We have been asked this question many times by people who have observed that our students celebrate a lot. We hope that by the very word “celebrate” , they are meaning to allege rejoicing and having fun and not its negative which is to forget about classes.
Because while it is true that the college and its students celebrate and party a lot, school administrators ensure and make certain that classes are not sacrificed. All teachers and instructors of MLG College of Learning are required to meet the minimum coverage of their individual classes according to the syllabi and scheduling submitted at the start of the school year.
Indeed, we have celebrations almost every month of the school year. We have acquaintance party every July, victory party right after the annual Intramurals every August, humanities week celebration every September, Christmas party and participation to the Alikaraw festival every December, a three-fold celebration every January (Don Bosco Day, Family Day & Foundation Day) and Prom Night every February.These not include all other minor activities that shall be pursued by student organizations and departmental groupings all throughout the school year.
Why is this? Our answer is simple. Because we work for young people, because we exist of young people and because we stand for an educational philosophy that encourages life to be celebrated to the full in order to produced well-rounded individuals in all aspects of their humanity.
AN AWKWARD STAGE
We, at MLG College of Learning recognize that there is that the stage in the life of adolescents when everything seems awkward, the voice changes, hair start to sprout in strange parts of the body, physical attraction starts to ignite between sexes contributing to more anxious behaviors and measured moves. This awkward stage is critical in either developing or undermining the self-confidence among young people. If handled carefully by parents and educators, it can result to a life of confidence and self-love. If not, it can result to a life characterized by shame or guilt or “I’m not good enough” mentality. This is the stage when adolescents need to a lot of venues for self-expression where they could be affirmed, be acknowledged, be praised and be stroked.
St. John Bosco, the patron saint of young people all over the world and the patron of the College had something profound to say on this matter when he said “Allow young people to run, jump, sing and do whatever they like as long as they do not commit sin”. This good saint from Turin, Italy must have a profound understanding of adolescence as the most difficult stage that a young person must go through in life, it being an erratic stage halfway between childhood and adulthood when the individual is pulled sideways by hormonal changes in the body and an increasing physical need for two important things, one is self expression and the other is sense of belongingness.
This overwhelming need for self-expression if we dissect it down to its very essence can be understood in just three statements, I AM HERE! I AM ALIVE! And I MATTER! We call express because we need to proclaim our existence, our presence, our identity and at a deeper level, our uniqueness. Have you noticed for example the vandalism on walls of comfort rooms, on chairs and everywhere else. Which says: IAN WUZ HERE! Who do you think Ian is? Most certainly, Ian is an insecure, anxious adolescent wanting to find his place in this big awesome world. What is he trying to say? Basically, he is trying to say “Hey, I am here, Look at me, acknowledge my presence in this world”
The other one which is the need for belongingness is another important issue in the life of an adolescent. And this need when properly scrutinized would give out answers on several mind-boggling questions including why students drop out from school and why do they smoke, drink liquor or take drugs.
An individual on his own is a fearful and timid one. But when in a group, the possibilities for either wrongdoing and accomplishment are enhanced. It is the group that moves and motivates the individual in a scheme of exchanging affirmations and exhortations. Do you ever wonder why young people can be so bold and daring and brazen when in a group on trying new experiences and doing very stupid things? It is the group that gives him security, comfort and false sense of strength, power and authority to do what a lone individual never imagined doing.
Given this insight on group phenomenon, we at MLG College of Learning have utilized the influence of the group on the individual in a positive and beneficial way. We first facilitated friendship among and between them to develop and strengthen, then we cluster them strategically into groups with an assigned to the group and almost always, the task is accomplished beyond our expectations. In the past, we have tried giving the groups seemingly impossible projects such as staging a one-act. Tagalog play to be contested during a dramafest at the Hilongos gymnasium with rehearsal time of barely a month. The result? All the drama entries were superb and amazing from the acting down to the props and backdrop which they themselves painted. Other tasks and project followed such as a mural painting, installation art or a creative dance performance and floats inspired by China, Spain, India, and Latin America. All these difficult tasks were accomplished by the. What do all these mean? It means only one thing. The individual student was able to transcend and conquer his personal limitations, fears and feelings of set-up. And the result is the sweet feeling of accomplishment which nourishes and enhances the level of self confidence of the individual.
These all are the aggregate why MLG College is in a state of constant celebration. We cannot as a College stick to purely lecturing inside the walls of a classroom? We cannot remain detached to the real and pressing needs of adolescents for self-expression and for belongingness? We have to devise new methods and strategies in dealing and answering these needs. Thus, for many years, we have organized several and varied contests on different fields, be it in visual arts (drawing, painting, murals) and performance arts (drama acting, solo singing, dance contests) or others such as declamation & oratorical contests, contests debates, etc. We also have used competitive sports, fun races, quizzes, essay-writing contests etc to encourage self-expression among our students.
We, at MLG College of Learning have chosen since our inception in 1999 to be sensitive and responsive to these needs. Thus, we continuously squeeze our creative minds to come up with venues and opportunities wherein our students can express themselves in various forms and ways. Because at the end of the day, education is not just all about being able to think but to express as well. And a confident and educated person is one who can express his humanity well in various medium, whether it be on paper, canvass or walls and over the microphone through words, songs and poems, even on the dance floor. These all are consistent to the concept of multiple intelligences advanced by progress educators which is that are consistent to the concept of multiple intelligences advanced by progressive which is that a person does have several facets of abilities to be honed and developed namely Visual/Spatial, Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal.
But in the years of experience, we have found out that the ultimate venue of self-expression is in disco dancing. Why? Because it is a full-body type of expression in which all the limbs of the body are all in rhythmic movement in full view of everybody thus requiring more to do. And secondly, it does not require a special talent to do, unlike painting or drawing or singing. Thus, anybody can do it or can be pushed to do such.
Disco dancing, despite its trivial importance even questionable reputation as a socializing event in society to our view at MLG College of Learning has a deep psychological significance in the lives of adolescents and therefore to our students. Thus, we often utilize such activity as a tool to facilitate self-expression and to transform shy withdrawn students into confident and self-assured individuals.
We draw lesson and insight from the predicament of one well-meaning parent who discovered that her son who is a student of a big university refuses to attend university activities and parties of if forced by authority to attend will simply stay at the side lines together with all other shy classmates. When she asked her son about this, she found out that it was not as issue of disobedience or rebellion, but more of an issue of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy or “I’m not good enough” mentality.
She said: “I don’t want my son to remain shy and introvert. I want him to socialize and to live a well-balanced life.” And so, she lost no time in enrolling him to a summer dance class with the intent to enhance the level of self confidence of her son through socializing and dancing with other students. Today, her son is slowly gaining more and more friends and doing more outdoor activities in the company of others. He has become more capable to handle human interaction with confidence.
In the forthcoming semestral break, The College through the initiatives of the Supreme Council will sponsor a fund-raising disco party dubbed as “Sinless Madness” inspired by the dictum of St. John Bosco to express and enjoy life in a sinless manner. If for others this is not possible.