By Angelo Louis Ong
Former Creative Editor / Batch 2020 Alumnus

The announcement to my family regarding my graduation—an event of which I told them would be held online via Facebook live due to the prohibition of students from going to school—gave them a bit of a disappointed feeling—for my sake I guess.

But being the youngest among my siblings and the last to graduate high school, they themselves have already experienced the emotions one would have in an actual face-to-face graduation and the visibility of those emotions among fellow batchmates; them realizing that such an experience would be taken away from us made them felt pity for me, I guess.

Of course, I would be lying if I said that my batch weren’t disappointed as well; many of us were expecting to be able to go to school to have an actual graduation during the month of September.

During the speech of gratitude, spoken by Sam Bondj A. Tupa of Gr. 12-Joswiak—who, himself, admitted was introverted in nature and was glad that he did not have to make the speech in front of a crowd—would have actually preferred the crowd.

Likewise, I’m sure all of us were glad to not have gone through the hassle of graduation practice for three consecutive days, having to find the right attire and dress ourselves up for the big day—and yet, perhaps we would have preferred that hassle if it meant experiencing the actual graduation experience.

So yes, indeed we were able to graduate this September, albeit, in the comfort of our own homes and away from our second home.

All that being said, that is not to say that the online graduation failed to trigger certain emotions among the graduates and their families; as a matter of fact, it provided a different kind of experience.

The preparations made by the students and Salesian educators, the technology used for making this graduation possible, the feeling of graduating in front of a phone or computer without the need to dress up or even take a bath or wear pants, and the emotions we felt while watching and experiencing it, almost everything was different; in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, I am doing a new thing;” and indeed, what we all have done and experienced here was a new thing. 

But I believe some things remain the same regardless of whether your graduation was held in real life or on the internet, the graduates get a sense of pride for finishing the journey of high school filled with hardships and laughter, but also a sense of farewell.

The montages of each section shown before the graduation rites helped us reminisce, some of those captured moments with our SHS classmates, as well as triggering memories that weren’t captured on film. Traveling down this memory lane certainly gave us nostalgia, but eventually we are all reminded that we are wrapping up this two-year—or in my case, 12-year journey.

Just the thought of ending this long journey, of the people we encountered and lost along the way and of the past experiences gives an emotion that is rather difficult to express in words, but it is also an emotion that is, though, painful, worth cherishing for as long as you feel it in your heart, and I am truly happy to say that even graduating in front of a screen was still capable of making you feel these emotions—and that’s thanks for all the emotions put into making such a good online graduation possible.