An Open Letter
Today, you will be marching as a graduate of Cebu Children of Hope School. Congratulations! What an accomplishment! I also congratulate all your teachers, past and present, for all of this would not be possible without their unconditional teaching hearts.
I also want to congratulate your house parents, Auntie Lourdes and Uncle Patrick, and the rest of the aunties at the shelter who have been a great help in your growth. A special thanks to Auntie Teoping for her amazing love; I know she will always have a special place in your heart. A game of basketball and badminton would not be the same without her.
Let me take you back nine years ago when we first met. You were such a cute peanut. You were very eager to learn, be at school and at therapy. It was never a pain working with you because you made it fun and interesting for me. Remember our games of basketball in the therapy room using the back of the ceiling fan as a basketball hoop? (Of course we used a beach ball and a not a regular ball because we didn’t want to get in trouble!) And dips in the Jacuzzi in the therapy room—why we never turned the air conditioner off is still a mystery to me! You always kept me on my toes. I was “Tin-Tin” to you then, years later I was “Checher Jinks” and then finally became “Teacher Jinkee;” one of the many examples of the progress you have made.
You have always been a performer. Not a day passes by when we do not hear you sing. I am still in awe of how easily you pick up a song after hearing it only once. You have always shared your silly antics at parties and programs at school and the shelter. I will never forget your dance moves. And you never fail to make us laugh.
You have made good friends over the years. Friends who are also classmates, helpers and buddies. Although they sometimes complain about the “noise” you make, there is always a hand holding and guiding you in school activities and programs. That to me is an amazing bond of friendship.
As you march today, let every step you take up to the stage be a representation of your progress and growth, your teachers and therapists, your aunties and uncles, and the staff and friends who have supported you all these years.
I might not be able to hold back my tears—which by the way is very hard to do while writing this—but know that I am very proud of you. I, together with the rest of the people at CSC, will be here to support you in the next stage of your life.
Remember what our friend Dory said? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.