The Benildean Scholars Association’s (BSA) “HIGHLIGHTS 2021: A Celebration of Gratitude and Recognition” put a spotlight on the College’s quest for inclusion and dedicated a week-long celebration to the Benildean scholars via Facebook Live, Zoom, and Discord from June 14 to 19.
To formally begin BSA’s first ever scholars week, Center for Scholarships and Grants (CSaG) Director and BSA Adviser Ms. Ma. Thea Quintos gave her opening remarks.
“When you think about it, when we are physically standing high, standing above all things, it gives us a totally different perspective of everything. And when we speak of lights, we allow ourselves to be bearers of hope and good will for those who hear us,” Ms. Quintos said.
Meanwhile, Center for Student Life Dean Ms. Norie Ador Dionisio shared a heartwarming message to the Benildean Scholars.
“This time of [the] COVID-19 pandemic calls us to innovate and collaborate more effectively to meet your needs [...] let us be grateful for the blessings that we continue to receive; for our health and life, our gifts, and the nurturing relationships that we all share. Our dear scholars, we are not in an ordinary time. But I believe, as Benildeans, we can still always do extraordinarily well in this time of pandemic."
Lastly, Benilde President Br. Edmundo Fernandez FSC took the opportunity to thank the BSA for spearheading this event and take note of the valuable lessons during these times, saying, “Gratitude also is vital when we aim to share our gifts and give cheerfully. While you will celebrate highlights of this season in this event, take note that it is also good to appreciate the down times or the low periods when we were challenged to grow and work together, and when we usually learn the most valuable lessons in life."
The opening day gave the viewers a sneak peek on what to expect throughout the week including the “Scholars’ Forum,” “Discord Party,” “INFUSE 2021,” and “Scholars’ Night” hosted by ID 117 Industrial Design student Samantha Lumang and ID 117 Theater Arts student Kyla Ravago.
A meeting at the roundtable
On June 15, “Agora: Scholars’ Forum - A Dialogue on Scholar Student Life in Benilde” became an avenue for selected student representatives to raise concerns regarding their specific scholarship types, life as a Benildean scholar, and other scholarship related clarifications; and for CSaG to offer further assistance to Benildean scholars.
Concerns were mostly about the service hours accreditation of scholars which were answered by Ms. Quintos. The service hours were suspended during the online setting under the Benilde Online Learning Term (BOLT) and the first term of A.Y. 2020 to 2021. However, during the second term, scholars were required to attend at least one to two seminars that accredit the service hours.
On the other hand, there have been adjustments with maintaining the Term Grade Point Average (TGPA) during the online modality. There has been leniency towards Incomplete (INC) grades but not failing grades.
Scholars now have the opportunity to take not more than three Leave of Absences (LOA) throughout their Benildean student life. On the other hand, scholars are also allowed to take as low as nine units per term, whilst maintaining the TGPA of not lower than 2.0.
In the past month, CSL and CSaG released a survey on gathering feedback in knowing the priority needs of the Benildean scholars. With at least 446 respondents, the list identified mental health and well-being, time management, career development skills, personality development, and communication as the scholars’ top priorities in a time of crisis.
“It is our intent that we continue to be relevant and we commit to support you in your needs as scholars. We need to constantly strive to become better people, better Benildeans,” Ms. Ador Dionisio said in her opening remarks.
Resource Speaker and Benilde Antipolo Well-Being Center (BAWC) Counselor Ms. Judith Dyan Dimaano discussed positive psychology and self-acceptance. “[It] is a study of optimal human functioning. This is a branch of psychology that allows us to experience or to learn about how it is to feel flow in our lives, in our work, and in our studies. It also talks about how it is to flourish, to grow, [and] to develop as a person. It focuses on character strengths that lead to thriving and not just surviving.”
Moreover, according to Aristotle's ethics, positive psychology is interested in the development of character strength and virtue. But what does positive psychology say about well-being? The PERMA model developed by American psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman describes the five facets of well-being, wherein one can consider themselves well.
This includes “being able to experience positive emotions, being able to engage with other people, being able to develop and maintain positive relationships, experiencing a deepening of meaning in one’s life, and experiencing a sense of accomplishment or achievement in one’s task.”
Self-acceptance occurs with the acknowledgement that as a fallible human being, one is less than perfect. There is the right balance between performing well and experiencing defeat and disappointments.
Furthermore, Ms. Dimaano highlighted the importance of guidance counselors on helping the students in the process of self-acceptance training. This pertains to setting aside self-doubts and re-evaluating self-criticism, using acceptance to achieve meaningful change, and beginning character formation such as good habits.
She also addressed the questions of the participants in the webinar’s Q&A portion. When dealing with negative thoughts, one must first identify and acknowledge the feeling. “The first thing we can do to identify what we call that feeling, what we call that emotion [...] Pwede mo na i-share because you already have the word to express what you are feeling,” she said.
When feeling overwhelmed, one can stay grounded by calmly expressing oneself through writing, art, and dancing among others. Know to take a break and prioritize yourself.
A night of talent and artistry
Wrapping up the week-long celebration, the mini-concert “Scholars’ Night: Highlighting the Talents of Benildean Scholars” graced the digital stage with Benildean talents.
Before performing an intimate acoustic set, ID 118 Interior Design student and Benildean Excellence in Scholastic and Talent (BEST) Scholar Tala Gil (TALA) shared that among the things she loves about being a Benildean scholar, her favorite is the relationships she has formed.
Moreover, 118 Music Production student, Original Pilipino Performing Arts (OPPA) foundation benefactor scholar, and guitarist Joko Reantaso performed the tracks “Sunny Side Up” and “Jupiter” from his Sunny Side Up EP.
ID 118 Music Production student and School of Design and Arts (SDA) scholar Jan Ruiz, who performs under the name Rui Limbo, shared two original compositions: “Fallen Too Deep” and “So Tired,” from his project that started during quarantine. “I honestly appreciate the opportunities given to me as a scholar because I’m given the freedom to focus on my art and my studies. I released an EP earlier this year called Secular Soul Trip,” he shared.
To cap off the evening, the viewers were delighted with dance and vocal performances from the College’s resident dance company Saint Benilde Romançon Dance Company (SBRDC) Hip Hop, and resident chorale group Coro San Benildo, respectively.
“HIGHLIGHTS 2021” wouldn’t be made possible without the BSA family and organizers:
• BSA President, Project Manager, and ID 118 Human Resource Management (HRM) student Abbygail dela Cruz
• Vice President for Internals and ID 118 Consular and Diplomatic Affairs (CDA) student Aieshah Koleene Balmori
• Vice President for Finance and ID 116 Architecture Louie Kiu
• Acting Vice President for Creatives and ID 118 Multimedia Arts student Hanniel Requilman
• Logistics Head and ID 118 Applied Deaf Studies (APDST) student Emily Manalansan
• Marketing and Research Head and ID 118 Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) student Nyles Tan
• Documentaries Head and ID 118 FDM student Zoie Garcia
BSA Cluster Representatives:
• ID 117 Architecture student John Gregorio
• ID 118 Interior Design student Alyssa Belda
• ID 118 Computer Applications (CA) student Lorenzo Papa
• ID 119 CDA student Kristin Nacilla