Loyola Schools Staff Day: Fellowship, learning, inspiration

Things run smoothly at the Loyola Schools. Transactions are processed, classrooms clean, schedules set, events well-orchestrated. Teachers are free to engage their classes, students are free to absorb knowledge and enjoy their extracurriculars, and administrators are free to decide on weighty matters concerning departments, programs, centers, and schools. This is possible thanks in part to the quiet, dedicated work of the non-teaching staff of the LS.


Behind the scenes and at the frontlines

To celebrate those who work “behind the scenes and at the frontlines,” in the words of School of Humanities dean Dr. Marlu Vilches, the LS Staff Day for the schoolyear was held on September 24, 2011. The plenary was held at the Leong Hall Auditorium, and enrichment workshops took place at different venues.

Fr. Tony Pabayo, SJ; Dr. Marlu Vilches; Ms. Joy Salita

After a mass celebrated by Office of Campus Ministry director Fr. Tony Pabayo, SJ and Dr. Vilches’ welcome remarks, Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ took the podium to officially address the LS non-teaching staff for the first time.

Desire and inspiration


To start off, Fr. Villarin commented on the excellence, the “galing” that he found in the Ateneo upon becoming president. “Ang galing ng mga tao,” he said, and this has made his work easier. “Bakit magaling ang Ateneo?” he asked, and went on to remark that inspiration is the source of excellence. “Ang ugat ng galing ay inspirasyon.”

Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ


Desire inspires action, and one’s deepest dreams and desires inspire the most excellent of actions. Excellence is not enough though. He emphasized the need to harness individual competencies to achieve unified goals. “Ang gagaling natin, pero kanya-kanyang biyahe tayo. Saan natin ituturo ang ating galing?”


Fr. Villarin shared with the group his priority areas for the university in the next six years, namely, environment, nation building, and formation. He briefly explained the need to focus on each area, and ended with a story about three workers. All the workers did the same work—carrying stones—but each differed in his perspective regarding his work. The first worker saw his work as merely carrying stones. The second saw it as feeding his family. The third declared, “I am building a cathedral.”


As Fr. Villarin sees it, this is the work of the Ateneo community. “Ito ang ginagawa natin dito. Ang Ateneo ay katedral, tahanan ng Diyos. Ang trabaho natin ay isang pag-aalay, isang paghain ng buhay ad majorem dei gloriam.”

Staff concerns

Following his address, Fr. Villarin gamely and thoughtfully faced a few questions and concerns raised by the group, including those on housing, benefits, programs and promotions for staff, and a five-day workweek for the LS.


Broader concerns such as the need for additional classrooms and the need to maintain open, green spaces in the campus were also brought up.


Staff development program


Office of Administrative Services director Ms. Joy Salita gave an update on the LS Staff Development Program, ticking off workshops and activities for the schoolyear. The program has been in place for a few years now, and caters to the professional, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of the LS non-teaching staff.

She acknowledged the work of her fellow LS Staff Development Committee members Flordeliza Domingo, Edwin Ang, Ramon Buñag, Rowena Argones, Evelyn Casaje, Reynaldo Corpuz, Rodel Crisostomo, Richardo Gabito, Imelda Estrelles, Anna Geronimo, Marie Jossie Lacson, Melissa Reyes, Edwin Palenzuela, Wenefredo Legada, and Sheril Grace Umaging in planning and implementing the programs.


Community spirit flowed throughout the day, as those with birthdays and anniversaries were called onstage for a blessing after the mass, and as newly permanent staff were introduced to their LS family.




The second part of the morning was spent participating in workshops on different topics: investment, basic photography, healthy cooking, parenting, life after retirement, alternative healing, yoga, starting a food cart business, and love compatibility. A group also visited the Jesuit Infirmary.

Lunch and a raffle capped the day of fellowship, learning, and inspiration for the hardworking LS non-teaching staff—an energizing start to the weekend and the rest of the schoolyear.



Photographs by Grace Sumaguing