[Blueboard] Reflections of a Jesuit Volunteer

Jesuit Volunteers Phils. Foundation Inc. jvpfi at admu.edu.ph
Mon Oct 28 10:43:59 PHT 2002

Dear Friends,

In the weeks after the bonfire, Bellarmine field struggled to recover from 
the beating it took that night when victory turned to party at the 
Ateneo de Manila. The sight of the muddy tire tracks and patches of 
worn-out grass, where once there was a perfect field of green, leaves the 
quiet observer to ask, so what next? What is one to make of the Ateneo's
school spirit ? Certainly, beyond basketball, deeper and truer to the 
Ignatian ideals that the Ateneo education stands for, are many things that 
an Atenean can be proud of. 

Below is an article about Dom Olinares, a Batch 2002 graduate of the ADMU, 
now serving as a Jesuit volunteer. He was assigned to teach at a High 
School in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, one of the many resource-poor 
communities that JVPs serve. His motivations for service and reflections 
on what it means to be an Atenean are worthy of our
attention, not only because he was Valedictorian of his batch, but 
because how he makes meaning of his Ateneo education makes 
deeper sense of this so called school spirit.

Dom is just one of the 27 young men and women of JVP's batch 23. They have 
been missioned to 18 resource-poor communities nationwide to serve as 
teachers or community workers. If you believe in what volunteers like Dom 
are doing, you might want to say a prayer for them - all 27 JVPs currently 
in the service. Or better yet, write them a short message telling them of 
your support. If you send it through us at jvpfi at admu.edu.ph, we'll make 
sure it gets to them. And feel free to pass this e-mail along to your 
other friends who might need to be reminded of how there are still deeper, 
more meaningful sources of hope and inspiration, especially in these 
uncertain and trying times.

God bless!

Mark L. Lopez
Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP) Foundation Inc.
jvpfi at surfshop.net.ph
T(+632) 927-9060
T/F (+632) 426-5908

What does it mean to be an Atenean?
The Batch 2002 Class Valedictorian's answer has taken him through a road 
less traveled
By Angie Resurreccion

Paul Dominic B. Olinares- ADMU's 2002 Class Valedictorian and BPI's 
Science Awardee. Never did it occur to Dom that he would end up with the 
prestige...and responsibility. Being the valedictorian of Ilagan 
National High School in Ilagan, Isabela could never have prepared him for 
the distinction of being ADMU's. When he entered Ateneo, all he really 
wanted was to keep his scholarship and finish his Bachelor of Science 
degree in Chemistry.

Dom said he always imagined a valedictorian to be someone who was active 
in extra-curricular activities, visible on-campus, quite sociable and 
rather high-profile. All these he was not. Quite shy and introverted, he 
often would hangout in the Chemistry building with his blockmates mixing 
chemicals and experimenting with solutions. Although he was an officer of 
the Ateneo Chemical Society (Chem majors org), a member of the 
Registration Committee (students helping out with enrollment) and a writer 
for Heights (the literary publications of AdMU), these were not enough to 
get him into the limelight

When word first began to spread that Dom was valedictorian, many students 
and even some teachers had no idea who he was. One of the teachers even 
joked that he should have won the "Ka-Batch Pala Kita Award" for the Blue 
Roast instead. 

Still, valedictorian is valedictorian, whether people know you or not. 
Some of you might be wondering why such a gifted young man decided to 
serve as a Jesuit Volunteer when opportunities were knocking at his door. 
Yet it was not even the high-ranking positions nor the great compensation 
packages that JVP, as one of his options, had to contend with. It was 
actually his passion for teaching that proved to be a great contender. 
The morning before he was declared valedictorian, the chemistry department 
wooed Dom into joining the Chemistry faculty. By that time he already 
knew he was accepted by JVP but the department's offer was hard to resist 
since he has always had a passion for teaching and science. He knew that 
once he became a teacher, he would not consider JVP again. In his 
confusion, he asked a sign from God during the lunchtime Mass that day. 
That same afternoon he found out he was batch valedictorian. But instead 
of clearing things up, Dom ended up more confused.

Part of his discernment happened during his eight-day retreat, 
which helped him deal with some of his issues. At the end of the eight 
days, he gave his confirmation to JVP. Not that he was certain that it 
was really the right choice to make. But it felt the right thing to do at 
that time.

The essay the valedictorian candidates were required to write might have 
been instrumental in the decision he made. They were asked to write 
about "What being Atenean has meant for me?" His answer? He hated 
being one. Because for Dom, when you are an Atenean, "once you know 
something, that something disturbs you."

And knowing that there was serious work to be done- the kind one 
can do as JVP- must have disturbed Dom.

It was during the Send-Off Mass for the Manila Local Community 
that made Dom sure that JVP was the right decision. At one point in Fr. 
Mike Lambino's sermon, he said, "You join because you are gifted."

That statement has allowed Dom to make sense of everything. That 
statement was the missing piece that put everything together. He realized 
why being declared valedictorian was the sign God gave him. Truly, he was 
a gifted individual. Dom figured, his giftedness was a blessing from God 
and the only way to return the gift was by sharing it where it is needed 

"Hindi dagdag sa akin ang pagiging valedictorian, ako pa rin si Dom."

True enough, each day in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte where he is currently 
assigned as a Chemistry teacher, is a continuous struggle. Only a few 
people there are aware of his achievements. For them, they see a shy, 
young man from Isabela who wants to serve the best way he can. For them, 
he is a good teacher who tries his best to make kids see the wonders of 
science and the beauty of life.

post script: 
JVP is currently processing applications for the next batch of volunteers 
(for the school year 2003-2004). If you are single, a college graduate or 
a graduating senior, and have the desire to serve and be sent anywhere in 
the Philippines for one year of service, please contact Ms. Ray Yap at 
(02) 927-9060 or (02) 426-5908 or email jvpfi at admu.edu.ph for more 
information on how to apply for JVP.

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