By: Athena May Jean M. Carangan
On August 14, 2015, Gabay held Neofight, an annual event which aims to welcome freshmen scholars to both the Ateneo and the scholars’ community, as well as to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed as they start studying in the university, through a series of talks from different offices and departments in the Ateneo. The project worked hand-in-hand with Scholars’ Support Group (SSG), a project which likewise aimed to help the freshmen scholars, but through forming “support groups” each facilitated by pairs of scholars who would guide and offer their freshmen members advice for their first year in the Ateneo. Held at Rizal Mini Theater (RMT), the project, with Game of Thrones as its theme, saw the attendance of at least 210 freshmen scholars.
Registration started at 8:50 am, and the program was officially opened at 9:00 am by hosts Ian Blanco and VJ Serag with a spiel about the event. Afterwards, Czarina Duka, one of the heads of the said project, gave the opening remarks in order to welcome the freshmen to Neofight, as well as to give them an overview of what was to transpire during the day. This was then followed by talks from Ma’am Melissa Vera Maramara, Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, and Sir Ariel Diccion from the English, Math, and Filipino Departments, respectively, on how the attendees could survive the different subjects they would take during their freshman year and in their succeeding years as Ateneans.
Veronica Baguio, one of the project heads for SSG, gave a brief description of the project shortly after, and introduced the 56 SSG facilitators: 28 pairs, each overseeing a group composed of 12 – 13 members. The freshies and their facilitators proceeded to lunch at Gonzaga afterwards.
After having lunch, the SSG groups went back to RMT and listened to a talk from Sir Ron Cruz from the Ateneo Alumni Scholars Association (AASA) regarding their role in helping out scholars. This was followed by a confidence builder talk from Ateneo Gabay’s president, Louie Cartagena. Afterwards, the crowd broke out to different venues assigned for each SSG group, where they would have their group dynamics and the time to get to know each other.
After the breakout session came performances from Ateneo Gabay’s music group, GaBand, and talks from CoA president Iesous Hernandez, and Sanggunian president Mawe Duque, who both shared experiences regarding being a scholar and being an active student in the Ateneo.
Towards the end of the program, the freshmen were all invited to go up the stage and dance the OrSem dance Shut Up and Dance with their facilitators and hosts. Then, project head Mavee Alinsunod formally closed the program by giving the closing remarks.
Neofight Core Team: Julia Agida, Jose Anadia, Bianca Arvesu, Athena Carangan, AJ de Leon, Arvin Mangalindan, Macneil Mendoza, King Palmea, Stephanie Sumalinog, Reina Tamayo, Ameera Tungupon
SSG Project Heads and Core Team: Veronica Baguio and Tiffany Baraero; Carla Buenaobra, Danielle Carreon, Mhaey Contienda, Angelie Maglasang, PJ Palomares