It did not work the first time, but that did not prevent them from trying harder. It was not always successful, but present achievements are always built on past failures. Just as the sun rises the next day as surely as we fall into blessed slumber awaiting it, so too did the Sons of Lourdes (SOL) rise to the occasion after repeated attempts. And now they shine brightly.
A Lourdesian alumni movement had existed since at least 1984 when the Lourdes School of Mandaluyong Alumni Association was established on September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of that year. Formed with the main thrust of unifying all alumni who wish to serve their alma mater and uphold its ideals, it was headed by Cesar Augustus M Gutierrez of the Class of 1970, serving as its Chairman. They started with a career seminar program and planned out projects for LSM’s Silver Anniversary. After Atty. Eduardo G. Castelo (’65) was elected President, LSMAA was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock corporation on January 23, 1987. Unfortunately, the movement failed to follow through with its activities and soon froze. But only for a while.
The alumni movement was revived a decade later when, in late 1999, Atty. Castelo returned to the scene and brought new life to LSMAA, with much support from then High School Principal, Mr. Benjamin O. Dayo. After calling a meeting with interested alumni representing the different batches, Atty. Castelo was elected Chairman, with Rene Lladoc Gacuma (’78) as President, Alan D. de Luzuriaga (’82) as Vice-President, and Ramon Emmanuel V. Rivera (’80) as Secretary.
Their first order of business was to organize the Grand Alumni Homecoming at LSM for the school’s 40th anniversary. Despite the complacency that had almost brought the movement to a standstill as was the case more than ten years before, the efforts of Mr. Dayo, Atty. Castelo, and Mr. Gacuma made the event on February 2000 a resounding success. Dubbed LSM@40.alive.well, complete with a souvenir program named ReminisciLSM, the Grand Alumni Homecoming brought together over a thousand alumni, making it the biggest reunion of LSM alumni thus far.
The Class of 1978, led by Mr. Gacuma and his classmate, the dentist Meliton Oliver R. Darvin, was particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of holding more reunions, and they were even looking forward to celebrating their Silver Anniversary as a batch in 2003. In a meeting held in Mr. Darvin’s Shaw Tower Office on September 11, 2001, members of the Class of 1978 – which included Mr. Gacuma, Mr. Darvin, Isagani P. Ferrer, Christopher C. Ramos, Sernoel B. Verano, Juvinal G. Villaran, and Galvin A. Lagera – formed a new alumni organization. In a stroke of genius, Mr. Darvin coined the nascent organization’s name, Sons of Lourdes, after humming the Lourdes Forever hymn. Its acronym, SOL, was also Latin and Spanish for “sun.” The metaphor stuck for the rising sun represented the status and goals of this beginning group. All alumni hence were to be addressed with the title SOL, for they were Sons of Lourdes.
This rising sun soon caught fire in a wave of excitement. On November 30, 2001, several alumni came together to officially establish the Sons of Lourdes (Alumni Association), Inc. The charter officers of SOL were Mr. Gacuma as President, Mr. Darvin as Vice-President and Corporate Secretary, and Mr. Ferrer as Treasurer. Their Senior Advisers were Fr. Rector Edmundo A. Tiamson, OFM Cap. and Atty. Castelo , who has since been honored as the “Father of the LSM Alumni Movement.” A blaze of activities soon ensued, including the first Sons of Lourdes Golf Cup and the first annual Career Symposium Workshop for the graduating Class of 2004. After three years of intense preparation, the Sons of Lourdes (Alumni Association), Inc. was formally launched on February 8, 2003 during its First Congress and Grand Alumni Reunion with the theme “SOL Rising – Let’s Build The Network!” Over 1,300 alumni, faculty, and high school seniors witnessed the Grand Launch, which was opened with a Congress of the newly organized SOL Alumni Council. With 21 LSM batches in attendance, it saw the creation of a new Constitution and By-Laws of SOL, of which Mr. Darvin was the principal author. Later that evening, the official flag of the organization was unfurled as the Hijos de San Francisco sang the SOL hymn. Truly, it was the dawn of a new day. With a solid organization behind them, the Sons of Lourdes were on the rise once again.
The Annual Homecoming is a staple among the many activities organized by SOL. Every year, the illustrious alumni of LSM would gather and rekindle their fraternal bonds. Our alma mater has produced – and continues to nurture – such outstanding men who set out doing great things and embodying the values taught by our school. Ever eager to live out LSM’s philosophy of Becoming Like Christ, LSM alumni always rise like the sun. And like the sun, they are light of the world.