Greetings, Batch 2021! It’s finally over, high school that is. While your final year may have been spent apart, you have spent your early life together. Growing together, crying together, being together. There’s nothing that can take that away from you. That is something special, something that is unique to each and every one of you. A good portion of your batch has been together for over a decade-- it may seem like a very long time on the surface, but we’re sure it also feels as though time went by in a snap.
We look up to your batch as one of the most hardworking groups of people we know. Clearly, nothing that you do is ever done half-heartedly whether it be minor groupworks or huge events like the English Playfest. The sincerity that each one puts in whatever task at hand is so evident, yet you all never forget to cheer each other on while still giving your full attention to your work. Although we write this token of appreciation to our Ates and Kuyas as outsiders, your love for one another and for what you do inspires us in more ways than you can imagine.
A Wild Ride
This article is a tribute to the graduating Batch of 2021. We have accepted the great honor of commemorating a once in a lifetime experience for them. However, to get to this point, the Batch of 2021 has gone through a lot. Through academic hurdles and emotional pangs, they have been there for each other, building each other up in Christ. They have worked and labored to achieve something greater than themselves, something that leaves a lasting legacy. First and foremost, we would like to highlight the fondest memories of the Batch of 2021.
A common motif throughout the responses was the constant role challenge played in motivating and uniting their batch. From playfests to group projects, the challenge of delivering above and beyond brought them together. A student recollects, “One of the most fulfilling moments, however, was our Grade 10 play. We went through a lot to prepare and push through with that play. Even though we didn’t get to record any of it, our finale song will forever be in my memories”. That’s just it, challenges create memories. They create sabog moments, intimate moments, solemn moments. They create an environment for growth, not just in capability, but in character.
The Batch of 2021 have always faced challenges as a batch. Another student accounts, “I have a love-hate relationship with the concept of group work, but I’ve made countless friends because of it so the pros easily outweigh the cons everytime. I suppose you could call that the highlight of my high school life. There’s just something hilarious about accidentally meeting your groupmate in your Google Doc at 3 AM”. As they grew together, work no longer seemed as strenuous, hardship no longer seemed lonely. They could push through, because they were pushing through with each other.
However, apart from the schoolwork aspect, many of the Batch 2021 students expressed that their favorite part about high school was simply being around their batchmates. As one of them puts it, “I got to spend my time with, whether they are my classmates, schoolmates, or best friends. I cherished every moment with them because they helped me grow into the person I am today, supported me through my ups and downs, and they were there whenever I needed them to be.”
High school is the time where you can make life-long friendships. If there were any reservations to that truth, the Batch of 2021 should persuade you otherwise. Simple things like sitting and talking by the stairs really made an impact on some of them. Others really cherished those long school days and the early dinners afterwards. Even others enjoyed the bonding time they would spend going to malls, playing in the arcade, and doing homework.
The Batch of 2021 was also a conducive environment for familiarity. New students would feel welcomed and invited. Old students going through troubles would feel assured in their acceptance. While others took time to find people accepting of their eccentricities, the batch environment was one of constructive criticism and fellowship.
The relationship they have as a batch had become so close-knit that it wasn’t limited to just being classmates anymore. One student recalls that during late nights at school, “We would play around, sing along to a bunch of "jeje" songs, and eat early dinner together. If everyone has their gate pass, we would go to Robinsons to play in the arcade and eat a second dinner.” These may look like mere cheap thrills, but even in these sabaw moments, the fact that they were together made everything come together beautifully.
Reaching New Heights
School can sometimes feel like a constant game of one-upmanship, with each individual clawing at a new thing to brag about. This was not what school was like for the Batch of 2021. Their constant support for one another overflows into their individual achievements.
An individual strived for academic excellence by aiming for the Achievers’ Circle. This was not an easy feat, and not one without sacrifice. “When it came to the announcement of the Achievers’ Circle, I was nervous of course… I think I closed my eyes during that time and when the announcer was about to speak, I braced for what was to come. At last my name was called and tears were flowing out of my eyes. My batch was cheering me on”.
Deeper appreciation for each other was found in the Grade 10 retreat. A student recounts, “Most of the batch by then had known each other for five to as much as thirteen years and it was like a culmination of all the moments we have spent with each other”. Another student wrote about the retreat, “What's really special is that when there was free time between the activities (and there were a lot), students could have a one on one and talk with each other. I think this helped me to be able to actually appreciate people in my batch who I wasn't able to ever really talk to before”.
One student also notes that, “the highlight would be encountering problems with them. This made us closer and we learned something from it as a batch.” Their disagreements and shortcomings did not stop them from loving and respecting each other. All of this just goes to show that not only do they happily support one another, but that they’re open to learning together and growing together.
Challenges they faced were overcome by their collective fellowship, hard work, appreciation, and maturity.
With change comes fear, and things are surely changing. The Batch of 2021 was afraid of one thing in particular, and that is losing all the memories and connections they have cultivated over their life. At the back of their minds, there is that slowly encroaching fear of losing contact with their batchmates. “It seems scary that I won't get to see the same people every day after a decade of being together,” one student expressed.
One person shared a resigned yet hopeful thought about the future. “I know that once we graduate, I will likely lose contact with more than half of my batch mates, but I have already accepted that fact. It makes me somewhat sad, but at the same time I know it is inevitable. We will all move on and continue to strive towards our dreams, and I only hope that each of us manage to find true happiness and contentment along the way”.
As time continues and does not stop, a lot of us are afraid of how time can change people. How people can become different from our own understanding. We can be afraid to leave what we’ve built, apprehensive of peeking over the walls we’ve built. Yet, time does not stop. The world keeps spinning.
What The Future Holds
The fog of the future is something that strips people of their control. It is something so intangible yet suffocating. Despite this, hope rests in the future. One person shares their hopes for the future. “As someone who has seen the efforts of all the students in our batch, I highly believe that everyone will be successful someday. One of my hopes would be for us to achieve our goals and dreams in life. I hope that we will meet someday as engineers, CPAs, doctors, or whatever career that we want to pursue in the next chapter of our life.”
Others expressed their hope to remain in contact with their friends. They hoped that their classmates would remain true to their morals and values. They hoped that their friends would find contentment and joy in life. They hoped for togetherness and a renewed sense of unity. Looking back at their tight bond, ons student says that, “I hope we'd still be able to laugh like we do right now, even if it's probably going to be five, ten, or even fifteen years into the future.”
Their dreams lie in the future, and while that fog may be so blinding, the sight of their collective hope can shine a light in the now. That’s just it, they are a batch. They are a tight-knit group of friends that have supported each other over the years. Why should this stop now? “I think we're all generally worried for our future and the uncertainty that comes with it. Many of us are unsure of what to pursue in college, including me. However, it's a lot less scary to face the future knowing I have my batchmates with me to go through it,” one person reassuringly writes.
A Ten-Fold Thank You
The gratitude the Batch of 2021 shares for each other can be seen in the messages they have written to their batchmates. This extended paragraph will be a compilation of their heart warming and reassuring messages:
“hey guys :]
This is it! We’re graduating! We’ve been together for many years and all I could say is that our efforts and sacrifices are starting to get paid off and we’re now moving to our new chapter.
Thank you all, for being the brothers and sisters I never had. Though there were rough patches and disagreements and arguments, thank you for never leaving anyone behind. Thank you for encouraging me to give my best and learn to ask for help because you would always be willing.
Thank you for all the memories and lessons we’ve shared as a batch. I will treasure all of those, as well as all of you.
Thank you na kahit na di tayo in the same friend group for accepting me with open arms to hang around you and have lots of fun while doing it. A part of my heart will always be with you and the amazing friendships we've formed together. I pray that God will lead your lives to His plan for them, and that you'll learn to trust Him in everything that you do.
Thank you for making my high school a lot better. Thank you for all the memories and lessons we’ve shared as a batch. I will treasure all of those, as well as all of you.
Thank you, with every fiber of my being. You have done a lot for me, and I can only hope that I returned the favour even if only by a little.
I will always be here for you, no matter how great the distance may be between us all. I will also never forget you, for you all have a special place in my heart. I can't wait to reunite with you again in the future!
I love and appreciate you guys more than words can ever describe. Thank you so much for all these years!
Thank you actually for being people that I could talk to or hang around during the school years, I'm still trying to improve with speaking even though I should probably know better how to talk to people I've known for years haha.
I think we're all feeling a sense of fear about our futures, but I hope that whenever you guys start to feel that, you'll remember that the batch is still there for you. More importantly, I hope you guys remember that we've all worked really really hard until now. If we continue doing that, then God will take care of the rest.
I just wanna encourage everyone this year because it's been super difficult with the pandemic and everything, and it'll be difficult still for the years to come, but I know everyone can make it through because you're all the strongest and hard-working people I know. All of y’all have bright futures ahead of you, I don't have a lot to say still, but I'll be rooting for you!
I hope you know that it's okay to not have everything figured out. Take it one step at a time.
Thank you for making me feel welcome. I wish everyone the best. I love you all.
I love you guys so so much ❤️❤️”
We may not be in the same school anymore, but I will always be here for all of you. Let's remember to work hard and strive for excellence in all that we do for His glory.
Sama-sama nating tuparin ang ating mga pangarap at gamitin ang ating mga talento para sa kabutihan ng lahat ❤️.
May you also continue to taste and see the goodness of God in your life all the time!
Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.
To all my batchmates, thank you for the last 12 years in ICS. Thank you all for the highs and lows. Thank you all for the laughs and dramas. Thank you all for making this school such a wonderful place to be in. No matter where we all go, I could say with certainty that this batch will always have a special place in my heart and I'm just lucky to be part of it.”
Message from the Head Owls
Once again, congratulations on getting through your high school journey! In spite of all the ups and downs, you’ve grown so much as individuals and as a batch as the years flew by, so give yourselves a pat on the back! You’ve all fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith, and that’s something to be extremely proud of.
Now, you’re all off to college. It sounds bittersweet, doesn’t it? Although the five of us aren’t in your shoes yet, we understand that while it may be exciting to jump headfirst into a new chapter of your life, it could also feel a little unfortunate to be surrounded by different people and a different environment than what you’re used to. A lot of you expressed that your biggest concern about graduating from high school is the possibility of losing contact with the batchmates you love so dearly. However, if we may put it bluntly, we doubt that’s ever going to happen. Even though we are two batches below you, we can easily say that the relationship that your batch has goes deeper than just classmates or friendship and onto family. We’re sure that you’ll still be walking hand-in-hand even until you’re old and gray.
Your batch has inspired the lower batches so greatly. Quite frankly, we don’t know what ICS is going to be like without all of you. Your leadership, hard work, kindness, supportiveness, and the like has impacted so many younger students in ways that you cannot even imagine, and it is our hope that you would all continue to impact people in your new schools and environments. In your own unique ways, continue to shine for God’s glory in all that you do, big or small. We’re positive that you all will, actually!
This is it. You’re graduating! Wherever the rollercoaster of life leads you to, just know that we’re rooting for you. Thank you so much, Ates and Kuyas, for simply being you!
A hoot of love,
Audree, Billie, Cassy, CV, and Luke