SHS-HdJ Senior High Faith Sharing Session

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      Last May 20, the Senior High School Department of Sacred Heart School - Hijas de Jesus ended the school year with a faith-sharing session, contemplating how the mystery of the Ascension reflects their experiences throughout the school year. Their reflection was guided by the sets of questions that mainly asked “What was my own experience of Ascension this school year?” and “What important life lessons have I learned this school year?”. 

      Two students (one from each grade level) share the fruit of their reflection with us in this article. From Grade 11 - St. Pope John Paul II, we have Justiene Samantha Chua, and from Grade 12 - St. Therese of Lisieux, we have Jillian Sabrina Lim.

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The Win Amidst the Fall

Written by: Justiene Samantha S. Chua

In the wake of this global pandemic we all face, numerous lives were altered and affected by the new lifestyles we live. As students in this time of age, online classes have been undoubtedly difficult mentally, physically, and emotionally. Although there were downs throughout our online class journey, the ups were nevertheless present. 

The school year has come to an end with a Faith-sharing session that focused on the Gospel reading from Mark 16:15-20. Upon reading this, I fathomed what I have been through the past year. Personally, my online classes journey was far from perfect; behind the screen I faced each day were the struggles and endeavors I experienced. There were countless times that I felt anxious, nervous, and agitated. Time passed by which led me to feel extremely overwhelmed and exhausted. There were moments I broke down and cried thinking that I was not performing my best and there was no space for such. During these times, I experienced being at the bottom of the pit as I greatly struggled. 

Nonetheless, looking back at these instances taught me lessons of which I treasure at present. At the time I felt so glum and heavyhearted, I discerned to value myself, and I grasped the impact of the people I surrounded myself with. Some moments overworking myself led me to lack of sleep and being overly fatigued.

However, through time I recognized taking breaks and not being stern with myself. It was from this experience; my friends, my family, and my teachers never fail to hear out what I felt in the span of this school year. From their guidance and endless support, I saw the light amidst the situation we all currently face. I felt that I was not going through my struggles alone as these people are right by my side no matter what. Truthfully, it was difficult to look on the brighter side of the situation yet God helped me realize the goodness in the hurdles I faced.

I might have fallen into a dark pit at a moment of my being; nevertheless, I saw the light as a way out of that pit. In life, we have been through road bumps in our journey to growth but whatever it may be, we must discern the good amidst difficult situations as we acquire vital life lessons that God is yearning us to recognize.

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The Start of Something Greater 

By: Jillian Sabrina Lim 

To be honest, I’ve always said in the Officers’ Group Chat the words,  “ay” or “again?” when our teachers would announce a BEC encounter. Sometimes, I just think it’s a waste of time, but most importantly, it was because I’m scared of being vulnerable. I’m scared of sharing a part of myself because I am such an overthinker. I would always think, “what would they think of me?” or “what if they’ll tell other people what I’m saying?” However, as I look back in the school year, I thought, I needed this. I needed this not to really share with anyone, but to reflect on my own journey in Senior High School.  

Senior High School was a rollercoaster ride. While people can expound greatly on why or how, I simply say it was just going to make me dizzy. I have never ridden on more than one rollercoaster because I easily get motion sickness, but I think I’ve experienced the thrill, fun, and pain of a rollercoaster ride. In Grade 11, everything seemed so new. The classrooms, uniforms, the heels (oh dear), the flight of stairs I had to climb, the organizations, and the subjects I took. I’ve always been known as the naming or smart student in Junior High School. Well, to be honest, JHS was easy, it was all general knowledge. Learning seemed fun, but I didn’t have to try hard to even get decent grades. But Senior High was different, or in young term lingo, built differently.  

 In the first few weeks of school, I thought I was doing well. But I started struggling a lot, just like the pacing of the tests. It was so different because we were expected to learn by ourselves, or at least study a bit beforehand. But because I was just compensating myself, I said, “it’s fine, I’ll be fine, I don’t need to have high grades.” The more I was pressuring myself, the more I was doing worse in class. So, I tried to do the opposite. (Time to expose myself!) I watched K Dramas in class, I was playing games in class, I was fangirling over K-Pop boys, and that decreased a whole lot of pressure on me. Not only that, when I broke down in front of my mom one day because I thought I  flunked my Applied Economics test, I realized that I’m putting unnecessary pressure on myself. 

One of the questions in this BEC encounter was in the lines of “when did you feel your ascension in Senior High School?” I would probably say the day I found out my batch and strand ranking in Grade 11. I never really cared about what my actual ranking was. I always thought that as long as I do my best and I don’t have regrets, it’s enough. But the day I got my ranking, I cried, because of that sense of pride that I could do it, and more importantly, I should stop doubting myself. With that, I felt more confident in myself but of course, there’s an added pressure to maintain that.  

 I’ll be very honest, I may be so cheerful when I pass by people, but I rarely start conversations or even continue one for a very long time. Sadly, if there is one thing that I regret is that I was too scared to create more meaningful relationships with my batchmates. I always describe myself as a silent observer because I am very observant of my surroundings. 

Whenever I feel like my classmates would feel down, I’d go to them and ask them if they’re fine or if they’re having any problems. A sense of empathy in anyone’s actions goes a long way. My batch is very driven, passionate, and most of all, hardworking. I’ve never seen such a batch who could craft a whole virtual organization fair in less than two weeks with finals and other PTs going on. It shows how they have great characters and how thoughtful and diligent they are. I’ll label them as “extra” because they are.

They go above and beyond what is being asked and they never back down unless it is too tough or too much already. Sometimes, they may complain a lot, but we cannot expect everyone to be of the same resilience as others. My batch is very resilient and very flexible (laughs) because we know that we don’t want to disappoint anyone, whether ourselves, our peers, our parents, or even our teachers. Though I may not be close to all of them (which is true), I’ve always seen my batch as capable individuals who are ready to face and soar to greater heights and a group of people who genuinely care for each other. 

 This BEC encounter was a closure to everything I have gone through in Senior High School. Like the whole write-up I made, I go back and reminisce all the memories and achievements that have brought me to the Jillian I am today and as a graduating student. If there was an important life lesson that I’ve learned this school year, it was to never give up. For one, I’ve experienced one of the lowest points in my life two years ago, and I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t rise up from my lowest moments.

This pandemic has also brought so many challenges to us and it was not an easy journey. However, like every day we wake up, it is another chance and grace given by God. We shouldn’t waste it by constantly complaining.  We should use it to become better versions of ourselves each day.  

To close, I would like to pick up one of the statements of Bishop Villegas in the video played during the BEC encounter. “We learn the greatest life lessons not when we are at the top, but when we are at the bottom when we are most vulnerable and lost. Purity of heart can show us these lessons.” It’s not over when we are at the bottom, because we are always given a chance to rise up and learn from our most vulnerable moments. This last BEC encounter is not the end of a journey, but the start of something greater. 

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     The whole session closed with the year-end message of the Principal emphasizing and encouraging everyone to look into our priorities through a story about a professor filling a jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand. Indeed, the very Mystery of the Ascension is not about the Lord leaving, but about teaching us to prioritize heaven.