The best legacy

- Paula C. Nocon () - March 19, 2003 - 12:00am
The best legacy parents can give their children, they say, is education.

And education, more than huge estates or vast trust funds, is more lasting than any form of inheritance.

This graduation season, here are five stories of five parents with their graduating children and the lasting legacies they shall give them.
Irissa Wassmer & Joy Wassmer
Thirteen-year-old Irissa Wassmer, the eldest of two children, is graduating from Poveda Learning Centre grade school this year.

Says her mother, Joy Wassmer, director of communications of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, "I’ve always been anticipating my daughter to get to about this age when we can enjoy doing things together. I grew up with five sisters so it’s important to have someone you can open up to and talk to. I treat her like my sister. I make sure that Irissa opens up to me about everything. We always have mother-daughter days."

Irissa is a bit less excited about the occasion and a little more nervous. "High school is going to be so different. I’m afraid of failing, because I know that I can do well but I get really lazy. My grades aren’t excellent, though I want them to be. I don’t want to feel like I wasted these years. I don’t want to feel regretful. I want to say that I did the best I could."

Joy is actually excited that her eldest daughter will soon be coping with the trials and tribulations of adolescence. "I know she can cope with challenges without anybody’s help. Some other kids are working triple time with their studies since there’s so much competition. But I want my kids to enjoy their childhood, their lives."

Irissa agrees. "I’m not afraid of peer pressure; we’re a good batch at Poveda. When it comes to guys I’m not really there yet. I’m still into other things."

What does Joy feel that Irissa has now that she might have missed out on in her generation? "I once wanted to become a lawyer but during my time it wasn’t really acceptable for a girl to be one. I want her to accomplish things that I didn’t get to do when I was her age."

Irissa adds: "Yes, but I still feel there is a double standard. There are some things boys can do and girls can’t do. And I think in our time that will really have to change!"
Alexa Ortega & Roz Faugier
"I feel really excited but also scared. I’m expecting high school to be fun and challenging," says Alexa Ortega, 13, as she graduates this year from Poveda Learning Centre grade School.

Her mom, Roz Faugier, says: "I’m expecting that her interests will shift to more ‘teenager’ stuff. She’ll be placed in social situations where she has to make decisions [for herself], and that’s when her independence will come through."

What will Alexa miss most about grade school? "I won’t be able to get away with as much things as I did in grade school. I’ll have to be more focused."

Alexa, incidentally, is already a professional stage actress. Her most important role as lead to date was in last year’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This makes Roz very proud. "I’m excited that she’s going to the next level. She’s chasing after her dreams, since she already knows what she wants.

"I want to be a stage actress," admits Alexa. "I look up to Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo. Great voice, great acting."

Both mother and daughter inspire one another. Says Roz: "What inspires me about it is that she’s so passionate about her choice. So it isn’t work. I want her to be who she wants to be. She has the freedom to choose for herself. Decisions were always made for me. So I’m most proud about the way she applies herself. She gives 100 percent and more."

To this, Alexa says, "And I’m proud of the way my mother raised me."
Erin Emily Campos & Erlynn Bernardez Campos
Erin Campos, 22, is graduating on March 29 from the Ateneo de Manila with a degree in Management Economics. The second (and last) college graduation in the family, Erin is looking forward to an exciting trip or vacation this summer after what she calls "four years of hard, hard work."

Like her mother, Erlynn Bernardez, former beauty queen and Bayanihan dancer, Erin is not only pretty and an excellent student, she is also an accomplished dancer. Her years of ballet training have allowed her to pursue her passion for dance, as she is also an active member of CADS (Company of Ateneo Dancers).

Erlynn waxes wistful as she recalls how Erin has grown up in the past four years. "She was such a baby when she was in high school. Now, she’s changed tremendously. I see the maturity in her outlook. With my kids, I can see that they went through the right steps and now, I’m confident about letting them go.

Erin agrees. "I’m as ready as I can be. I’ll just go out there and give it my best shot. But there’s so much more I want to learn. I’d really like to take my master’s, I’d really like to travel."

"I feel that we’re privileged to have our kids study in the best schools when so many kids can’t," emphasizes Erlynn. "I want my daughters to never take it for granted. They should use it to their advantage. We’re so proud of that."

In turn, Erin feels her parents left her with more than just education; they’ve also been her role models. "My parents treat people with respect – whether it be in business or life in general. They always say that no matter what, it’s people, not money or profit, that are most valuable. And of course, fear of God."
Jose Miguel Duavit Vazquez & Judith Duavit Vazquez
"Servant leadership," says Judith Duavit Vazquez about her graduating son, Jose Miguel, 14, "is the most important lesson I’d like my son to learn. I always tell Jose that he’s very blessed. And he should apply that through servant leadership."

"When it’s time for Jose to make choices, he won’t think of himself first," adds Judith. "He should align his goals with that of the country, take on the sacrifices necessary for the less fortunate. So it’s God, nation, community, himself."

Jose knows he shares many similarities with his mother. "We’re both avid chess players. We have the same style. We don’t play to win in chess; when we play it’s like a sport. We play for the enjoyment of the game. And we’re very good around people."

Says Judith: "Jose has good morals, surprising in a boy his age. He has faith and he’s not focused on material things. At [age] 11 or 12, he said that "a man without prayer is like a tree without roots." And it is in this sense that I can see he can continue the public service tradition our family has continued, whether in broadcasting or public service."
Giancarlo Magdangal & Julius Magdangal
Proud father Julius Magdangal is looking forward to his son, 21-year-old Giancarlo’s graduation from the College of St. Benilde Business Administration major in computer application. Not only because of the degree, but because it will allow his son to pursue his musical career full-time as member of the band 1728. "I consider my son a real achiever, an overachiever at that. He’s miles ahead. And he’s done that through determination and hard work, getting over a lot of obstacles and focusing on what he wanted to do."

Giancarlo feels the same. "I’m excited to graduate, I’m excited to work. Now, I just want to keep growing, keep learning as a musician."

"My father was very strict," says Julius. "I didn’t want to apply that with my children. But I tried to instill in them good study habits. It’s very important to have discipline. After you graduate, you need to have it even at work. Good work habits are even more important than the subject matter itself."

Adds Giancarlo: "That’s why my college graduation means it’s the end of searching for who you are, and the beginning of who you want to be."

He credits this to his parents‘ patience, understanding and forgiveness. "My dad allowed me to pursue my passion, which is music. My parents understood; my mom is a music teacher, after all. And now I’m glad that they’re seeing me apply myself in the way I want to."

Five different pairs of parents and children, five different insights on graduation day, but one common outlook on the value of parenthood and education: That the deepest, driving desire of any generation is for each succeeding generation to be better than the last.
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