Most parents consider Graduation Day as one of the best moments in their children’s lives. Thus, many would often take a leave from work to attend the momentous event. Even overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) time their vacation to go home and celebrate the occasion.
But Jeric R. Rivas never experienced having his parents by his side for Graduation Day – or even Recognition Day, for that matter. Since he was still in elementary, they never attended his graduation.
The young man could not understand why his parents never liked to attend these special moments in his life, especially because he sees other parents who are proud of his classmates and friends attending their big day.
Recently, Jeric graduated Criminology Service Awardee from his course Bachelor of Science in Criminology from La Concepcion College San Jose Del Monte Bulacan, yet he shed tears on this victorious moment because his parents were, once again, not there.
“Elementary ako noon nong nagkamit ako ng mataas na karangalan, 6th honor ako noon pero sa hindi inaasang pagkakataon walang kamag anak at magulang ang umakyat sa akin sa stage para magsabit sakin ng medalya at dahil don hindi nalang din ako umakyat at di ko narin kinuha ang medalya ko,” he recalled in a Facebook post that would soon go viral.
The heartbroken graduate refused to accept his medal because his parents were not there. He thought they would attend his high school recognition and the graduation ceremony the following day; yet his parents skipped both events as well.
“Recognition ko noon nag karoon uli ako ng award, naging “Best in TLE” ako, inaasahan ko noon na may aakyat at magsabit sakin ng medalya na kamag anak at magulang, ngunit bigo ako sa halip ay nanghiram nalang ako ng magulang sa classmate ko para may magsabit sakin ng medalya.
Kinabukasan, Graduation na namin, lahat kame na magsisipagtapos at mga magulang ng mga kaklase ko ay nandoon na maliban sakin, tingin ako sa harap, sa likod, sa kaliwa, sa kanan nagbabakasakaling masulyapan ko sila, pero wala, naghintay pa ako nang ilang minute, gang sa oras na ang lumipas, pinatayo na kaming lahat at tiantawag na isa isa ang aming pangalan, umakyat na isa isa ang mga kaklase kasama ang mga magulang nila para tanggapin na na ang kanilang diploma.
Hanggang sa narinig ko na ang aking pangalan, at ito nanaman ako, nag mamartsa nanaman paakya ng entblado mag isa, habang naglalakad ako tumutulo ang luha ko, dahil sa mismong graduation ko wlang umattend, inggit ang naramdaman ko sa panahong yon, mabuti pa yong iba suportado nang magulang, samantalang ako, wala.”
After graduation, the broken-hearted student left his hometown of Sibuyan Island, Romblon, in hopes of finding a better life somewhere. But though he had relatives living in this new place, they would not accept him at their homes.
To send himself to college, he worked at a factory in Quezon City, became a service crew at a fastfood outlet, tried his hand at being a janitor, had a stint as working student as his school, and even experienced being a ‘kasambahay’.
After learning about his sad situation, his college professors became his second parents. Many of them would give him some money for fare or provide him with food. Several also welcomed him to their homes, something that his relatives refused to do.
Yet on his Graduation Day from college, Jeric wished really hard that his parents would now feel proud of him and attend the event, yet they never arrived.
“Magkahalong tuwa at lungkot nanaman ang naramdaman ko, sa loob patingin tingin ako,, tingin sa kanan tingin uli sa kaliwa, sa likod at harap, lahat puro masasayang mukha na nakangiti ang nakikita ko, mapa magulang at kapwa ko magtatapos. Pinipigilan kong umiyak, pero di ko talaga kaya.
Naramdaman ko nalang tumutulo na pala ang luha ko, umupo nalang muna ako sa tabi. Inggit ang naramdamadan ko, bumulong nalang ako sa sarili ko, Buti pa sila may parents na kasama samantalang ako, sa muli na naming pagkakataon, wala nanaman akong magulang na maghahatid sakin sa entablado, mag isa na naman akong tatanggap ng diploma ko, wala man lang akong makikitang magulang at kamag anak na nakangiti sakin at ipaparamdam na proud sila sakin…”
As his name was called on stage, Jeric tried to walk with pride but ended up crying harder as he pitied himself.
“Tinatawag na isa isa ang aming mga pangalan, isa isa nang umaakyat kasama ang mga kamag anak nila at mga magulang, samantalang ako wala, ‘ILANG GRADUATION PA KAYA ANG PAPAIYAKIN AKO?’ Pero kahit papaano, may mga professors pa rin na sinamahan akong umakyat. Habang naglalakad ako, di ko talaga mapigigilan ang humagulhol sa lahat ng naroroon sa venue, niyakap ko isa isa ang mga professors na nandon sa taas ng entablado, para mabawasan man lang kahit paano ang bigat na nararamdaman ko. Di ko inisip ang kahihiyan sa sa harap ng tao dahil sa pag iyak ko.”
In his post on Facebook, Jeric thanked his professors and the many people who helped him in this difficult journey. What’s heartbreaking is that despite the many rejections he received from his parents, he still thanked them and wished that someday they would finally be proud of him…
This really broke our hearts.
Source: Jeric R. Rivas / Facebook