Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno gave a powerful commencement speech at the Ateneo de Manila 2017 graduation

My son graduated today from Ateneo. He is the last of my kids to do so.

I attended the Baccalaureate Mass this morning. Unlike the past graduations of my kids, the program for the Baccalaureate already includes the Commencement Address. In past graduations I attended, two different commencement speakers spoke on the 2 graduation days.

Batch 2017’s Commencement Speaker was Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, an Atenean herself. In his introductory remarks, Ateneo President Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J. told us that Chief Justice Sereno was his classmate in Philo 103.

Chief Justice Sereno said that she already had a prepared speech that, in her words, was “more lighthearted and general”. But with martial law being declared in Mindanao, she discarded that speech and made this one. I am glad she did. It was powerful, moving, and inspiring!

SC CJ Sereno

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Dear fresh college graduates, your work attitude matters more to employers

Let me start this post with a true story.

One of the biggest mistakes I have made in my working life was to approve the hiring of someone who came from one of the top 3 desired schools by employers and who graduated Cum Laude. One red flag during the interview which I noticed (but mistakenly ignored) was the fact that this person kept asking what the salary would be.  Rather than be mindful of possible implications of that kind of work attitude, I went ahead and recommended the person for hiring, thinking that grades reflected a higher level of intelligence that would compensate for a self-interest attitude.

WRONG!!! Not only was the person totally wrong for the job required but I found myself either re-doing or completing tasks assigned. What my instincts told me about a self-interest attitude became even more evident as time went on. I was actually relieved when the person eventually resigned.

What does that story have to do with you, my dear college graduates? There used to be a saying: “It’s one thing to GET a job; it’s another thing to be able to KEEP it“. But if I were to go by a recent Jobstreet.com survey, you probably won’t even get hired, in the first place, unless you bear the right kind of work attitude that employers are looking for.

A total of 550 companies that used Jobstreet.com to select interviewees submitted their responses to a survey. Read carefully what the survey reveals.

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Educators are now integrating tech in the curriculum

In a world where technology has become an integral part of one’s life, the academe is also searching and sharing ways to enhance learning. I spent a late afternoon in Xavier School to be part of the get-together of tech integrators from different schools who came together to share how different apps they use are integrated with the subject matter they teach.

Welcome sign

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Some Philippine schools shift school opening to August

 

Who would ever have imagined it! My whole life, school always began in June and ended in March. But starting 2014, some schools will be shifting academic calendar by beginning in August and ending in May.

The first to announce the change is the University of the Philippines, which will implement the new academic calendar with the 2014-15 school year in the following constituent units: UP Manila, UP Los Baños, UP Baguio, UP Visayas (all campuses: Iloilo, Miag-ao, and Tacloban), UP Open University, and UP Cebu, according to this Rappler article. But did you notice the list still hasn’t included UP Diliman (UPD)? It appears more consultation is needed with UPD’s stakeholders, which they will be doing in the coming weeks.

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“Not in Our School” anti-bullying campaign launches

Is your kid reluctant to go to school every day? Does he/she feign illness at times?

Do you find missing school stuff, broken pencils or damaged school items?

Does your child come home always hungry or always asking you for more pocket money?

Watch out because your child might be the victim of bullying in school.

I was always told, in my younger days: “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words will never hurt me”. Never has a cliche been so wrong because spiteful words CAN hurt. Glaring looks can hurt. Destruction of one’s property can hurt. A person’s self-esteem can be impaired for life.

Bullying has long existed but I think it has gotten worse, judging from the growing number of bullying-related suicides whose victims are growing younger and younger. What makes matters worse, I think, is the almost dismissive, non-serious attention given to reported bullying incidents. Guidance counselors in schools don’t seem trained to handle these kinds of situations.

“Boys will be boys” (Bullying is NOT normal boys’ play)

“Just tell your child to avoid the bully” (You can’t avoid a bully who chooses to come up to you even if you try to stay away)

“Don’t worry. I will speak with him/her (the bully)” (Most times this strategy doesn’t really resolve the issue and the bullying sometimes gets even worse.)

Bullying is a reflection, I think, of the ills of society. The bully himself is a victim. Oftentimes, he is bullied at home and his only outlet is to turn into one himself with hapless victims in school. But of course, the real victims are the bullied children. Oftentimes, they choose to keep this to themselves, ashamed to let others know they are being subjected to abuse and harassment daily in school. Parents are oftentimes the last to know. And in some cases, the only time they find out is when their child takes the ultimate escape from the torture – suicide.

Well, I am finally happy that bullying in schools is getting its well-deserved attention with an anti-bullying campaign that is about to go nationwide and I hope it is eventually going to be nipped for good.

“Bully” the Movie

The Jesuit Basic Education Commission (JBEC) in cooperation with Solar Entertainment, is bringing in an acclaimed documentary film “Bully” to the Philippines. The film features actual experiences of bully victims in high schools in Georgia, Iowa, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Two of the boys featured, Tyler Long and Ty Smalley), committed suicide after enduring taunts and physical assault.

Alex, one of the 5 bullied kids in the movie

What looks like an innocent bus ride became a torturous experience for Alex

A by-invitation premiere of “Bully” will happen at Robinsons Galleria Cinema 4 on November 13, 2012 at 6:30pm. That will be followed by a theatrical run, also in November, through several Saturday block screenings in Robinsons Galleria for schools that want to show the film for their communities. Campus screenings can also be arranged for a minimal fee. Teachers and parents will be provided with discussion guides to properly process the movie’s message.

Directed by Sundance and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, Bully documents the real stories of 5 bullied kids and their families. Filmed over the course of schoolyears 2009/2010, Bully shows us the painful experiences of bullied American kids, revealing problems that cross geographical, racial, ethnic and economic borders. The movie also shows how the affected parents began a growing movement to change how incidents of bullying are handled in their schools, communities and society as a whole.

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Take online free classes with Ivy League universities!

I never imagined it would come to this but it brings me such delight to find out that the university where I earned my MBA degree, University of Pennsylvania, is one of several leading Ivy League schools in the U.S. that signed up with Coursera, a new venture that offers online classes for free. Yes…FREE!

 

So far, here is the list of top universities signed up with Coursera. Imagine, you can take a course from, let’s say, Stanford University, then take another course with John Hopkins or University of Michigan.

And here are the general course topics. Under each of these general categories are specific classes you can choose to take.

In their About Us page, the Coursera team describes themselves this way:

We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

The methodology being employed by Coursera is adapted to today’s busy lifestyle. Unlike a classroom approach where you need to be physically away from your work and devote time to class work, the Coursera approach, which by the way, is developed and taught by world-class professors, allows you to learn at your own pace, taking into consideration that you can only study in bits of time. The lessons are designed in such a way that you can read and reread till you master the course material. Interactive exercises will test your knowledge as well as reinforce concepts. And, you can monitor your own progress so you know exactly when you are considered to have mastered the subject.

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