I finished my elementary (1985) and secondary education (1989) education in Saint Rose of Lima School, a Dominican school in Bacolod City, Philippines. Those years I spent at Saint Rose was among the memorable years of my life. Through this article, I would like to pay tribute to my Alma Mater, the institution which taught me the values I cherish to this day. First, let me introduce my highschool version – Maria Jose Cecilia Escalante Batapa. I used this name from my baptismal certificate because my parents had a hard time finding my birth certificate. It was only in law school that I searched for my birth certificate and found it in Silay City, Negros Occidental – and there my name was simply Jocelle.
My high school years were never that easy. Having my lost my mother due to complications after child birth. She was only 39, and unfortunately, I was only 9. She never saw me graduate even from elementary. But I know she is always watching over me. Saint Rose was her choice of school for me. When I was six, she fought very hard to get me to Grade 1, even when I was apparently underage. She refused to enrol me in kindergarten because I will turn seven by December. Seven year olds should be in first grade. So the school had to administer examinations for me, which I all aced. Finally, they agreed to admit me in the first grade but under Section B. Eventually, upon my mother’s insistence and my performance, the school made me a “visitor” in Section A with one other classmate for specific subjects. The one I can clearly remember was “Araling Panlipunan” or Social Studies.
In first grade, I remember being asked by the Dominican sister, our class adviser, to teach my classmates, when she needs to step out. I remember holding her long stick very open and tapping it on the blackboard as I teach my classmates. I may have not been nervous that time but I think the exercise distorted my psyche, pushed me to grow faster. I remember my mother also enrolled me in piano lessons, which I found really difficult. Early in life, I already new I had no musical talent. But I remember to this day how my piano teacher asked me to draw the cover page of our recital programme – so there I knew I had artistic abilities.
I was in third grade when my mother died, so the following years where a nightmare for me. I remember going to school without taking a bath, with messy clothes and hair, and eventually getting poor grades. I started to think academic honors where simply a burden. When I graduated from elementary, I was in the top ten of class but I reallt did not care much. All I was thinking was the expenses of going to school and having to burden my father who was left to tend to five small children. Those were really difficult years but I really wanted to go to college, and eventually in high school, I really wished to become a lawyer. In this yearbook, there is already a mention of “Atty. J. Batapa.” beside my name – proof that the legal profession is a childhood dream.
High school was much better. There were only a few of us in the classroom compared to elementary so I got the chance to assume more leadership roles which I liked very much. These roles gave me an opportunity to execute my ideas. I continued to be less concerned about academics and more interested about extra-curricular activities. I realized how small my school was compared to the other schools in Bacolod, but still I eagerly competed in most inter-school activities. I enjoyed my high school years because of my classmates and most of all, my school. It was a large playground of my growing years – where I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, I got so angry or depressed, or excited, or scared, or challenged – a mixture of all sorts of feelings that really made me stronger and more prepared for the years to come.
Our high school year book is called THE ROSEBUD. The one thing I realized now is that I wrote so many articles inside the yearbook – so typical of me to always assume all the roles I can, because no one would or because I really want to. Now reading my works, I am amazed at how my 15 year-old (eventually 16-year old) mind worked. I will let those articles explain themselves now.
I also wrote many captions and fillers here and there. I feel a bit terrible to realize that no one seemed to have helped me put in some writeups or maybe no one volunteered so I stepped in. Quite amusing to remember now.
Here are some more important images I wish to highlight.
I am so happy today that my som Emmanuel also recently finished his Grade 10 at my Alma Mater.
Life has come full circle, as I always say when things in the present remind me of the past. I offer this digital copy of THE ROSEBUD 1989 to my fellow STROLSIANS. Just please CLICK on the “rosebud” below. Kindly leave a comment just to let me know you checked out the yearbook or downloaded it. Thanks.