Jen Concepcion: Called to be Humble, To Love, and to Serve

The author, Mrs. Jen Concepcion, is the Associate Principal for Academic Affairs of the Ateneo High School.
The author, Mrs. Jen Concepcion, is the Associate Principal for Academic Affairs of the Ateneo High School.

Mrs. Jen Concepcion, our Associate Principal for Academic Affairs, delivered this reflection over the PA system last Monday, 26 August 2015, to set the tone for the exams this week.

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All parents want to give their children a good future. Choosing schools for our kids is a serious responsibility since we know how great the impact of education is to who they will become when they grow up.

My first born is in Ateneo because of obvious reasons. My husband and I are both Ateneans and we are both working in this institution. However, the more important reason is that we believe in the values that a Jesuit education upholds. Some might equate Magis with excellence, but we know very well that our high standards of education puts premium not just on competence but more importantly on the effort that we give to our work and the amount of love we share to the people we encounter. We strive to be the best that we can be because we aim to be persons for others, for God’s greater glory.

But is the Ateneo way really leading me closer to Christ? Am I really giving my best so that I can share what I have with those in need? Am I really working hard enough so that I can make a difference in my community and in the country?

Choosing a school for our two daughters was a bigger challenge. I had to observe female students in SEP and research about the different exclusive schools for girls. We considered several good schools but when we needed to make the decision we focused on how they will become persons with deep faith and who are caring and responsible enough to work hard and to serve others. Because of this, we chose to send them to my alma mater, St. Theresa’s College. In this school, each student is invited to “Let your Light Shine, Be a blessing” and be like Sta Teresa de Avila, who has Depth of character, Unity with God, Love for Others and Determination to reach the goal of life.

As we end the 1st term of this school year, it might be a good opportunity to ask ourselves, why am I here in Ateneo de Manila High School. Am I studying to be successful, to be powerful, or to be rich? Am I here because of the brand and because I want to be popular?

Pope Francis reminds us that although the world invites us “to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.” Like Christ, we are called to serve and not to be served that is why, the Atenean is formed to be a Christ-centered individual of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment.

But is the Ateneo way really leading me closer to Christ? Am I really giving my best so that I can share what I have with those in need? Am I really working hard enough so that I can make a difference in my community and in the country?

There are students who think that there’s no need to do the homework or to review the lessons because they will work in their families’ companies in the future anyway. Others believe that in order to get good grades, they just need to let their classmates do the work in projects and copy their seatmate’s answers during tests. For sure, there will be an easier way to graduate here in Ateneo. Some may have gotten away with it but did they really gain anything? Will you really invest on your education just to be that kind of person in the end? Will you really waste time in this institution just to be another irresponsible and dishonest citizen of this country?

The tests that you will take this week will measure how much you have learned during the first months of this school year. These tests will determine if you have mastered the different concepts discussed in class. May these tests also remind you of why you are an Atenean and what you are called to do: to seek humility, service and love.

Your parents, as well as your teachers, offer you a good future through your Jesuit education. We believe that you will be one of our leaders who will truly serve and make a difference; a leader who will create a better future not just for yourself but for our nation.

Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

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