When Sr. Mary Thomas Prado, OSB, the current president of St. Scho said that the school was our second home, she wasn’t kidding. I loved my school not just because of my classmates but because of the sense of security it gave me. I loved going to school at 6:30am, walking through the empty hallways watching the morning sun slowly fill the rooms with light.
The corridors echoed the peace that filled my heart each morning. From the 3rd floor, you’d hear one of the ‘manongs’ whistling as he mops the floor and empty the trash from each classroom. I’d rush off to meet him and help out. At that time, I knew each of them by name. Oh yes, I did help clean the school… sometimes.
Everything was predictably on schedule.If you come at around 6:10, you’d be treated to several songs sung by the sisters in the chapel during the morning mass. At that time, I went to church every day not to plead for something or seek intercession for anything. I went to greet my God a wonderful morning and thanked Him for another day alive. I’d listen to the songs the nuns would sing and sometimes, I’d sing with them.
The birds would often hide themselves among the grass in the field at 6:30am. At 6:45 the classroom doors would open and be cleaned. By 7:10 the first of my few batchmates and classmates would arrive. My classmate, Marizen Tadiar, would sit herself in one corner reviewing the previous day’s lessons. We’d discuss assignments and answers. We didn’t just “copy” answers, we’d talk about it and how it came to be.
By 7:30 half of the other classrooms would be filled up and I would be visiting them one by one to greet my friends good morning. It felt good to share the joy of being alive. At 7:40 Geeta Dowlani would be in class and I’d drop by asking what’s for lunch. Usually it’s her chili – cheese sandwich. She makes the BEST spicy cheese sandwich I ever tasted.
These memories and more came to me as I walked along the familiar halls on a Sunday afternoon, a couple of hours before the homecoming program started. A lot has changed – new buildings, new halls, but the feeling of safety and belongingness still lingered. Even the familiar squeals of delight and laughter that filled Pergola (Gate 1), made one feel that so much time has passed and yet there were still familiar sights and sounds one could look forward to.
We came back and found not just another home, but another family.