Erya Graduation 2021: Power Up! - From Critical Hit to Levelling Up

By Ambross Sumaylo

         To reference video game terms, the year 2020 has been like one huge Boss Battle. With schools shut down, thousands dead and an even larger number of people sick or unemployed, there was no certainty as to whether or not we were facing our "Game Over". As for Ateneo Gabay and the fulfillment of our advocacy towards the public elementary school kids from HSES and IVES, the game would go on.

         For sure, the pandemic dealt a critical hit to Gabay and its Erya Formation program. But with the hard work of last year's Education Operations Committee Heads, Jim Mijares and Milli Cabildo, and their dedicated bunch of deputies, Erya was able to transition well to the online setting. With tutoring services, donation drives and the entire Gabay Erya Formation Program withstanding the pandemic, it was time to celebrate a new chapter into Gabay's advocacy.
         Erya Graduation 2021, entitled Power Up!, celebrated the hard work of the kids, tutors and deputies alike in making sure that Gabay's rich culture of Erya and service to the public elementary school sector lived on. Project Heads, Aaron John Duque and Virgilio Calderon spearheaded this month-long program that featured weekly games for the Erya kids via Facebook Messenger and culminated with an asynchronous closing ceremony on September 11. Previous ates and kuyas of Erya recorded their heartfelt messages to their kids while the project heads and current committee heads, Myra Arce and Ambross Sumaylo, expressed their well-wishes and gratitude for the now graduating Erya kids.
         This event was made possible not only by resilience but with the deep desire of Ateneo Gabay to live out its advocacy not despite, but because, the hardest of times call for us even more to stand with our sector and the advocacy of equal, quality education. It is indeed true that the pandemic has dealt Ateneo Gabay with hard challenges, but in those cases, we simply power up and get ready for the next level.