The Dark Horse
by Johann Patrick Javier
From the start of the school year, there is no denying that there was already a stigma and generalization imposed on the GA strand. It has been said that students from the GA strand are incompetent, and that they are a bunch of waitlisted, sub-par, and average students.
From the get go, the GA strand has gained a negative perception in the Ateneo Senior High School community. Although they have been boxed in by these ideas and perceptions, it did not affect them as a community. The students of the GA strand have gone to prove their worth and potential as a strand and as a community.
Starting from the first half of the first semester, various GA students went out to prove how multi-faceted and unique they are as a strand. In the area of debate, GA students Julia Ocoma of 11-Favre and Nicole Masagca of 11-Chabanel have become distinguished in the various debating circuits in the Philippines and internationally. Nicole Masagca made a break through as the first female debater to win an overall best speaker award in the IDeA Lite tournament during September. On the other hand, Julia Ocoma of 11-Favre will be representing the Philippines and Asia at the Cambridge Schools Debating Competition in February. In the field of literature, the strand has Alpheus Llantero who won third place in the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial awards last September 2, 2016.
Even in the areas of sports, GA students have broken records and won awards for the school. In basketball, Allen Tanedo, George Baldwin, Dave Ildefonso and SJ Belangel have represented the GA strand. The strand also had the likes of Austine Dy and Diego Montes and Joaquin Baradi winning in the Quezon City Athletic Association (QCAA) Championships, along with even more individuals who have properly represented the natural abilities and the talent that is present in the GA strand.
When we consider these facts before us, it is clearly seen that the GA strand can compete with the best in both areas of smarts or of sports. The GA strand is not simply a group of people who are indecisive of the career paths they will be taking nor are they people who did not meet the standard, but rather, a group that exemplifies diversity and ability in one package.
The GA strand is the dark horse which nobody thought would succeed, but here it is gaining awards from competitions, locally and internationally, left and right. These students have proven themselves and still are aiming to do more than what people expected from them.
The Right Path For You: Choosing GA
by Anya Dael
Other academic strands are often recommended more than the General Academics (GA) strand for its lack of assigned specialized subjects aligned to a sure set of careers. While this is true, it should not be a hindrance for junior high school students who are considering taking GA for senior high school.
Since the GA strand offers students the choice of choosing their own set of specialized subjects for Grade 12, the strand is composed of students with different backgrounds and aspirations. This allows for students to be exposed to different perspectives, leading to meaningful discussions and conversations that broadens one’s horizons which allows them to see beyond own opinions and ideas.
Many people might not realize this, but even some students in other strands are unsure of what they want to pursue in the future. A diverse environment may not fully solve this dilemma, but it may help iron out some of the questions one has about a certain path they want to take.
When it comes to choosing specialized subjects to take up for Grade 12, students will be given the chance to explore and take up subjects of different strands that they think will boost their career as opposed to choosing just subjects of one strand. Students will be able to more or less grasp an idea of what they want to do or what they can do at the present after a year in the senior high school and getting a feel of the environment.
In the end, what truly matters is what your heart tells you to do. Whether it tells you to chase your passion or to explore and exhaust the many possibilities before making a definite choice or to go against the odds: do what you think is right and don’t let anyone stop you.
BREAKING STEREOTYPES: AN OPEN LETTER
By Anette Tanquintic
“My first choice was STEM dapat eh, kaso napadpad ako dito.”
“ABM dapat ako pero napasok ako sa GA eh.”
I could make a list of commentaries by people who have said different variations of the same thing over and over again, giving off the “I’m-not-supposed-to-be-here-but then-here-I-am” vibe whenever asked about what track they chose initially. It was as though being under the GA Strand was a sort of taboo, its name shrouded in a mist of uncertainty and embarrassment. Why though?
Until now, I do not understand it; I do not comprehend the mental processes of people within society to be able to give a stigma on one aspect of the newly passed Philippine educational system that hasn’t even begun yet. Oh wait, I just recalled now.
When I was in 10th grade, a teacher of mine told the class that we had four strands to pick from, that being the strands we know now: STEM, HUMMS, ABM, and GA. Ending the description of GA on this note, the teacher said “Gawin niyo ito third choice niyo. As much as possible, don’t be undecided.” I must add as well that this teacher of mine was not the only person to promote that suggestion (I learned from my other friends outside my previous school as well that they were told the same thing).
Thus, I must conclude that it seems as though being “undecided” is a bad thing. This has lead to other stereotypes concerning people within the GA.
Kaya nasa GA ka kasi undecided ka. Undecided ka kasi bobo ka. Undecided ka kasi wala kang direksyon sa buhay. Undecided ka kasi iba yung mga priorities mo (in reference to partying and chasing around the opposite sex).
Because of this, here you have people in GA labeled as fuccbois and fuccgals, the famous description of being “mga patapon”, stupid wait-listers and jocks, drug-users, party-goers, and rejects. All in all, being in GA makes you “undecided” which makes you less of an intelligent human being thus a disgrace to the rest of society.
And with this, I find it very sad. In an era where we fight for rights and self-expression, you berate on a person’s individuality and assume their personality and choices just because they can’t make up their mind on what to do for the future?
A year ago, I received my acceptance letter from the Ateneo stating that I would be placed under the General Academic Strand.
From my observations, the General Academic Strand is filled with a variety of people who aren’t limited to only the 3 fixed strands. It holds future artists and athletes. You have actors and speakers, scientists and leaders. You have multitalented people and sharp minds. It is more than just a “General Academic” curriculum, as boring and bland as it sounds. It is what makes the GA strand unique. As this school year is nearing its end, here I am about to share the most significant thing I learned about being in GA despite all of this unnecessary drama and backlash.
No matter what reason it is for them to be in GA, no one has the authority scrutinize people in the strand. No one has the right to judge the strand itself. Comparatively, the negativity encapsulating the GA is its own discrimination just like racism and gender shaming. Just because GA is “general”, or “sounds boring”, or intended for “undecided” individuals, it doesn’t make it any far less than STEM, HUMMS, or ABM. It is its own strand with its own distinction. It is a strand that deserves to be treated equally and not clouded with negative stigma.
All of this boils down to just one word: Respect.