happy 15th, batchmates! :)

High School Grad

It’s been fifteen years since I graduated from high school. Yes it’s been that long. Back then, I was part of a group of kids who were deemed more mature than the average high school graduate. Mostly because we graduated from the Philippine Science High School, and for four years, we were treated like no ordinary high school students. You’d think it would have applied just to our intellect. But studying in that place involved your emotions as well.

It wasn’t really the huge workload. Sure we had around double or triple the academic expectations of a regular high school student. But it came with the territory, and passing the entrance exams and interview more or less meant you were ready for it, and on somewhat equal terms, that you wanted it. Also, you wouldn’t have qualified if it weren’t for your grades in elementary, which probably required you to work your little butt off to achieve. Pisay, however which way you look at it, was really just a collection of nerds. Although you wouldn’t necessarily come to that conclusion once you really got to see and know the people.

After all, you’d find people involving themselves with different extra-curricular activities. There were a lot of young actors, writers, artists, rockers, jocks and politicians around. Almost everyone was busy doing one thing or another. And yet they all still found it in themselves to read their books, do their homework, and show up to class everyday. Of course there were some days that you’d go and miss one class (or maybe even two). You would sometimes find it easier to hang out with your friends, play ball on the court, or jam with your band than to do the social science assignment or read the biology text. But in the end, you’d still always get back to whatever it was that you had to do for you to pass your subjects.

You would have found a lot of people in all kinds of relationships and groups: boy/girlfriends, barkadas, clubs, teams, bands, casts, officers, and whatever else type of relationship or group that you could find. True, you could have gotten by as a loner. But Pisay was high school, and in high school, you learned how to make friends. Friends who shared the same interest. Friends who would play guitar while you sang along. Friends who would listen to you while you told them another one of your stories. And most importantly, friends who would let you cry on their shoulder, just like you’d let them cry on yours. You learned more than just how to make friends. You learned how to strengthen your relationships, and make them last. And in the end, that was one of the important things that got you through high school.

Fifteen years ago, I stood on the stage of our gymnasium with my diploma, which represented all the studying that I had done for 4 long years, clutched in one hand and my yearbook, which represented the wonderful group of people that I had come to know as friends during those 4 short years, in the other. Both those things represented what I had achieved at that point in time, and it would help me get through the new challenges that would face me in college, and more importantly, for the rest of my life.

So I guess it’s not surprising that most of the friends I have right now, I’ve had ever since high school. We may have grown older, but the fact remains — we’re still the same kids sitting in the front lobby, singing E-heads songs, and waiting for the dismissal bell to ring…

Happy 15th graduation anniversary Pisay 96! :)

~ Jonas Don Castelo, MD
Pisay Batch 1996

Originally posted on FB.