(Speech delivered by Dr. Henry O. Chusuey during the Blessing and Inauguration Rites of the Administration and Grade School buildings of Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS held December 8, Atria Park District, San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City)
Today, I am most pleased to come home to my first Alma Mater, the great Santa Maria Catholic School, now the Ateneo de Iloilo.
I am happy to be re-united with my Atenean family here, under the guidance of the Jesuits, on this joyful and momentous occasion.
This is a time of thanksgiving, of expressing gratitude to those who have helped mold us into what we are now. Today marks another opportunity to give back to Santa Maria, to the kind academic community of Ateneo de Iloilo.
This Jesuit school has a special place in my heart. This is where I started my formal education. This is where I learned the fundamentals of knowledge, as well as the values of loving one’s neighbors and serving the community.
Hence, today, I am glad and honored to attend the blessing and inauguration of the Dr. Henry O. Chusuey Administration Building here in Ateneo de Iloilo. This building is another concrete manifestation of my appreciation for the excellent formation I had obtained from the Jesuits and my lay mentors. This is also a symbol of my thankfulness for the great memories I made with school staff, classmates and friends in the old campus on Blanco Street.
The Administration Building of a school usually symbolizes many things. As the seat of those who manage the school, the Administration Building embodies the vision, mission, strategic goals and lofty ideals of the institution. I must, therefore, point out that this Administration building is a fitting tribute to the undisputed and strong leadership of the Jesuits and the Ateneo community in teaching the young. It is also a testament to the accomplishments of the school and its students in the past 59 years, just as it poses a challenge to the current and future members of this community to rise up and heed the call for academic excellence and service. The Ateneo de Iloilo deserves nothing less.
As many of you may already know, I had earlier made a significant contribution for the construction of the Chusuey Gymnasium on this campus, in honor of my beloved parents, Alfonso and Virginia, my first teachers who had taught me the profound worth of a good education. Hence, it is my conviction that the best way to help and serve our country, in general, and our community, in particular, is to support initiatives in the field of education.
I firmly believe that good basic education is not only about reading, writing, math, science, and technology. More importantly, it is also about values development. This balance between academics and character formation is the brand of holistic education the Ateneo de Iloilo represents. That is why I am very honored and glad to support the Jesuits’ mission in education through our Alma Mater.
It is my wish to see more young people being given the opportunity to pass through this Administration Building and obtain their basic education from the halls of Ateneo de Iloilo. I hope that through this humble donation, I have done my share in the molding of our youth in Ateneo’s seven core values of Competence, Conscience, Character, Compassion, Community, Culture, and Christ-centeredness.
I honestly think that if only many of our people imbibe these Atenean values, we can rest assured that our streets will be safer, our environment will be cleaner, our neighbors will be kinder, our public service will be greater, and our economy will be better.
In closing, let me salute the Jesuits for the wonderful works they have done, in the service of the families in Iloilo. I wish you more power and all the best so you can continue undertaking your noble mission. On a personal note, I thank you all for making me and my family a significant part of the Ateneo de Iloilo academic community.
Thank you everyone for your attention.#