Just a couple of hours ago, my Alma Mater presented me, in absentia, on the occasion of our school’s Diamond Jubilee, a token of recognition, as one of several “distinguished alumni who made significant contributions in specific advocacies or involvement making their local or international community a better place to live in.”

It’s sort of a bitter-sweet honor.

You see, I didn’t attend my high school graduation eons ago.

Yes, it was intentional.

It was my personal strike (that including making an unexpected and impromptu speech at our JS prom that got some of the nuns and teachers to walk out) against being snubbed out of the honor roll – despite deserving a space way up there, and after being the batch Valedictorian from nursery to elementary.

I guess, me growing into the outspoken headstrong batch activist, not to mention my (then considered risqué) preference for clothing (you know shorts, spaghetti straps and mini-skirts, aviator shades, my geometric hairdo and single dangling earring), was enough to make the nuns and probably some teachers unnerved in our town’s premiere ultra conservative all-girl’s Catholic school.

It all sounds so silly now… doesn’t it? 

Having to tell this story even to folks close to me, sort of makes me feel stupid.

Though come to think of it, from the vantage point of a teenager going through that, it was quite devastating and somehow crippled my self-belief for some time.

It also made me change my priorities.  So I slacked during college (well, at least, my version of slacking).  I didn’t want to be driven by the need to excel anymore.  I just wanted to get by – which was a welcome respite after 11 years of pressuring myself.

Still, as I look back at all that, I realize that the old wound does not exist anymore.

And despite my misgivings in my younger years with what happened back then, I know now and for certain that my Alma Mater helped mould me into the person that I am today –

A person who believes that I have something worthy to contribute to the world. 

It might just be a simple, honor, but it’s one that means a lot, nonetheless.

It’s wonderful to be finally recognized.

… and it feels like I have “properly” graduated from high school today.



PS.  To my Tito Larry up there in heaven, I’m sure you’re smiling right now.







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