For the 31st year, Banilad Center for Professional Development has prepared another batch of brave young women in their pursuit for personal and professional growth. Held last July 10 at the City Sports Club Cebu, the momentous occasion marked the culmination of months of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. And it was also a time for them to reflect on their individual journeys, celebrate their accomplishments, and embrace the new beginnings that lie ahead.
The ceremony commenced with the traditional Processional of the graduating students, staff, faculty members, Patrons, Administrator and Guests which was accompanied by the happy looks, even teary-eyed parents and loud applause from the audience. The Commencement Exercises’ ambiance was set with the warm and welcoming words from the Director of the school, Elizabeth M. Lopez, who delivered the Opening Address. It was followed immediately by the highlight of the event which was the Presentation of the Graduates given by the esteemed BCPD Director, who also proudly confirmed the Senior High School Graduates, in the absence of the DepEd Schools Division Superintendent.
The Hotel & Restaurant Services and the Food Service Technology were confirmed Graduates by the TESDA VII Regional Director, Mr. Ramon Evan Ruiz. It was followed by the awarding of Diplomas to the Graduates who were called to go up the stage with their parents by Ms. Mary Anne Ruiz, Vice Director for Academic Affairs. The graduates as well as the audience were treated to inspiring messages.
The heartfelt testimonials of the alumna, Ms. Gene Lyn D. Daño, was very reassuring. Now the F&B Manager of Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort, she graduated in 2004 and she said: “I’m NOT A TOP STUDENT. In fact, I am second to the last in the class. I nearly dropped out during my 1st year because I got 3.2 in my Math subject.
Thanks to my teachers and mentor; they never gave up on me. I took a Removal Exam and I passed”. She revealed her secret, “Perseverance and hard work are the keys. I was recognized by the President of our Company in my first few months of my work. I vividly remember what he told me, ‘I can see a potential in you, Genelyn.’”The ceremony also acknowledged the academic excellence of the students, as Ms. Sarah Josefa M. Laragan, the Vice Director for Student Affairs, announced the Honor Students.
She congratulated every graduate since they hurdled a unique experience of learning – hybrid. She called them a rare breed. The Awardees were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and dedication to their studies.
Thunderous applause was heard as they were called one by one. The names werenot announced until that moment. There were nine Honor Students among the 42Senior High School students, 6 Medalists among the 22 Hotel and Restaurant Services and 4 among the 6 Food Service Technology. Proud parents accompanied them up the stage. Two graduates, Marlie Therese G. Paler (Senior High School) and Carmel B. Blanco (Hotel and Restaurant Services) brought cheers and tears of joy to the eyes of the audience, as they shared their transformational experiences at BCPD. Therese is the eldest among eight children from a simple family in Bohol. She knew it would be real challenge to be away from her parents and siblings. But it was the choice of her father that she studies in BCPD. Unwilling to displease her father, she took the Unwilling to displease her father, she took the entrance exam and she passed. She demonstrated a public admission - “They are very strict when it comes to disciplining the students, which made me feel suffocated, but later on my eyes were opened and I started to see how fortunate I am to be in this school.” And she continued – “We have been supported academically, emotionally, and spiritually. I can tell that being here in BCPD is life-changing, and I am beyond grateful for it opens many opportunities for everyone to not stop chasing our dreams”.
Carmel’s story is more poignant. She shared this to the audience: “Ever since I was a kid, I dreamt of being a successful person one day. Because growing up I've seen how hard it is for my parents to provide our needs. I've seen them cry and worry a lot, thinking what will we eat the next day or where to get the fare going to school. I sometimes asked God why am I living a life that is way different from others. Why If He is the almighty God why is He giving me this misery and difficulties that make me question my purpose in life?
Well, God makes magic in my life and brought me to this school to help me answer my questions. BCPD has been my answered prayer and my hope. And I always thank God, will thank Him over and over again for bringing me to BCPD. They taught us life-long learnings, instilled values in us and helped us grow in our individualities. They gave us knowledge either academically or spiritually. They teach us that what matters most is character over performance.” The program continued with a more inspiring message from Ms. Colleen S. Barcelona, the Human Resource Director of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa. She was introduced by Ms. Charisma Rhea Castro, Vice Director for External and Alumnae Affairs. Ms. Colleen emphasized the importance of passion and purpose in pursuing one's dreams, encouraging the graduates to aim high and make a positive impact on the world. She gave a glimpse of how she rose from being a butler to being Manager. She is a proud and happy Industry Partner. She annually hires BCPD graduates to work in the Plantation Bay.
To express their gratitude, the graduates rendered a heartfelt Graduation Song, followed by the Pledge of Loyalty, led by Jolina C. Abello, a Senior High School Graduate.
The closing remarks was delivered by Ms. Mari Grace C. Melasa, a valued FPTI Board of Trustee member, who expressed her pride in the accomplishments of the graduates, reminded them of the mission-vision of the school that serves as their beacon and she motivated and encouraged them to embark on their professional journeys with gratitude, confidence and resilience. The event was indeed a celebration of triumph and hope, as the graduating students reflected on their journey of growth, learning, and self-discovery at BCPD School. From challenging beginnings to emerging as empowered individuals, they credited their success to the guidance and support of their parents, mentors, teachers, and the divine providence of God. The Master of Ceremonies was Ms. Mary Cathrine Gallardo, an esteemed Faculty Member of BCPD.
By Sarah Josefa Laragan