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ICS PASKUHAN: The Untold Story

The ICS high school body officially ended the first semester with a celebration of batches, talents, and school pride. “ICS Paskuhan” is the name of the Christmas event held by the Council of Stewards after Sambang Umaga, and while the occasion successfully gave us many simple yet memorable moments, the reality is that getting to this point was a long journey. By “long,” I mean absolutely tiring, confusing, arguably aggravating but ultimately worth it. Why? Well, to know that, we have to start from the beginning.

Summer of 2022 is when it all began. The current council heads, Audree Fedillaga, Elijah Fernandez, Luke Chan, Yehna Kim, Iris Ang, and myself were discussing our plans for the school year. This involved looking back at past council plans and whatnot, but we wanted to bring something new to the table because we did not want to repeat the same party tricks that past administrations did. Weirdly enough, Harry Potter suddenly became the topic of conversation.

We were inspired by the Yule Ball that happens in the fourth book, a formal dance that takes place during winter. The term “yule” is an Old English term for Christmas or Christmas season, so we decided to push for an event entitled “Yule Night.” It was supposed to be a casual version of High School Night that imitated the nature of pre-pandemic CL Nights. Batches would come in, bringing their assigned food, and the entire high school would have a cozy potluck together as a community. There would be games, a talent show, and points to be won for batches to gain an early advantage for intrams.

Under the assumption that this would be simple to pull off considering it has somewhat happened before through CL, we focused on other endeavors when the school year started. These endeavors presented their own complications, and after thorough discussions, they were pushed back due to wrong timing. As a result, Yule Night became the central focus of the council. We were genuinely having a blast thinking through the details—slumber party? Definitely. Pillows and blankets in Audi B? BEST idea ever. Pursuing excellence in the night? Yeah, you won’t get this one but it’s an inside joke, and it’s perfect.

Unfortunately, ambition doesn’t always equal success. Our ideas were immediately shot down by the reality in front of us.

The event couldn’t take place at night. Students getting dismissed past five would cause trouble for the parents. The Coronavirus was still out and about too, so staying late in school brought about concerns and uncertainties.

We couldn’t have a slumber party. The event could only take place after Sambang Umaga, which meant students were required to wear a uniform or something formal. All the chairs in the auditorium couldn’t be put away easily just so that we could put pillows and blankets. The event taking place in the morning basically ruined the entire idea anyway because the theme would not make any sense.

A potluck couldn’t be done. It presented a logistical nightmare, eating in Audi B wasn’t allowed, and once again, the Coronavirus existed, so how could we guarantee it would be safe?

Just to add to the list of mounting problems, the event couldn’t be long either because the teachers would be unavailable after lunch time. Suddenly, having games, a talent show, devotions, and other activities was not only unrealistic but impossible given the fact that we needed to allocate time for batches and classes to have their own respective parties.

What exacerbated the situation was how these issues were not brought up until late October to mid-November. Time was running out to get everything approved in time for the council to officially announce the event and open sign-ups for the talent show. Countless meetings, arriving late to classes for the sake of comments and confirmations, revisions that always had to be revised again, it didn’t matter what was happening because nothing seemed to be enough. Something was always amiss. Something was always wrong. Something was always not allowed.

The political practice of compromise is what helped us progress. We couldn’t have the event at night? That’s okay, the sleepover theme could be scratched out. We could just have a regular Christmas party. We couldn’t do a potluck? Well, if batches needed time to celebrate by themselves, then it would be better if they got food for themselves as well. We couldn’t use too much time because we barely had any? Barely anybody was aware of the talent show, so we could move it next semester. A club showcase was good enough.

When the event was finally approved early December, it felt like a Christmas miracle.

The difficulties were felt by all involved in the project, just to different degrees. It was these very difficulties, however, that made us step back and reevaluate ourselves. What we had to understand was that it wasn't about the world being against us; after all, this is rarely the case because this line of thinking is more of a manifestation of rationalization and denial. We realized where the council was falling short, and so we were able to plan out how to improve in future projects. The realizations we had are what inspired the very first State of the Stewards Address (SOSA), something that allowed us to look back on the what had transpired, look forward to where the future was heading, and most importantly, relay these accounts to the people who our efforts are for: the high school body.

In the end, you know how things turned out. We had a blast, even if it was not as explosive as we initially intended it to be. Games were played, performances by clubs like Psalm Fortissimo and Hiraya entertained, and each batch was able to have one last bonding together before the Christmas break. The fifth floor literally and figuratively had balloons bursting as students laughed and cheered.

Looking back, everything played out like a Christmas story. We were the characters who wished for something grand, only to find out that celebration isn’t all about going big. It’s about connecting with one another, lifting up each other’s talents, and staying humble because the year has brought both triumphs and defeats. As we, the student body, celebrate the holiday season with our families, let us remember that what counts is the intimate relationships we treasure and how we continue improving ourselves year after year.

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