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BATANG MINDANAW: Win or lose, we hold thy name, with honor to you, our dear Notre Dame

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COTABATO  CITY (MindaNews / 07 July) — In the blink of an eye, my journey in Basic Education comes to a wrap. My six years in high school is now done, together with my 13 years in Notre Dame University.

This institution is integral to what I am now. I remember being the clueless kid brought in an unfamiliar room, being asked to answer questions on a paper. A few hours after, I’m finally a pupil in NDU-ETD (Notre Dame University-Elementary Training Department)! That led to me graduating kindergarten already an achiever, to an elementary graduate who is unsure of what high school holds, to being a junior high school completer who had a lot of doubts in her capabilities.

My senior high school journey started out rough. It was hard juggling my academics with the emotional distress of losing one of your support systems. My performance was undoubtedly not what I expected of myself when I finished 11th grade. That’s when I told myself that I should get back on my feet again once I reach my final year in high school, and here we are now.

It was an eventful year, from my academics to extracurriculars. I started loving my studies again, and I recovered from the burnout I experienced from the past year. I also found solace in music again. I started being the Jenine everyone knew again, who was everything, everywhere all at once!

This was also the year that I realized disappointments will come and go. Adulting sucks, and my life leading to my next journey was very stressful. I had to make major decisions, here and there. It was hard mentally and emotionally, but I learned to forgive myself for what I brought myself into— and found the silver lining after a very in-depth reflection.

Apparently, life just lets you discover things all over again, and for that, I am grateful. 

To my mother, Jessa, and my brother, Noel, we started this journey with minus one in our team— but my success right now is the testament of the strength it brought us. Thank you so much for bearing with me in times I would choose to tend to my academics than spend time with you. Thank you as well, for always being supportive in everything. I am looking forward to singing more songs of life with both of you. To my aunties and uncles, thank you for your unwavering support. I will do my best to give back to all of you!

To my circle, my Deja, you became my everything in this journey. We had a few losses, and a few additions along the way. But we remained strong. This is not a goodbye, of course, our lives are still intertwined and our plans do not stop here. I will always celebrate your presence, and I am forever thankful for being the force that pushes me to be better.

To St. Bernadette and St. Pedro Calungsod, my constants, I know I annoy you but you were the ones around me while facing every uncertainty life gave me during the past two years. I wish you the best in our future endeavors. To Sir Ronald, thank you for being the foundation of our section. 

To my research mates, Kaye, Hana, and Mohamidin, hindi na drawing ang group chat name natin! We are finally research awardees. It was a great time working with you. To Sir Jaypee, our paper would not be recognized if not for your guidance. Maraming salamat po.

To my former teachers and mentors from elementary until now, you were the ones who instilled values and knowledge I have applied as I grew into a resilient individual. I am always fond of reminiscing even the smallest of things. I will always look back on your teachings, to always remind me of what I was and what I am.

To Notre Dame University, you will always be my alma mater. I will forever be grateful that you equipped me with Faith, Integrity, Respect, Excellence and Service. I would jokingly say that I am already staying overdue in the campus, but I know I will miss the institution that honed my character and pushed my excellence to greater heights. Win or lose, we hold thy name, with honor to you, our dear Notre Dame.

To Almighty God, I have surrendered myself to Your presence in times I have contemplated life and thought of giving up. Thank You for giving me the answers to my questions. Thank You for redirecting me and giving me what I need.

To Tatay Toto, I wish you were here to celebrate with me. I am happy to carry your legacy and your remaining wisdom within me kept me going. I miss you and I love you very much.

(Batang Mindanaw is the youth section of MindaNews. Jenine Estares is an incoming first-year BS Nursing student at San Pedro College in Davao City. She enjoys singing, writing, and researching history).

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