Aureliana National High School Person of the Year (APOY) Award is basically an annual recognition – a special award given to a deserving student of Aureliana National High School (ANHS) whom literally like fire, he/she has burning passion for excellence, light show desirable attributes to overcome life’s challenges and difficulties and has able to light up other people’s perspective to strive hard and be successful in life, too.
Believe me or not, heavy water droplets inspired me to start APOY. One afternoon, I was having a haircut in town when it rained suddenly. I looked around and saw people running for shelter but the barber kept on reminding me not to be rowdy or else he cuts my hair uneven, worst injure my ear. But there’s one inevitable sight, a flickering flame hardly moving forward under the pouring rain, which pushed my head to move and witness the drama. Though the barber has proven his threat, it was one of the most heart deep views I have had on my life, the one not shown on YouTube or smart TVs, when we talk about human tenacity to achieve great things in life.
The flame of persistence – that’s what I saw in him as he hardly pushes himself to find shelter under the rain, like other normal people did.
Further, he’s not only persistent for he’s also passionate. I saw his schoolbag lay loosely in front of his flat stomach and as he advances himself by his one hand, the other hand secures the backpack, filled with some books and notes, underneath his uniform. I admit it was somehow heartbreaking to see a person with disability, struggling alone and drenched aboard his wheelchair, in hurry to go home after school because it’s getting dark soon.
Few months past, I saw his face again but now in Facebook after his adviser uploaded some of his photos, congratulating him of his many hard-earned achievements in school. I was so impressed of his feat and it challenged me at the same time to ponder deeply and start sharing my blessings to people like him. Eventually, Elvic Ballenas became our first APOY awardee in 2014.
The APOY award was born because I saw a wheel chaired man on fire under the pouring rain. He probably went home wet and chilled that day but he has proven us that going places requires burning passion and persistence.
Selection of awardee
Submitted nominations were screened accordingly and the committee in-charge headed by the project coordinator select the winner based on the following criteria:
50% – Inspirational quality of true-to-life story
30% – Uniqueness of talent and personality
20% – Academics and extra co-curricular activities
Total = 100%
An awardee receives cash, certificate and a medal sponsored by yours truly and/or other kind people like Mr. Ronilo Victoriano, a seafarer ANHS alumnus. Ronilo granted cash prize in 2016. Hopefully, many more benevolent people would take part on this project in the future.
Yours truly works closely with APOY project school coordinator which is no other than Mrs. Joan D. Gadiana. Even afar, I think of and ensure efficient and full implementation of the project. From preparing guidelines, posting invitations online to crafting certificates, I’m glad to spend my personal resources for APOY. Luckily, Ma’am Joan and the whole ANHS community have been very supportive since the start and that’s what I’m very thankful of.
Let me quote Ferdinand Foch’s words.
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
Achieve great things in life by having FIRE qualities in you.
F – Faith. You must have faith in your God Almighty. He has better plans for you, more than what you usually think of. He is your ultimate shelter under the pouring rain, the wheels of your wheelchair – your sole Creator who could likely set your heart on fire if you ask Him to.
I – Improve. Regularly push yourself to improve your weaknesses. You may feel burn-out sometimes but all your efforts and time spent is worth it. When was the last time you upgraded your well-being? More or less like a machine but with a heart, keep your body regularly updated.
R – Radiate. Flicker like the stars, smile like the moon or brighten up everyone’s world like the sun. The best time to shine according to His purpose, for example, is when a close family member or friend is suffering from the harsh nature of life. And it is by only being true to yourself that you’ll shine naturally.
E – Empower. To help the community does not always mean shedding truckloads of money or other expensive material things. Remember, we help not because we’re required. We help not because we’re superstars or we help not because we’re heroes. We help because we want to and if we just open our hearts, there’s actually a lot of ways to empower other people today. Like the APOY Award, you may draw inspiration from ‘imperfections’, be creative in expressing your kind thoughts and simply offer whatever free resources (i.e. leisure time, well-wishes, talent, etc.) you can afford to share.