And so April ends - with two short stories, three novels, seven films, a (back-to-high-school) haircut, a new dog, and a reunion.
I haven't written much since I came home, and that's understating it; then again, I do have the stories for an excuse. The novels and films are a result of my effort to be as non-medical as possible this summer. I am still reeling from Michael Shannon and Michael Fassbender in Take Shelter and Shame, respectively. The haircut is my mother's brainchild, and the dog is adorable and noisy. My sister named her Glinda, so now we have Elphaba the labradour and Glinda the golden retriever.
But last night's reunion is what I mainly want to talk about here.
There is an organization in the province known as the Outstanding Students Circle of Iloilo (OSCI). Every year, it awards ten elementary and ten secondary school students based on their academic grades in school, a list of co-curricular activities, a written examination (ala college entrance exams, but even more challenging), and a personal interview. So yeah, it's pretty tough to make the cut, as everyone - public, private, government, science high school - is mixed in a single category. To be an awardee is virtually to be given lifetime membership to this circle of great people and great things.
The website, including a backgrounder:
And for the curious:
* The top 1 of the elementary and high school categories are tasked to deliver responses on behalf of the awardees.
The high school category awardees, back in March 2009. Pardon the size; I just grabbed this from the website.
OSCI alumni (the awards began in 2006) plus the organizers, April 29, 2012. I surmise there should be at least seventy of us, but there you go. Photo by Queenie Umadhay.
Now if I may insert my warranted opinion: What I really like about this circle is the fact that, unlike elsewhere (that includes scholarly circles of the intellectual elite in college, if you know what I mean), people here don't rub their 'outstanding-ness' in your face. In fact, if you happen to enter a room full of OSCI people, you wouldn't think they're that. The creme de la creme, so to speak, never feeling the need to shout to the world, "Hey, look at me, I'm outstanding!" And that's precisely why it's a prestigious honor to be part of the circle.