Educating for solidarity, says Pope Francis, supposes not only teaching to be good and generous but also creating a mentality that thinks in terms of community. Inspired by the Holy Father’s words of wisdom, the students of Grade 9-Jogues went to Brgy. Tabunan, Cebu City for a Magis Outreach. Beginning last school year 2014-2015, High School students have been encouraged to organize community outreach initiatives on top of the flagship social involvement activities assigned per grade level.
Guided by their class adviser, Mme. Teresa de Guzman, and accompanied by some teachers and parents, the students of 9-Jogues spent more than half of their day in a remote mountain barangay on January 30, 2016. The highlight of the activity was the interactive conversation between the Ateneo-Hearters and the residents in the upland area of Tabunan. The students were assigned to pre-identified families whom they were tasked to interact. They listened not only to the life stories of the barrio folks but also their views on education, poverty, family and hope. At first, some students were afraid to talk while others were ashamed to ask. The host families were also hesitant to say anything. But as the conversation deepened, feelings became lighter. Faces started to smile, and laughter was heard in the neighborhood. Then there was friendship, joy and gratitude.
While the students were busy with their conversations with the residents, an interactive session on Positive Discipline was conducted by Mr. Robby Echavez of Right Daycare Center in the barangay hall. Mr. Echavez, a professional counselor and therapist, was tapped by the Social Involvement Office particularly for the Magis Outreach. Simultaneously, Dr. Joy Torres, Mrs. Tina Canete and Ms. Nancy Toledo invited some kids for a story telling session. 10 boxes of children’s books were also turned over to the Tabunan Day Care Center. The books were donated by SHS-AdC’s Grade School Department as part of the Share a Book-Share a Brighter Tomorrow Campaign.
Before the outreach ended, the participants shared their observations, realizations and reflections. For Dave Domingo, the activity was a motivation “to study hard in order to give [his] children a better future.” Nigel Montefolka for his part said that the interaction with the people made him “discern that one can live a happy, though simple, life.” The parents who accompanied the class also shared their thoughts on the MAGIS Outreach. Mr. Chia Shee Jin expressed his appreciation “for what Ateneo has done or continue to do” to its students. He pointed out that the activity is “a good educational experience for all Ateneo-Hearters.”
Brgy. Tabunan is located 29 km from the main road of Lahug, Cebu City. Though part of the city it is a remote barangay that already borders the municipality of Balamban. With a population of over 2,500 most of its residents subsist on farming. Mrs. Lucrezia Gabato, the Barangay Captain, thanked Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu for its assistance to the people of Tabunan. With deep gratitude, she encouraged the students to “continue doing good deeds especially those who need help.”
The Magis Outreach organized by 9-Jogues is the 4th initiative this school year. Grade 10-Chabanel (under Mrs. Mananay) and Gr. 10-Gonzaga (under Mrs. Lagunzad) organized a Magis Outreach for Cansojong National High School and Kythe Foundation respectively. 7-Brebeuf (under Ms. Molero) gave bundles of joy to the residents of Brgy. Sak-sak, Consolacion after their class Christmas Party on December 18. Service to those in need continues even after SHS-AdC’s Year of Service. In the words of St. Paul, “for it is the love of Christ that compels us.”
Always Magis! Always Lux Oriens! Always Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!