“Thanks for your support! Wr nbr 2 n dyaryo drive n nbr 1 in 1st yr!”

This was the text I got Tuesday morning from Popi Gorospe, a co-parent at the Ateneo de Manila  High School and one of our hard-working class parent officers  for Section 1A of which my son Marcel and her son Mio belong.  I immediately texted back  – “Wow. That is great news.”

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It was certainly a wow experience for me.  The ACIL Dyaryo Drive is a decades-long annual major newspaper drive at the High School  that helped fund the expenses of the Ateneo Catechetical Instruction League.  The proceeds go to the Tulong Dunong Program and the ACIL’s apostolate of sharing the Word of God with public elementary school students.    

Every year, Ateneo high school students gather old newspapers, magazines and cardboard boxes from their own houses, villages  and companies. Their respective class moderators are as active as well due to the fact that the Dyaryo Drive is a contest among the various sections.  If the teachers are intensely active we can expect the parents to be doubly passionate.  No problem with the abundant competitive juices  as these are  for a very good cause.   Plus, team work is developed among the students, teachers and parents.

This year’s ACIL Dyaryo Drive was actually my first one to be involved in. I really did not know what to expect when I accompanied my son on the last Saturday  of August to the school.  The past 2 days, my son and myself  gathered old newspapers from our South Bay neighbors and my wife’s friends in Sta. Mesa. Given that many households do not anymore buy newspapers as netizens can get their daily dose of news from many websites, what we were able to gather amounted  only to 12  bundles which filled only half of the back space of the Montero. Arriving at the covered courts of the Ateneo de Manila, I saw the hills of old newspapers and cardboard boxes being stacked up for each of the sections.  Pick up vehicles  and delivery vans were streaming into the area to deliver many more old paper.  Man, this is serious mobilization of stuff.

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A truckload of scrap paper

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12 bundles from the neighborhood in South Bay and Sta. Mesa 

After delivering our 12  bundles, my son told me that there were many newspapers in their classroom that needed to be transported to the covered courts.  At that time, there was already a couple of parents doing this manual work.  Marcel said he was interested to help.  So, I told him to go for it.  The walk to the classroom was roughly 50 meters away and we carried a bundle or 2 from it to the covered courts.  My son was faster than I and he kidded me that I was getting old.  True, I was getting old but I am wiser.  I figured a better way was to use the vehicle  which we did.  And that was how we got to help Section 1A clean out the paper stuff from its classroom. We had 1 trip of the vehicle and we would have stayed for a couple more trips but my wife texted already asking to be picked up in the hospital as her weekly dialysis was finished.  I guess it was a good 2 hours worth of  exercise on that Aug 31.

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Marcel leading the way

Helping out

Helping out

We got to return the following Saturday.  On that September 7 morning, Marcel again did the heavy lifting of the old newspapers from the vehicle to the designated drop off point of Section 1A in the covered courts.   

Sleepy and grouchy

Sleepy and grouchy

But soon he warmed up…

But soon he warmed up…

…to the task at hand

…to the task at hand. 

A week after that exercise, I got the text from Ms. Gorospe and an email from another parent officer Atty.  Vallente congratulating and thanking everyone  for all the used papers given and the time and effort contributed for the achievement of Section 1A.  Many special mentions were given like that of Mr. & Mrs. Ong for bringing in 15 tonnes of cardboard boxes, Mr. & Mrs. Goco for all the telephone directories from their condo building, and of course the class moderator, Mr. Pagsanjan (or Pagsi),  for leading by example.

Congratulations indeed to Section 1A and all the other sections of the Ateneo de Manila High School. It was an exercise in both team work and social responsibility for the students, teachers and parents.  Marcel did good and I tried my best to catch up with my ever-growing son.   

Looking forward to ACIL Dyaryo Drive 2014.


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