"A School is known by the Character of its Alumni."
These words signify the major role the Alumni of the Sisters of Mary School-Cebu has to play in helping shape the Sisters of Mary Schools past, present and future. As alumni, each member has a continuing role in the fortunes of the school.
It is in this great desire that the Alumni Association came into inception with its very formidable rallying vision: Putting Current and Future Alumni First: Together Serving the Lord with Joy.
Looking Back at our Past
The Alumni Association started from small gatherings of graduates and also as a social network, with the intention of getting reconnected with old classmates and peers, getting up-to-date information about them and their whereabouts. Informal alumni gatherings were set and scheduled and was started in almost all places where alumni members gather and converge.
After graduation, a group of first batch graduates started going back to the Sisters of Mary School campus to get updates about the school and their other batch mates. After several times of getting together, they decided to form an association and named it Sisters of Mary Alumni Association. The inception of the SMAA was the brainchild of a group of graduates composed of Al Beronque, Jory Fornolles, Nero Dedicatoria, Ian Bautista, Lorifel Amihan, Ricardo Villamor and other first batch graduates. Activities and projects realized during these times includes the issuance of Membership Cards and the conduct of the activity Raffle for a Cause. After several months, the organization seized to function due to lack of moral support from the school and the loss of interest on the side of the graduates.
Even if the great collective effort of getting graduates together with the inception of the SMAA failed, this did not hamper the other graduates in other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao to go on and form their own groups. Regional groups started to sprout out and graduates started gathering, sharing and serving each other. Very well known regional groups are the Davao Association and the Iloilo Association.
Graduates working at MEPZ in Lapu-lapu City joined the bandwagon and started their own group. In 2002, a group of 9th batch graduates started to hold reunions and gatherings during special occasions like birthdays and holidays. Towards the end of 2002, 10th batch graduates were welcomed to the group and 11th batch graduates were added towards the middle of 2003. With more and more graduates joining, the group started a small organization and called it The Sisters of Mary Graduates Cooperative. Notable accomplishments of the group included making a donation for the 2004 Foundation Day and the issuance of membership identification cards.
In September 27, 2005, a group of First Batch graduates (1994) created a mailing list on Yahoo Groups and named the group: SMS-Cebu-1994. As the name suggests, the group started with most of its members from the First Batch, both from the Boystown and the Girlstown. The group site was used as a venue for communicating with batchmates from the different regions.
With more and more alumni joining, the need to expand was addressed with the creation of the SMS Cebu Kumustahan portal on October 17, 2006. The portal was on a free webhosting site and uses the URL http://sms-cebu-kumustahan.50webs.org. Features such as the Forums, Message Boards and the Live chat were added to better serve the group.
In the forums, discussion on the creation of a more sophisticated website started. Discussions include topics like the creation of the logo, the domain name that will be used, and how to finance the webhosting and domain for the website.
While small groups started to make their presence felt, an umbrella organization of the Sisters of Mary Alumni Association based in Manila was created in the Cebu campuses with Glenn Velmonte as the president. In April of 2006, Velmonte resigned. With his resignation, Emerson D. Peteros became the president and the group came to a decision of creating an independent Alumni Association. Thus, the inception of the Alumni of the Sisters of Mary School-Cebu, Incorporated. Notable achievements during this period includes the issuance of ASMSI identification cards, the kick-off of the Father Als Cup (Sportsfest) and the conduct of the General Reunion party in 2006. In the Annual General Alumni Reunion in March of 2008, Elizabeth Casing was elected as the new president of the Association.
Living the Present
The establishment of a new Alumni Association, enabled with the guidance of its elected leaders, drew a high level of enthusiasm and interest from the graduates. More and more graduates started to know of the different gatherings and started to join in the different activities planned for the enjoyment of everyone.
The splurge of ideas started to happen and the thought of coming up with a website, in an effort to reach out to all Alumni of the Sisters of Mary Schools, lingered on the mind of a few very talented individuals. Putting forth their best efforts and collective thoughts, the website www.sms-cebu.org was unveiled to the public on October 5, 2007. The website was designed by the Great WebMaster Reynaldo Tablada. Launching the website became possible with the initial financial support of Arlene Tan and Mario Acson, both first batch graduates. Ruben Rallos and Veronica Timbang worked on the logo design and the domain name was finalized after several discussions with some first batch graduates headed by Ian Bautista. Ruben Rallos is also credited for designing templates and animated images used in the website.
As more and more graduates come and visit the site each day, more and more features are added almost every week. As of this writing, 1 232 graduates have registered and it is expected that the number will keep on growing in the days to come.
The website played a vital role in linking all the graduates. With the great desire of serving the graduates, more and more features will be added.
With the help of the website, the officers of the Association, found a very reliable assistant in itself. Different planned activities are conveyed to the Graduates online and so as plans and other projects that would be implemented. Thus, increasing the number of graduates are getting more aware and involved with the Association.
Presently, the Association is headed by a new president. Annual activities are set and scheduled. Some of these well-attended activities are the Annual Alumni Reunion and the Annual Sportsfest.
Foreseeing and Securing the Future
Every graduate is hooked to a tie to the Sisters of Mary School, which the Alumni Association was created to maintain. In order to do this, the Alumni Association is thinking of several ways to preserve that tie that bonds every graduate to the Sisters of Mary School. Some of these will be addressed with the maintenance of the Alumni website:
keeping graduates informed of the different events and happenings within the school through the EVENT online invitation and confirmation; participate in the selection of new leaders through Online Voting; and the use of online application for the use services as provided by the School and the Alumni Association. As the Associations leaders engage themselves in planning for the future, they are putting forth their best efforts in their great desire to help secure the future of not just the Alumni of the Sisters of Mary School itself but also of the Sisters of Mary School in general.
Henceforth, valuing and realizing the fact that the Future of the Sisters of Mary School lies in the hands of its Alumni.