ASHS Class of 2020 turns over Gonzaga sundial and beautified courtyards

November 09, 2021
Paul Daza; day photos by Andrea Bautista of UMCO, night photos by Cyrus Lim

The turnover ceremony for the Legacy Project of Ateneo de Manila Senior High School Batch 2020- the St. Luigi Gonzaga Sundial and the landscaping & beautification of the ASHS courtyards – was held on Friday, November 5, 2021 at 9:30 AM. The ceremony was attended by ASHS administrators, faculty and staff, as well as ASHS Class of 2020 students and parent representatives.

Emceed by ASHS Student Activities Coordinator Chris Lacdao, the program began with the blessing of the courtyards. Fr. Bong Dahunan SJ, ASHS Chaplain and Head of the Campus Ministry Office, blessed the courtyards with holy water at 9:45 AM.

Following the blessing, Mr. Rene Santos, Chairperson of the Grade 12 Parents’ Council of Batch 2020, spoke about the challenges which he and the other members of the Council faced in seeing the legacy project to fruition and completion. He also told the story behind the sundial’s features:

“To illustrate the life of Saint Aloysius (Gonzaga)… artist Toym Imao chose to make a functional sculpture in the form of a sundial. Time was an important commodity that Aloysius quickly ran out of. But it was time not wasted, as he dedicated his life in service of the sick and the dying.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga kneeling and surrounded by objects that are commonly attributed to him

“One side of the sundial features Saint Aloysius in kneeling position, a posture that shows supplication and humility. He is surrounded by objects that are commonly attributed to him: a lily, for innocence; a skull, in reference to his early death; the rosary, for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the Cross, for piety and sacrifice.

"On the other side is a depiction of Saint Aloysius as he cares for the dying, arm outstretched, seemingly reaching to the heavens in prayer and entreaty. On the sundial’s surface are sun rays, a visual interpretation of the Jesuit’s emblem.

“Saint Aloysius as he cares for the dying, arm outstretched, seemingly reaching to the heavens in prayer and entreaty”

“The names of Batch 2020 students are engraved in brass plates around the sundial. There are 23 plates with 22 plates for the Senior High School Grade 12 sections and one plate for the PUSH (Parents’ Union for School and Home) council members. Twenty-three being Aloysius’ age when he died.”

Mr. Santos then read the dedication message of Fr. Bert Ampil SJ, Director of Parent Relations and Programs (PReP) and PUSH. Here is an excerpt:

“Like Aloysius, we do not know whether God will give us a short life or a long one, a hard life or an easy one. A life soured by disappointments or sweetened by success. We do not know how we will die or when we shall pass from this life unto the next. That future is, mercifully, hidden from our eyes.
“But what we do know… is that we can make of that Unknown Future not simply an Uncertain End, but the Beginning of a New Life lived more fully and with meaning. And so we pray, like the Pnomo that guides the light of the Sun as it casts its shadow on the face of the sundial in order to tell us the time of day, may we live our lives always reaching out to the ‘Son’ as He guides us through the shadows of different times of our lives, and proclaim with St. Aloysius, in faith and confidence,
         ‘Ad Majora Natus Sum! I was born for higher things!’
         Thus, our legacy to our fellow Ateneans. . . always, to reach out for the Son!”
Following Mr. Santos’s message, a short video presentation about the Class of 2020’s legacy project was shown.   

The turnover ceremony then took place with ASHS administrators Noel Miranda (Principal), Louie Melosantos (Assistant Principal for Academics), and Czel Lacson (Assistant Principal for Administration) formally accepting the Legacy Project plaque from Mr. Santos.

Rene Santos (left) hands the plaque to Noel Miranda

Mr. Miranda spoke briefly, thanking the students, parents and families of Batch 2020 “…for their magnanimity of heart and selflessness to envision and make real the beautiful and welcoming courtyards of the senior high, and the sundial that wonderfully captures the spirit of our patron saint, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.”

Mr. Miranda concluded, “May this legacy inspire our students, parents, formators and guests to greater generosity and loving service. This gift reminds us of nature – the plants, stone, the sun – and they in the end point to, in the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, what is unspent in nature: ‘The dearest freshness deep down things.’ In short, the Divine. May your gift draw many generations of senior high students and alumni to find God in all things and to see all things new in Christ.”

The ASHS Sanggunian President of the Class of 2020, Matthew Tiongco, then spoke on behalf of his batchmates. He talked about how formative his senior high years were, and how happy he was to be back at the senior high school building. He also revealed that many of his batchmates envied him his return to the ASHS campus and asked that he take photos of the sundial and the courtyards to share with them. Fr. Jonjee Sumpaico, SJ

Vice President for Basic Education Fr. Jonjee Sumpaico SJ then closed the ceremony with an insightful message to the students of ASHS Batch 2020 and their parents. He observed that in the space of a few minutes during the ceremony, those present experienced several environmental changes. “Umulan, umaraw, naging makulimlim, naging maliwanag. Things that we take for granted,” he said. “But the things we take for granted are sometimes the things that mean much: relationships, presence. Those quiet things that will always tell us that we are not alone, that there is a far greater love that is being given to us and being given through us.”     

The turnover ceremony ended with the singing of the Alma Mater song (Song for Mary), which was led by Matthew Tiongco and fellow student officers from Batch 2020 Kara Angan (Assembly of Class Officers Vice President), Kimi Pantanosas (General Academics Strand Chairperson), and Andre Parafina (Humanities and Social Sciences Strand Chairperson).     

(L-R) Chris Lacdao, Andre Parafina, Kara Angan, Matthew Tiongco and Kimmy Pantanosas sing the Alma Mater song

The Saint Ignatius Courtyard

The Saint Gonzaga Courtyard

The Saint Gonzaga Sundial