Photo By Cielo  Azana
Photo By Cielo Azana.

Honoring Saint La Salle and his mission with La Salle Week 2023

In dedication to his ongoing mission of providing education for all, Benilde celebrated the Patron Saint of Teachers, John Baptist De La Salle, through La Salle Week, inviting and recognizing students, associates, and faculty for their relentless efforts in upholding the Lasallian mission.

By Hannah Lauren Cadiz, Maxine Cheung, and Chenelle Navidad | Monday, 6 February 2023

The Benildean community commemorated Saint John Baptist De La Salle’s legacy through online and onsite activities, including the annual Gawad Benildyano, in a week-long celebration from Jan. 23 to 28 with the mission “Guiding the Benildean Way Forward.”


Starting the week-long celebration was the Holy Mass with the Blessing of Teachers at the Chapel of Resurrection, presided over by Fr. Edeniel Villa and interpreted by Bhea Francisco. In his homily, Fr. Villa shared his wisdom on the critics of Jesus and the sin of blasphemy, “All sins can be forgiven, but the grace of forgiveness should be earned…God doesn’t insist Himself to those who do not accept Him.” 


In line with its theme, the celebration also featured self-care webinars for students, parents, associates, and faculty hosted by the College’s own Benildean Well-being Center (BWC). On Jan. 25, BWC counselor Ms. Lizza Teves-Hughes RGC, RPsy, facilitated a mindfulness webinar titled, “Wellspring: Developing Self-acceptance and Growth through Mindful Awareness.” As part of the BWC Lasallian Formation for Adults (LCFA) that the BWC created to take care of its associates, the Wellspring is the first step attended by those who have been in the Benildean community for two years or less. Upcoming webinars are titled “Stream” and “Flow” as associates progress in their years of service within Benilde, to be announced soon. 


“Distractions are band-aids; while all emotions are valid, self-awareness tells us what works for us and against us. When you know [these], you seek self-improvement,” Ms. Teves-Hughes said as she discussed the levels of self-awareness and the vital differences between mindfulness and self-criticism. To give a tangible application of the webinar, she also had the attendees do three mindfulness exercises they could practice in their own time.


On Jan. 27, BWC also held a webinar titled “A Conversation on Living a Positive Self” with De La Salle University (DLSU) Laguna Guidance and Counseling Director Mr. Von Karlo N. Gonzales, RGC. Taking a more scientific approach, Mr. Gonzales breaks down the biology of one’s emotions regarding academic stress brought on by the online learning environment during the pandemic. He provided evidence-based skills in managing emotions, demonstrated basic mindfulness strategies, and gave three concrete examples of what students could do: Thought Evaluation, Deconstruction of a Problem Story, and Improving the Moment through basic personal self-care activities. Like Ms. Teves-Hughes, he also included a 30-minute mindfulness activity that he utilized as a conclusion to the webinar.


What it means to be a Lasallian educator

On the fourth day, the College held a Holy Mass on the Transfer of Relics of Saint John Baptist De La Salle at the Augusto-Rosario Gonzalez (ARG) Theater presided over by Fr. Joseph Don Zaldivar. 

The approbation of the Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools was celebrated along with this mass, recognizing their official correlation to the campus church, and the Lasallian Teachers’ Day, where the blessing of Lasallian mentors was held.


“Don't you find it oxymoronic? ‘Transfer’ is the opposite of ‘relic.’ When we say relic it means ‘remain.’ When we say transfer we talk about movement. So there is some irony or oxymoron in naming the celebration Transfer of Relics. However, brothers and sisters, that dialectic of transferring, of movement, of progress, and combined with relics—to remain, to stay—is the very mystery of being a teacher.”


“Being a teacher is all about transferring and relics. A good teacher transfers, transposes human beings from one sphere to another, from one dimension of life to another, from ignorance to knowledge… Teachers are agents of growth, progress, and change in the [life of people] they have touched,” Fr. Zaldivar shared in his homily.


Moreover, a webinar titled “Keeping the Faith: Upholding the Virtues of a Lasallian Educator” exclusive to Benildean faculty was facilitated by the Center for Faculty Advancement (CFAd) with its guest speaker Br. Normandy Dujunco FSC, where he talked about how each of the 12 Lasallian values can be applied to the post-pandemic classroom. Despite the stereotypes often surrounding Philippine educators, Br. Normandy used this webinar to inspire them of their calling to teach.


The Community Fellowship and Salo-salo filled the Greenway Square at the Taft Campus, formally opened by Campus Minister for the Center of Lasallian Ministry (CLM), Ms. Tess Magmayo. Staff and students got together with a simple banquet, offering a range of snacks such as donuts, pancit, lumpia, and some good old Lola Nena’s pastries. Benildeans gathered around the photo booths as the Senior High School Acoustic Band performed as the opening act.


In the spirit of diversity

Onto face-to-face events, the Benilde International Student Emissaries (BISE) celebrated the Lunar New Year with a culminating activity held at Greenway Square, which was also live-streamed on their Facebook page. Hosted by ID 121 AB-DIA student Anthony Jalad and ID 120 BSBA-EM student Karliz Chan, the event began with opening remarks from the Dean of the Center for Student Life, Mr. Levi Albania. 


“To Chinese Benildeans in our community, we are grateful for your presence and meaningful contribution and efforts. Indeed, we are building a community where there is synergy and diversity and where no one is left behind,” Sir Albania said.


The celebration organized various activities, including Tiktok challenges and performances, from ID 120 BSTM student Penny Ong’s “Umbrella Dance” and ID 119 AB Music Production student Pauline Cueto’s renditions of Ariana Grande’s “They don’t know” and NIKI’s “Every Summertime.” The festivities didn’t stop there as BISE prepared several game booths for students to try their hands at traditional Chinese calligraphy and dice games, practice their chopsticks skills and test their knowledge with Spring Festival trivia.


Recognizing excellently extraordinary students

Toward the end of the celebration, Benilde held the annual Gawad Benildyano event to recognize outstanding students for their contributions to the community with the theme, “Service Beyond Boundaries.” The awarding ceremony featured performances from the Benilde Culture and Arts Unit (BCAU) and awarded Benildeans who have worked to uplift and bring honor to the College. Read the full article here


Lasallian week is a week-long event celebrated by all Lasallian schools to commemorate its patron Saint John Baptist De La Salle.