To the Class of 2020, take a bow! The future of our planet depends on you. With boundless energy and hope, step into the future with a more focused vision and a more passionate purpose in life.
In this most uncertain period of human history, the present has never been so globally challenged, which means a future with a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety. Amid the pandemic, there are silver linings as the world unites to cooperate to fight an unseen common enemy.
This year’s graduating batches will surely be the most memorable and life-altering among other generations. But because of this crisis, they will be better global citizens defined by the causes they will fight for and principles they will live by. This generation has the ability to reshape and correct the old “normal” that was unjust, unkind and unsustainable.
Our family was supposed to fly to California this weekend to attend the college graduation of our eldest daughter, Jordan ”Annika” Prieto Valdes. She majored in film at Chapman University. Just like in other campuses, graduation rites have either been postponed or canceled due to the pandemic.
It is heartbreaking to not be able to have the ceremony, but we are still proud of Annika and her accomplishments. Her film projects the past four years took her to India, Bhutan, Nepal, Paris and New York, and her film projects were entered in various festivals around the United States.
An environmentalist at heart, Annika is a vegan because cows are one of the major causes of global warming. She shops only in vintage and thrift shops. She and her generation are the anti-consumers, looking to live life in as sustainable a manner as possible. I am certain she will create a positive impact in her world of film as she continues to capture inspiring life stories.
Equally proud of her graduating daughter is Duday Gaston of my Usana family. We were just chatting about how unfortunate that there are no formal graduation rites, but we are still hoping for a possible ceremony in October.
Her daughter, Pauline “Ponggay” Gaston, AB Interdisciplinary Studies, Ateneo de Manila University, is actually more devastated with the cancellation of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines volleyball games than with the aborted graduation. As defending champions, the Ateneo volleyball team is strong, and Ponggay is team captain so she knows the team would have done well.
Duday also told me about the Usana donations throughout the globe. During this pandemic, strong global corporate citizens have stepped up to do their part. It’s why Usana, the Usana Foundation and several of its international partners have answered the call to provide significant donations during the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. Usana’s United States, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, China and Korea markets have all made considerable donations.
“Usana upholds its core value of community and this is one of the best times that we can show that we are one with the world in doing our share to fight the crisis. This is nothing compared to the battle our front-liners face every day to save lives,” Cherry Ampig, Usana Philippines general manager, told me. “We want to thank as well all our associates who are doing their own initiatives in giving. We see vitamins, cash and food being donated everywhere,” she added.
Usana Philippines donated personal protective equipment (PPE) and Usana’s multivitamin supplement Mini CellSentials to health-care facilities and workers across the country. A monetary donation of P1 million was divided among three major health-care facilities in the country to help them purchase around 1,600 PPE for medical workers on the front lines. A total of 15 facilities will also receive more than 4,000 bottles of Mini CellSentials.
Celebrating at home
For the graduation of their children, some moms have creatively celebrated at home, complete with banners, cake and streamers.
Maxine Alindogan, who graduated from Boston College with a degree in economics, even had a confetti blast and all the works, thanks to her mom, Trina Alindogan. For their family, it is also a double celebration since her sibling, Martin, graduates high school from International School Manila next week.
Also celebrating two graduations in the family is my Assumption BFF Jojo Ongsiako. Her daughter, Ina, is graduating from Ateneo Law, and her youngest daughter, Mica, is graduating high school from Assumption.
My Zumba classmate, Elena Coyiuto, is also so proud of her daughter, Sofia, who finished MS in Integrated Marketing, magna cum laude, from New York University. There are just so many more proud parents around the country, indeed the world, that I wish I had the unlimited column space to list them all.
In the case of Sofia, I have to note that she has already started her entrepreneurial skills as she recently opened 808 Studio, Manila’s first boutique dance fitness studio with a live DJ. They are doing online classes that combine strength and cardio in a power-packed dance routine (www.808studio.ph).
Double congratulations to the twin graduates of another Assumption HS classmate of mine, Monica Francisco-Benares. She only has this set of twins, so she threw a mini graduation party at home for Angelica from Lehigh University and Beatriz from Skidmore College.
Times are, indeed, strange but we sure can make the most of it. This is the time we realize how vulnerable and fragile we truly are, but we are resilient and with God’s grace, we will become stronger.
It is truly a wake-up call for all humanity. It’s time to be more mindful and alert and to probably participate in the fate of the planet. Be conscientious about accountability for what we say and do. This is the legacy we want to sculpt and in the process, make a hands-on difference.
We need to stay connected. By sharpening our inner programming, we can refine and renew our capacities to do good things and protect the future. Decipher now how you want to restart and create and contribute to the human story! The future is clean and clear. The future is now!