I'm at home, pensive. While peering outside from the window, I remain optimistic in these perilous times of COVID-19. Washing the dishes in the kitchen after dinner, I'm feeling relieved. The future of my 16-year-old daughter did not grind to a halt in spite of the pandemic. "Thank goodness", I thought...
Meals and Dreams Over Dinner
Jasmine told us earlier that she was happy. My husband, Angelo, and I with my 17-year-old son, Jacob, and Jasmine, exchange stories over dinner. Tonight was over pork sinigang and fried tilapia fish, two tasty Filipino dishes on the table. Jasmine told us that she was asked to choose from three employees of Atreca--a senior corporate counsel, a marketing manager, and a research associate--to be her mentor. Since she wanted to learn from different fields she requested to have all three of them and her request was granted. Atreca is a biopharmaceutical company and is one of ICA Cristo Rey’s corporate partners.
Jasmine’s work at Atreca is partnered with ICA Cristo Rey’s relevant program called the Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP). Jasmine is getting an early start in corporate life and work experience through this Catholic all-girls high school’s special program. I love this program. It helps to concretize her dreams and aspirations. Jasmine asked the CWSP Department to bring her to a professional field of her choice. Students are assigned a corporate sponsor and go to their office to work once a week. Prior to COVID-19, Jasmine would go to Atreca one day each week. However, with the world functioning under the new normal, Jasmine has mentored with some Atreca executives online. This program also makes education at ICA Cristo Rey affordable. It helps Jasmine develop critical thinking, effective communication, and basic office skills.
Over several meals, my family and I learned that Jasmine wants to pursue nursing; that’s why she was assigned to Atreca. She is now in her third year with them. Her office work at Atreca includes digital filing, cell annotation, clinical data input, and attending meetings on immunology. At present, students attend meetings virtually with the department heads who share what they do.
School Days Like Clockwork at Home
Life goes on even in quarantine.
With ICA Cristo Rey’s programs, it efficiently set up online classes for students from 9am to 3:30pm. Long-distance learning goes a long way at home.
On weekdays, the online classes are conducted well by the school’s teachers. With Google Classroom, something with which Jasmine is well-versed, she takes her quizzes and instructions for homework. Nothing has diminished Jasmine’s interest for school work even if things are done online. She works just as hard.
Every Friday, she attends her Corporate Work Study Program online.
As an Associated Student Body executive, she attends student council meetings online. She meets with members of the Filipino-American Club virtually where she serves as the club president. Homework and group projects resume after classes.
Jasmine's interests continue to be honed. On Monday evenings, she goes online for urban dance or hip-hop dance lessons. She also has online violin lessons every Friday night.
However, I’d like her to have a semblance of normal school life. I feel that she is too focused that sometimes she does not pull away from the computer to take a break. Most of the time, she’ll have a working lunch doing homework and projects or preparing for tests or meetings. I often remind her to take a breather and have lunch at the dining table.
Jasmine is conscious about her output for the day.
- She sets objectives.
- She manages her time well.
- She knows her priorities.
- She works hard to earn straight A's in school.
- She also prepares and trains herself for her extra-curricular activities.
Forward-looking is Jasmine’s attitude about her future. Preparing herself for the rigors of college-level work, she took on Advanced Placement subjects willingly. She has an Honors Class as well. I sometimes can’t believe my own daughter’s tenacity. Yet again, this is such a welcome sign that shows she’s in very good hands. ICA Cristo Rey is a dynamic beacon of light for women of color.
While actively pursuing her goals, it’s important to Jasmine to have role models. She shares that she admires her teachers for their passion to share their knowledge and experience. She told me about a particular teacher who never gave any student a perfect score. Determined to overcome this challenge, she asked the teacher’s parameters for grading. That’s her young analytical mind finding out all the possibilities in her pursuit of excellence. But she still gets 9 out of 10! We laughed when she excitedly told us this story.
At the dining table, she was pointing her fork upwards to stress a point, like Aquaman’s trident, ready to wield its power. It warms my heart to know that she has teachers she looks up to. According to her, they’re so good at motivating her and her fellow juniors to be the best they can be
From Teenager to Well-Rounded Young Woman
A teenager in ICA Cristo Rey is groomed to be well-rounded as a woman of prayer, study, community and service. The school empowers Jasmine and other students to realize their full potential intellectually, professionally and spiritually.
At 16 years old, she has already set goals. I’d like to think that she wants to get better in her studies simply because she loves learning. Learning is not just about achieving academic excellence for my daughter; it’s also learning with a more holistic sense of well-being, care, service and joyful living in America. I’m confident that ICA Cristo Rey is her breeding ground for important core values to become part of her personal value system.
From There to Here: A Woman of Prayer
Jasmine grew up going to a Catholic school in the Philippines. She studied in Miriam College, also an all-girls school which was formerly led by the Maryknoll Sisters of New York. So when we migrated to San Francisco three years ago, I was happy to learn about ICA’s strong Catholic foundation and its affordable tuition fees.
Taking into consideration Jasmine’s strong foundation in Miriam College, which is one of the finest Catholic schools in Manila, was important. When we moved to the U.S., she easily became familiar with ICA Cristo Rey’s culture. There Jasmine continues to deepen her prayer life and grow spiritually.
A Woman of Study, a Woman With Dreams
ICA Cristo Rey’s Corporate Work Study Program is essential to Jasmine’s aspirations and realization of her full potential. The program is part of the school’s mission to provide college-preparatory education to young women from underserved communities.
Before her final destination as a heart and lung surgeon, Jasmine wants to be a nurse practitioner. She learned that she needs to be a registered nurse first and eventually a nurse practitioner. Jasmine intends to practice nursing so she can earn to finance further studies to become a cardiothoracic surgeon someday. As a very diligent student at ICA Cristo Rey, Jasmine appears to be well equipped for the long road ahead.
Leading for the Future: Woman of Service
As a student leader, Jasmine intends to equip students like her with financial literacy. An important aspect often overlooked by many, she advocates to promote financial reliance and literacy among students. My daughter is making us proud because she is already “adulting” this early!
As a mother, I am confident that my daughter will be prepared for bigger things in school and at the workplace with her education, training, and development at ICA Cristo Rey.
I have a few more washed dishes to put aside. For tomorrow’s dinner, I’m thinking of cooking chicken and pork adobo, the most famous Filipino staple dish. Jasmine’s all-time trident of a fork will once more be ready to wield its power. She’ll tell stories of how her education at ICA is preparing her to achieve her dreams.
With a heart of service, an industrious mind, a prayerful soul, and a strong sense of community, Jasmine, an ICA Cristo Rey Spartan by heart, is ready for the world of higher education. One more beautiful year at ICA Cristo Rey, and she is college-bound.
As a mother who watches her daughter grow productively at ICA Cristo Rey, I set my sights on a hopeful tomorrow for my family. The school’s mission is to truly serve as partners of families. With its own vibrant brand of sisterhood, ICA Cristo Rey cares for the future of our daughters.
Author: Marietta De Vera, parent of a Junior ICA Cristo Rey Spartan