MEMBERS of the last graduating batch of the UST Grade School pooled their savings of P25, 000 and donated them for the grand Quadricentennial celebrations of UST.

But unlike others who simply handed over their donations, posed for the cameras, then left, the group—accompanied by the principal, the regent, and the student council adviser—also entertained Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. with a unique turnover presentation of poetry and a song-and-dance number at the Rector’s office on the morning of January 21.

Upon knowing that the Rector wanted to meet them personally, the kids rushed a simple poem, addressed to De la Rosa, which they used as an introduction for the turnover, which read: “Ito ay bunga ng aming adhikain/Na kami’y maging bahagi/Sa paghahanda sa nalalapit na pagbubunyi/Ng ating pamantasang naging haligi at saksi/Sa paglinang ng mga bayani at ng mabuting ugali.”

Delighted, Father Rector told the group to come back for that afternoon’s press conference, where they would have the chance to present their donation along with other big-shot patrons of the UST’s Quadricentennial.

According to Mary Jane Ramirez, UST Grade School student council adviser, the idea of giving a share for UST’s 400th year came during the meeting of the student council officers, who sat down to brainstorm for their major project, which, incidentally, would become their swan song as they bid adieu to the University’s unit for primary education.

Student council president Nina Jessica Pasno admitted that she was sad about being one of the last “babies” of the University, but added that she and the other students took it as a challenge to prove that their batch could uphold the quality rearing that the Grade School has provided for many years.

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The challenge would come with good results. Instead of mere solicitation for cash, the student council, with the help of other Grade School organizations, called for in-kind donations—such as old but barely used clothes and toys, saucers and teacups, and white elephant figurines—from students, faculty members, and student teachers in November last year.

These products were then sold at a small “garage” sale outside the Education building that ran from December 15 to the first week of January. The items’ prices ranged from P2 to P50, which were patronized by the “grade schoolers” and their parents, high school and college students, janitors, and security guards.

The students’ total sale amounted to P5, 000, but their principal, Assoc. Prof. Nenita Caralipio, who was “so happy about it”, chipped in an additional P20, 000 from her own pocket before the donation was given to the Rector.

In a response letter to the Varsitarian, De la Rosa said that he “felt greatly humbled by their example of generosity,” adding that he is “happy that our elementary students have acquired, this early, a sense of belong to the University and a deep sense of gratitude.”

The amount that these children offered may have not been much to be written in a huge cardboard cheque, but it goes to show that it doesn’t take three wise men or a business magnate to bear gifts that come from the heart. In the simplest way, they have shown the Thomasian generosity that spills over different sectors, not only in the academe, but also in the nation and the Church. With this early initiative at hand, perhaps it is safe to say that these kids would grow up not only as thinking individuals, but as generous ones, like many Thomasian alumni who have become the University’s gifts to the world.

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