Today, Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of colleges and universities, I celebrated mass in an Assumption Sister's run school in San Simon, Pampanga. This is actually the second time I presided their Eucharistic celebration in thanksgiving for the gift of teachers.
I admire the school for being concerned not only in the education of their students but also in developing a very good relation among them and with them. On this day, teacher's day, the students of every class honor their teachers by offering them gifts and flowers. They also prepared numbers like songs and dances in order to express their thanksgiving for the teachers patience and commitment to share to them their knowledge. There was also a part when they would one by one tell their teachers how they feel about them. Praises and commendations were expressed lavishly. It was a very satisfying and rewarding experience for the teachers. Rarely does it happen when a teacher is praised and recognized every year. usually it happens when the teacher leaves the school or when the students graduate. I can see for the reactions of the teachers and the students that the activity is doing them lots of good!
I then presided the mass in thanksgiving for the wonderful feast. It was a solemn but meaningful celebration. Before the end of the mass, the Mother General addressed the students and expressed their gratitude for their cooperation. It is interesting to note that the student graduates of the school go back time and again specially on this occasion to reminisce with their teachers. It just show that the bond they had developed when they were still students were real and lasting. It is always good news when students and teachers still see and celebrate together even after graduation.
Knowledge is not everything. Friendship and values are very important parts of one's education. The years a student spent in school must not only be focused in obtaining high grades. The student must also acquire and develop values that would benefit his family and society. The student must not only bring material riches to his family and country but also honor and integrity. Schools must not only produce intelligent and wise people; they must also produce honest and God-fearing people.