“If you want a rose, you must respect the thorn.” This quote stated by Nicole Allen has been my driving principle since I came to realize the paradoxical beauty of this world. It is undeniable that life could be tough and harsh. Nevertheless, at times life could be lovely and charming, and I believe God enabled me to encounter this goodness of life when He himself gave me the chance to experience life.
July 28, 2006, the day I am grateful the most, is the day I was born the second daughter of my family and given the name, Armee. I was given life by my mother, Melany, and my father, Arlan. After my youngest sister was born, it was concluded that my family is blessed to have four lovely daughters; however, these four were reduced to three as my youngest sister, now named Annape, was given by my parents to one of our neighbors. I was not able to know this saddening part of my family not until I was a kindergarten pupil. Disheartening may it be yet I tried to understand the reason for my parents, and that is poverty. Since then, I realized the need of going out of poverty and helping my parents get rid of it.
As a young child, I could hear people in our neighborhood or even at school saying that I am an intelligent, talented, and confident child. Oftentimes, I could see myself as the girl they described. At a young age, I was already exposed to several talent and academic competitions both inside and outside the school. I was the youngest in our class when I was in kindergarten school, yet I was the one who delivered the ‘welcome address’ during our graduation ceremony in Kindergarten. My mother is very supportive and talented in every way and I owe her all my accomplishments as a child. I am also one of the most valued learners in my elementary school. During my elementary years, I remembered having joined a spelling bee contest, Metrobank-MTAP challenge, Math super quiz bee contest, ASEAN poster-making contest, folk dance competition, Science quiz bowl, and many other academic and non-academic competitions. At times, I can win the competitions I joined but I share all the credits with my coaches which are my hardworking elementary teachers.
I was also able to join various extracurricular clubs and organizations like Girl Scouts, Supreme Pupil Government, Youth for Environment in Schools-Organization (YES-O), and many others. I was also blessed to have a good circle of friends in school. Most of the time, I seek my mother’s advice regarding my choice of friends. Fortunately, the friends I had in elementary school are still my friends until now, and I firmly believe that these companions made my grade school colorful and worth-remembering.
Moreover, alongside my accomplishments and gaiety in school, I was faced with a devastating chunk of my life. One early morning, I was awoken by the sound of sobs. When I tried to get up and see who was making the noise, I saw my mother talking with someone on the phone while crying. I slowly lied back to the bed and attentively listened to their conversation. To my surprise, I heard my mother say my father is having an affair with another woman. This was unbelievable news for me but this answered my family’s long time question for we have been wondering what had happened to him since it was almost 6 months of not hearing from him. I was relieved to have received a disclosure about him but it was the most painful portion of my life. I grew up as my father’s daughter and I consider myself a “papa’s girl”. Every accomplishment and happiness is shared with him. My father was my ultimate motivator and most of the time, he was my sympathizer but not that time, not in the most excruciating moment of my life for it was him, my father’s abandonment left a deep scar in my life and in my family.
Since then, my family has never been the same. I, myself, became a more mature and understanding daughter and sister. My family was separated when I was in the fourth grade and when I was in the sixth grade, I was lucky to have been chosen by the mission station priests of our church to become one of their scholars. When I became a mission station scholar, I was actively involved in different church activities. I was a member of the choir, but then I shifted to being one of the knights of the altar. I always enjoy participating and serving in the church. I was also involved in various youth activities even though my age did not qualify, the priests themselves approved my participation. Because of these, I was brought close to the church and even to the priests, seminarians, and other church members and church-goers.
The Sisters of Mary School were acquainted with me when the two sisters who were recruiting students in our place at that time stayed in the mission station of our place. One of the priests happened to be an alumnus of the school and he encouraged me, together with the other priests and seminarians, to take the entrance exam. With the goal of lessening the burden of my mother, I willingly took the exam and am blessed to have passed the entrance examination.
When I was a newbie at this school, I was so regretful and I really missed home like the other new students. There were times when I questioned my decision of entering the school, yet time healed everything. Remembering my past experiences, there are times when I thought of giving up and going home but I always think of my family and my future goals. Besides, I am more than thankful for this school for honing my skills in different fields as well as helping me develop my spirituality. Like my elementary years, I am also exposed to different competitions here in the school. I was also able to join several academic and non-academic contests held outside and inside the school. One of my biggest accomplishments is winning a silver award in the Philippine International Mathematical Olympiad International and National Round this year. I was also able to get a bronze medal in the same competition in the year 2021. I am also the current Editor-In-Chief of the campus paper publication of the school.
I can guarantee that the school has contributed a great part in my success as a student here in the school and I am very thankful for everyone who is involved with this. The school administrators, the sisters, the teachers, and my fellow students should never be forgotten in my successful endeavor. I also thank the generous and very kind benefactors of the school for helping the school in living to its mission even until now. I can assure that the efforts made are never wasted for I am one of the fruits of the Sisters of Mary which Ven. Al has established.
My life has never been a bed of roses nor full of thorns but I do understand that it is a living beautiful rose. A lovely flower yet with fierce thorns. Nevertheless, God always sends angels in disguise to help me get along and survive with His gift of life. I believe God will never give me challenges I can never counter, for He said, “My grace is sufficient for you.”