Alma Mater to Alma Mater

Last night Sir Bong called me up and asked if I could join him as an alumnus of both ESA and SPCP to this year’s batch of Seniors for the college fair. I was ecstatic because finally, I’ll come to my highschool with flying colors – now being a college graduate with an award, the feeling that my alma mater will be proud of me too, since they were the one who really honed me for the past 8 years of my life.

I remembered the college fair we had during my Senior year. It wasn’t only a time to know more about the different colleges in the country (mostly to give us options) but it was also time to chill with my friends. Haha. It would always be at the Pere Chauvet Hall back in the old Highschool building with the whole batch all 333 of us crumpled in. Speakers to speakers from different colleges and universities, some would also bring other St. Paul Pasig alumni to speak.

So when Sir Bong told me about this, I thought of what I was going to say to my fellow Paulinians about ESA. I was having a hard time actually. It was until the morning before the college fair when I was able to finish writing my “speech”.

Here it goes:

Good Morning Seniors!

I am Margaux Hemady and I just graduated from ESA last Saturday with a degree in Entrepreneurship and I have my own business, Etched Moments which is an online based invitations and souvenirs shop. I am also an SPCP alumnus, batch 2004. And it feels so good to be back here – now that I am finally a graduate. This is my first time to represent both my Alma Mater.

And I’m here to share what was life back then in ESA.

First, as our founder and chairperson, Vivienne Tan said, there’s an on going debate whether Entrepreneurs are born or made. What VKT believed was that it can be both – it just takes the right business, the right mentorship and the right drive for you to become one. And I can attest to that, because I am one of those “made-Entreps”.

One time, I had a conversation with a cab driver. He asked me if I’m already working, I told him that I’m still studying. He asked me what my school was and my course. So I told him, I’m taking up Entrepreneurship in ESA. He said, “Ano yan business?” I said “Opo, magtatayo po kami ng sarili naming business, tapos dun pa lang kami makakagraduate” He said, “Magtatayo ka lang ng negosyo, kailangan pa mag aral? Eh dati naman wala namang ganyan, basta me pera pwede na magtayo” I didn’t bother to answer him, because in a way, it got me thinking. But lightbulb moment, it not all about the money. You may have all the money in the world, but if you don’t know how to develop your own business plan, or wasn’t mentored well or use you cash wisely, you’ll be bank rupt. Sounds scary right? “Developing your own business plan”, I felt that before, but it’s all in the mind.

I never dreamt of entering the business world, I wanted to work behind the scenes of a Filipino film or a tv show that’s why I took Mass Communications (foreign degree) when I first entered ESA. Because of the many projects I worked on for the school, I “think” I fell in love with Entrepreneurship and I was inspired with my schoolmates (who already have their own businesses) that I worked with in those projects and then I decided to shift to Entrep. It was really a big decision to make because it would change my life forever, still I took the risk.

Our school has a really small population. It may look like “only a few enrolled” but it is not. It has always been that way, the best among the best. Just look at us Entrep 2010 graduates, I’m proud to be part of the lucky 13 who were able to surpass the obstacles of our dean. We nearly knew each and every one in school, from the students (no matter how old you are in the school) to the professors, administrators and other personnel. We are like a small community. Everybody’s friend’s with everybody, yes including our legendary utility men. We’ve actually built a huge network that we could use in the future.

For me, academics in ESA is easy, as long as you take down notes, listen to the discussions, submit all requirements – like a normal student would do. But what made life easier is that we could easily reach out to our professors if we have problems regarding the subject. They didn’t just serve us our teachers, but they also became our mentors and friend as well. Entrep’s major subject is the Venture Series. That’s where you will be trained to do environmental scanning, doing your business plan, opening and managing your business and by the end, see where you are heading to.

As you start your first year in ESA, you will undergo a lot of self-motivating, self-actualizing and self-fulfilling out-of-town trips that would help you in your Entrep (or BA) journey throughout your stay in ESA. I can’t tell what we did, because it’s part of the game. But tt really helped me a lot, part of what I am now are the things I learned during those trips.

I was also introduced to social entrepreneurship, which is recognizing a social problem and using entrepreneurship principles to create a venture to make social change. It doesn’t focus on profits but on people. Nearly 3 years ago, I was tasked to organize this project called Teenpreneur Challenge. It is an inter-high school competition wherein teams of private and public high school students, supported by E.S.A. students and mentors, help improve the livelihood sustainability programs and products of various underprivileged communities and provide access to market channels. I am proud of also mentoring the SPCP team back then, despite of not winning, in a way, they were still able to help the GK community assigned to them. It was really successful that it’s now on its 5th season this year. Not only that us, ESA students were exposed to the realities of the poor, but we were actually able to live our school’s motto – Entrepreneurs for Society – and we were actually able to help make a difference not only to the people we’ve helped but also to ourselves.

In closing, ESA wants to create a New Order – NOVUS ORDUS – and it will be fulfilled if the school produces more Dragons for Society of either Entrep or BA that would live out to our school’s promise. I encourage you to take risks, be your own boss as you create a difference in the lives of many people.

Thank You.

I was a little late because it was hard to get a cab and it was a little traffic. When I arrived, I thought it was already over. But then, I learned that it works different na pala now. It’s classroom to
classroom speaking. There were 9 sections for the Seniors this year, meaning Sir Bong talked about ESA 9 times. I only spoke 6 times since I was late. And the thing is, my speech – it was useless. Because I only have less than a minute to speak. Ni hindi nga natatapos yung powerpoint presentation ng school because super gahol sa oras eh. And my sister’s there in that batch, mapang asar! hahahaha!

But beyond everything, I was really excited to go “home” and it felt really great. Now I can say when asked by my old teachers that I graduated from ESA. I felt proud that I graduated from ESA and I’m speaking in behalf of ESA to my highschool. Kakaiba talaga yung feeling eh.

I was also applauded 6 times by the 6 sections I was able to attend to. Because Sir Bong would always introduce me as an SPCP alumnus that just graduated ESA with an award. Nakakataba ng puso, I’ve never been applauded my entire life with a huge number like that, coming pa from my sisters in SPCP.

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