Thursday, April 1, 2010

Party with Centennial Group (Again)...

We have yet another new contributor, talented Br.Bond, whom we will be expecting to contribute much much more articles. (a little constructive motivation won't hurt, keeekeekee!!)

On March 22, 2010, Redemptorist Davao Community and Centennial Group had a memorable party together. This party combined many cerebrations; those who were birthday cerabrants of this month, farewell for our Indonesian brothers who was about to leave us and the brothers who graduated this school year.

I would say that it was the memorable party because this party did not happen easily due to the brown out during 5.45-7.00 and it was also our last party together with some of our brothers. The party started roughly around 7.15. by the opening prayer of Fr. Cruz. When I came down to the refectory, I was surprised to see Fr. Senen dressed in Hawaiian attire. Then I realized that it was the theme of this particular party. The funny thing was that most of the brothers dressed very formal.

The foods were plenty on the table. We enjoyed eating and chatting with one another. I guessed that this party was so joyous and lively because we finished our school year already (regardless with the results of the grades). During the party, we had a little program for the birthday cerebrants and fare well to our Indonesians brothers. One of the programs which I really appreciated was the Hawaiian dance performed by centennial group.

After all the official programs were presented, Fr. Cruz and his friend sang a few songs and the floor was opened. We joined in in the dancing, shouting and laughing. Everything was almost perfect, except for the dishwashers of the day (wink!).


Year-end evaluation

I think it is not too much to say that here in St. Alphonsus Theologate, Davao, we are our own formators (this does not mean that our prefect and socious have abandoned us and that we are left on our own) because we are involved a lot in planning and deciding what we would like to do in our formation program. At the beginning of every school year, the first thing we usually do as a student body together with our formators is the student planning wherein all of us will look at the core values from the ratio formationis and then will discuss about what and how we are going to do (objectives/means) in order to accomplish those values we would like to see in each of us as a Redemptorist. Thanks to the kind of formation we have here that all do have a say in this process. Everyone can and is encouraged to voice out their thoughts and suggestions. That is why our formation is not something that is imposed upon. Rather there are a lot participation and dialogue.

However, there is a saying that no pain no gain which is also true in this case. Instead of celebrating and enjoying ourselves after the final exam week and the end of the academic load, we had to spend long hours in a class room doing evaluation. Since we were the ones who planned all these things, we were the ones who evaluate them. Planning and evaluation are like a burger and fries. They always come together in a package. So more participation means that we have to go through a lot more meetings. And I think it's worth it after all. Therefore, every year we have to set aside days for student planning, mid-year evaluation, and year-end evaluation, which is around 8-10 days of exhaustive meetings all in all.

Anyway, this year we allocated 3 days in March for the year-end evaluation and peer evaluation. This is the time we look back at what we have done throughout the school year to see if we have reached our goals and objectives in formation that we planned together when we started off the school year. It is the time we reexamine ourselves. What areas of life we did well (strengths)and what we still need to improve or can do better next time (weaknesses).

With the big number of students this school year our capo (Bro.Bird) saw that there was a need for us to come up with something new in terms of the way we go about our evaluation so that it would be done efficiently and effectively. Therefore we decided to revise a little bit the evaluation form and the way we proceed with the sessions. In the end i think we did OK. It was not perfect. It was still long and tiresome but I’m sure that the process will get better and better each time we do it.

After we had done all that, we continued with what we call ‘peer evaluation’. Everyone was given 27 small pieces of paper according to the total number of students here in this community. In each paper, we had to write to every person what we saw as good in him and what he needed to improve. So comments and feedback were both positive and negative. Then we were given time to reflect upon what others wrote about us. After that we came back in a big group again and said a few words in response to the comments received. Mostly we expressed appreciation, thankfulness, and apologies. We ended the activity with prayer and showing of signs of peace and love to one another.

This peer evaluation is indeed one of the venues where we can actually practice a fraternal correction which we believe would help us grow and become a better person and most importantly would help us live together as a real and brotherly community wherein everyone loves and cares for one another.

PS. Special thanks to Mama Betty (one of our benefactors) who generously provided a very nice place and a sumptuous meal for us during this peer evaluation. We really appreciate it.