not hesitate to seek help. Speak up when you have to,” concluded Asuncion.

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