On burning chairs, vandalism and tuition hikes

This past few days, the country has been talking about the the news of the a University of the Philippines Manila student killing herself for failing to pay her tuition fee. Twitter and Facebook posts shows outrage over UP Manila’s no late payment policy which caused the life of the freshman student Kristel Tejada.

Because of that incident, several protests erupted again pointing on tuition fee hikes and unfair bracketing of STFAP. With several online and physical protests, UP Manila administrators were forced to suspend the implementation of the no-late payment policy. But protest didn’t stop at that as some student activists go on vandalizing walls of UP Manila.

UPvandalism

Photo taken from Facebook. Credits to the owner/s

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Warriors of Education, Angels of Learning (Hatid Karunungan 2012)

After we appealed for help last month, we are happy to report that our Balik – Eskwela Hatid Karunungan 2012 Project was a success.

Last Saturday, June 2, 2012, we trooped to Cabading Elemtary School in San Jose Antipolo City, Rizal to hand-over all the donations that we have collected. Despite the heavy rains brought by typhoon Ambo, we still proceed with the scheduled turn-over of donations. Its just a little sad that majority of the students that were supposed to meet us already went home due to strong rains.

It was the teachers who received us in the school. They were very thankful and very happy for all the school supplies that we brought. Upon arrival they let us (members of HKC) to roam around the school perimeter to see its current situation. And it was a consensus from all the members that indeed they need help from kind-hearted individuals to somehow improve their school facilities. Picture takings followed after while we wait for the rain to subside.

It was indeed another successful project for our org. We thank all the sponsors and donors who have shared their money and other who have given school supplies for the students of Cabading Elementary School. Our contributions will be forever appreciated, because in our small ways we were able to somehow help less fortunate students who strive hard to finish their education despite their situation in life. They may not be able to re-pay us for the help we did for them but knowing they’ll be able to get the education they need is more than enough payment.

And I also believe that kindness is paid forward, that in due time they will also help students who needs their help and will continue the cycle of Education Warriors and Angels of Learning.

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“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”  – John Wooden

Hatid Karunungan 2012 : An Appeal for Help

For more than 4 years now, our organization (HKC Inc.) has been doing outreach programs to fulfill our mission of helping our less fortunate kababayans. In our 4 years of existence, we were able to help 3 children orphanages, 1 home for the aged and 1 public elementary school. We are also currently sponsoring 6 children in Aklan through the sponsorship program by the World Vision Foundation Inc. And for this year we are again gearing up to help another public elementary school for our Hatid Karunungan 2012 outreach project.

In continuing our Balik-Eskwela program which we have started last year in Jose A. Gallardo Sr. Elementary School in Magdapio Pagsanjan, Laguna, we will now extend our hands to Cabading Elementary School in San Jose Antipolo City.

Cabading Elementary School is a public elementary school located at Sitio Cabading Brgy. San Jose Antipolo City. It operates kinder to grade 6 with double emergency classes for grades 3 and 4 due to lack of classrooms.

We chose this school because as you can see in the pictures, they really need help considering the situation of their classrooms. They don’t have strong school buildings which is an important factor for an institution to be conducive to learning. Teachers also said that since their pupils came from not wealthy families they also lack some school supplies like pencils and papers which the teachers often times took from their own money just to give to them. Slippers is also one problem to some students who came to school with worn-out feet covers mainly because most of them just walk their way to school.

Part also of the school’s program is their feeding program. To help their pupils achieve daily nutritional needs, the teachers are providing them with foods, but their problem is lack of cooking materials and utensils. They are currently utilizing just 1 cooking pot for all the students, that is why they have to resort to several batches of cooking. If they could only have more than 1 cooking pot, then their feeding program will be more efficient and fast.

Education is indeed an important need of everyone. It should not be a privilege but a right of every individual. As Dr. Jose Rizal said “Ang Kabataan ang Pag-Asa ng ating Bayan” and there’s no better way of achieving that but through education.

So let’s help Cabading Elementary School and its students realize their dreams. Let us help them achieve the rightful education entitled to them. Let us give them the chance to experience a more convenient learning environment.

Interested donors and sponsors may contact us at hkcfinc@yahoo.com or you can also contact me through my personal email addresses available at the About NiteWriter page. You can also check us at our FB Page. Any donations big or small will be greatly appreciated, because it will be a contribution to the kids future.

*The event will be on June 2, 2012 and anyone who are interested to join us for the turn-over of donations are most welcome to be with us on that day.

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“Education is more than a luxury, it is a responsibility that society owes to itself” – Robin Cook

Raoul Angelo Atadero Topped 2011 Bar Exams (2011 Philippine Bar Exams Result)

Among the 6,200 law graduates to took the Bar exam last year it was Ateneo Law Graduate Raoul Angelo Atadero who got the top spot.

Announced by 2011 Bar Exams Chairman Justice Roberto Abad this afternoon at the Supreme Court, Atadero with an average of 85.5%, bested other examiness to be this year’s BAR top notcher. Together with him in the top 10 were

2. Luz Danielle O.Bolong als from Ateneo de Manila University with the average of  84.56%
3. Cherry Liez O. Rafal-Roble of Arellano University with 84.46%
4. Rosemil R. Bañaga of Notre Dame University getting 84.1%
5. Christian Louie C. Gonzales of University of Sto. Tomas with 84.12%
6. Ivan M. Bandal from Silliman University getiing 84.09 %
7. Eireene Xina M. Acosta of San Beda College with 84.07%
8. Irene Marie P. Qua another from Ateneo de Manila University getting 84.06%
9. Elaine Marie G. Laceda of Far Eastern University-DLSU (Juris Doctor-MBA) with the an average of 84.04%
10. Rodolfo Q. Aquino of San Beda College with 83.73%

It was noted that this year’s Bar was among the highest percentage of passers at 1,913 out of 6,200 examinees or 31%. And notably no one from the UP College of Law made it to the top 10 this year.

Complete list of the names of 2011 passers can be viewed here.

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School Homecoming

Speaking in front of an audience was never my forte but I always dream of it cause I want to impart inspiration to those who will listen to whatever I have to say. Last April 1, I was given the opportunity to address the graduating class of Gagalot-Taytay Elementary School (my former Elementary School). I was never surprised as I have long envisioned it will come to that point. (I think I’m a clairvoyant.kidding.) When I was told the theme of the commencement exercise, I felt relieved cause that was the topic I really want to be speaking about “Youth’s Role in Social Transformation”.

The preparation towards the day is quite intense, thinking of what to wear, how should I look like, while at the same time preparing for the “script”. Writing the speech is something more arduous (although I love the theme), I find it hard to make the speech short and concise, taking into consideration also that my audience are grade school pupils. I want as much as possible to use simple words that the kids will enjoy to listen to avoid them from falling into sleep. Weeks have past and I have yet to finalize my rhetoric, not until the day before the event. At the night before the graduation I have finally came out with the final version of the speech that I will be reading in front of them.

On the day itself all the anxiety disappeared. It was a nice homecoming having been welcomed by the school principal who used to be my Grade 1 teacher. During the ceremonies I can’t help but be nostalgic on the days when I’m still studying there. Seeing the kids on the graduation gowns and cap, I suddenly felt “Am I that Old”. But I just convinced myself, no “I am the youngest graduation speaker to have stood in this stage” (lol).

After all the rites and ceremonial process on that day, then came my turn to take the stage. After being introduced by the Emcee, I then held the rostrum and started to deliver. With my script being held in front of me, I just suddenly broke into my innate talkative nature and forgot to follow what I have strenuously written. All the bubbles of nervousness popped out as all the words just came out of my mouth unstoppable. And after (I think) 20 minutes of talk, I’ve concluded my “lecture”.

Seeing the smile of my parents who was there watching in front of me and the smiles of the parents, the teachers of the students, I just felt, “mission accomplished”, my job is done. I may not have uttered the most brilliant words during that day but I know in simple talk I have made them believe that they can do something to fuel the change that our country needs. That the torch of hope is still burning and that hey only need to hold onto it and share it to others so that light will spread.

Below is the transcript of the speech I have delivered.

District Superintendent Dr. Merandilla
Mayor Filo Guera and Members of the Municipal and Barangay Councils
Principal Ma’am Myrna Dorado
Faculty Members
Parents
Graduating class of 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Afternoon!

Before I start let me first congratulate all the graduates and their parents. At bago ako magsimula may ipapagawa muna ako sa inyo. Mga graduates pede bang lapitan nyo ang inyong mga parents at bigyan nyo sila ng isang mahigpit na yakap at matamis na halik. (ok thank you, pede na ulit kayo umupo)

It’s an honor for me that after 17 yrs, I’m standing here again on this stage to speak in front of you. It was in 1994 when I was also standing here delivering my valedictory speech in front of my fellow graduates of Batch ’94. Di ko na nga maalala yung speech ko nun, and unfortunately nawala na rin yung copy ko. 17 yrs may be long enough, pero sa bilis ng takbo ng panahon at mga pagbabagong nagaganap, masasabi kong ang mga araw na yon ay parang kailan lang.

As I looked back on those days, I saw that many changes and transformations have already transpired. Nung mga panahong yun hindi pa kame covered court kaya tiis kame sa init ng araw during our graduation and any events na ginagawa dito. Hindi pa rin sementado yang kalsada naten kaya lupa yung nilalakaran namen para lang makapasok. In fact sa loob ng classroom eh nakapaa kame at ung mga tsinelas ay iniiwan sa labas para hindi magkadumi ang classroom. Yung ibang school buildings din ay hindi pa nakatayo and wala pa kameng sementadong bakod nun, kaya madali magcutting class, pero hindi ko naman po yata ginawa yun or hindi ko lang maalala. hehehe. Kaya masasabi ko na maswerte kayo ngayon. You are experiencing more convenient school environment than what we have before. May bumubyahe nang sasakyan kaya pag tinatamad kayong maglakad pede na kayong sumakay. Nung kame walang choice kundi maglakad, pero masaya naman kasi we walk in groups kaya kulitan din pagpasok at paguwi. Isa pa alam ko mas malalaki na ang mga binibigay sa inyong baon ngayon tama ba? Siguro mababa na yung 10pesos na baon ninyo sa isang araw? Nung panahon ko ang pinakamalaki kong naging baon is 2 pesos. Kung sabagay mura pa kasi nuon ang mga tinda, yung isang tasa nga ng lugaw namen sa canteen ay bentsingko lang, tapos may tinapay na tig singkwenta lang. Nauso din samen nuon yung mga tornohan, ngayon ba may gumagawa pa sa inyo nun or alam nyo ba kung ano yung tornohan? Uso samen yun dati eh, mangongolekta araw araw ng bentsingko yata tas yung maiipon ibibigay dun sa sasahod ng torno per week. It’s some sort of learning how to save from our baon na rin at yun ang nagturo saken pano magmanage at magpahalaga sa pera. Kung inaakala po ninyo na mayaman kame hindi po, siguro medyo nakakangat sa iba pero hindi po kame mayaman at hindi rin po kame pinalaki sa luho. Nagpapsalamat nga po ako sa mga magulang ko kasi tinuruan nila kame ng kapatid ko na maging kuntento sa kung anong meron kame. Although nag-aabroad po ang tatay namen nuon, naibibili lang po kame ng bagong damit pag pasko or may special occasions lang. At masasabi ko po na tumatak talaga saken yung aral na yun kasi hanggang ngayon ay nadala ko pa rin. Tulad ngayon na kahit medyo maganda na yung sweldo ko, bumibili lang po ako ng mga gamit na talgang kelangan ko. Hindi ako yung tipo ng tao na bumibili dahil lang sa uso yan or dahil may ganyan yung kaibigan ko. Bibili lang ako pag gusto ko nang bilhin yung gusto ko at pag talagang kelangan ko ung bagay na un. Kaya kayong mga gradutes kung kaya nyo magipon from your baon gawin nyo kasi hindi madaling kitain ang pera. Siguro yung iba sa inyo hingi lang ng hingi no, tas yung iba nagagalit pa sa nanay or tatay pag hindi napagbigyan. Lagi ninyong tandaan hindi nila pinupulot ang pera, pinaghihirapan nila yun, malalaman nyo rin yan pag nagtatrabaho na kayo. Ok tama na nga sa mga reminiscing part baka magkaiayakan pa tayo dito. Lets go down to the business now, bakit ba kayo andito at bakit rin ba ako andito.

Graduation maybe as sweet as a candy, but it doesnt end here. The journey to learning is a never ending process, especially that we are living in a community of people who are expected to work with each other. Yes indeed its a moment of celebration for you and your parents as you have just finished the initial process in the ladder of education, but it doesn’t end here. This is another start to a more complex stages of studies that you need to endure and work hard again. As what Dr. Jose Rizal said ‘Ang Kabataan ang Pag-asa ng Bayan’, you, including us youths of today are entrusted a task to build this country, to make efforts in tranforming our weakenign society. And what’s the best way to achive that is through Education. We need to educate ourselves so that we can share our talents and skills to our community. Each one of us is an important unique part of our society, we cannot propel our country into the progress that we dream if we will not contribute on its realization.

Siguro iniisip nyo na bata lang kayo at wala kayong magagawa, at siguro iniisip nyo na yung achievements nyo ngayon na nakatapos na kayo ay magagamit nyo lang para sa sarili nyo at sa pamilya ninyo, ngayon pa lang sinasabi ko sa inyo, kailangan kayo ng ating bayan. Lahat kayo, lahat tayo ay may responsibilidad para sa bawat isa sa ating pamayanan. diba nga may kasabihan tayo na ‘No man is an island’, ibig sabihin nun, dapat tayo magtulungan at makibahagi sa bawat isa kung gusto naten maaiangat ang ating pamayanan. Lahat tayo ay dapat makilahok kasi kung palagi na lang tayo hindi kikibo at hindi kikilos, yung para bagang tanggap na lang ng tanggap ng kung anong meron, hindi talaga tayo uusad. Sabi nga ni Maria Ressa sa isa nyang tweet or sa isang article yata un, wala raw karapatan magreklamo sa hindi magandang serbisyo ng gobyerno ang mga taong hindi naman bumoboto. Para lang din yan yung mga todo mangarap na sana manalo sa lotto pero hindi naman tumataya, di ba walang nangyayari at nanatiling pangarap na lamang. Tamang tama lang na sa edad ninyo ay matututunan nyo na ang concept ng ‘Social Responsiblity’ (narinig nyo na ba yung term na yun?) Kung hindi pa, madali lang yun maintindihan,isipin nyo na lang ang isang laro na pang grupo. Diba para manalo ang grupo nyo dapat lahat kikilos, lahat may parte kung anong gagawin, kasi kung may isa dyan na hindi ginawa yung parte nya, kahit gaano katalino or kagaling ang mga miyembro ng team nyo, hinding hindi kayo mananalo. Ganun din ang social responsibility, lahat tayo dapat nagtutulungan lahat tayo dapat ginagawa ang parte naten para maisakatuparan naten yung pagbabago na matagal na naten minimithi. napakasimple lang naman kung pano gawin yun eh, wag magpasaway. Ako aaminin ko minsan nagpapsaway din ako, especially sa Manila pag nakasakay ako sa bus, tapos pag bababa na ko, hindi ako ititigil sa lugar kung saan ako pumara kasi may tamang babaan. Minsan naiinis ako sa drive, kasi imbes na bababa ako dun sa dapat kong puntahan paglalakarin pa ko. Pero tama naman yun driver diba, sinusunod lang nya yung batas na may tamang babaan. Alam ko marami dito ang minsan ganyan din yung pagiisip na para maging pabor or komportable saten eh magpapsaway sa kung ano yung tama at dapat. Isa pa sa basura, nagkalat na nga ang mga basurahan at may nakalagay pa kung nabubulok at hindi nabubulok pero nagtatapon pa rin sa kung saan saan at sa hindi tamang lalagyan ng basura. Pero may dahilan dyan, dahil dun tayo lumaki, yun ang sistemang kinagisnan naten at yan ang pinakasagabal kung bakit hanggng ngayon pangarap pa rin ang pagunlad naten. Kung napapanood nyo yung hearing ng corruption sa AFP,(nanonood ba kayo ng balita?) sabi nung isang general na nakakurakot ng milyon milyon, kaya daw nya ginawa yun kasi yun na daw yung dinatnan nya, yun na daw yung sistema na inabutan nya, kaya sumunod na lang sya. Bakit daw nya iibahin eh nakikinabang naman sya. Oo nga naman, bakit nga naman nya pipigilan yung ganung sistema eh dahil dun nagiging kumportable ang kanilang pamumuhay. Hindi na nya inisip na maraming naghihirap na Pilipino dahil sigruo hindi nya naisabuhay yung concepto nang social responsibility. At yan ang hamon sa inyo mga graduates, dahil bata pa kayo, kaya nyo pang baguhin ang sistema, kaya pa naten baguhin kung anong dinantnan naten para yung mga susunod sa atin tamang sistema na yung susundan nila. Diba napakagandang buhay ang nagaabang sa mga magiging anak at apo naten na maunald na pamayanan na yung kalalakihan nila, na disiplinado na ang lahat at nagtutulungan. Lahat nman yan nasa isip lang eh, tignan nyo ngayon ang Lucban, sino pang magaakala na maipapatupad nila ang zero plastic campaign nila. Alam ko nung unang nipropose yan eh tiyak marami rin ang kumontra na kesyo ang hirap mamimili na walang plastic bag at kung ano-ano pa, pero ngayon lahat sila bayong at paper bags na ang ginagamit, at nagawa nila yun kasi lahat ng mamamayan ay nakiisa at nakilahok para sa pagbabago na yun. Wala naman talaga imposible kung magkakaisa at makikilahok ang lahat eh. Sana nga dito saten gawin rin yun eh (maari po kaya yun Mayor). Kasi napakalaking bawas sa basura at tulong sa ating kalikasan talga kung mababawasan ang paggamit ng mga plastic.

Maraming bagay talaga ang magagawa naten para sa pagbabgo ng ating bayan at marami rin tayong magagawa para sa ating mga kababayan kung gugustuhin lang naten. Hindi po sapat na dahilan na, mahirap lang kame hindi ko kayang tumulong. Kilala nyo ba si Kuya Ef, si Efren Peñaflorida, ung CNN hero last year. Diba hindi rin naman sya mayaman at bata pa rin sya nung sinimulan niya yung Kariton Classroom nya. Pero dahil sa determinsyon at paniniwala at pagnanais nya na tumulong at baguhin ang kapalaran nung mga batang hindi nag-aaral sa lugar nila eh nagtagumpay sya sa hangarin niya. Kung maikwento ko na rin po, currently ako po ay head ng isang organization na noon ay inakala kong hanggang pangarap lang din. Matagal ko na po kasi talaga pangarap na magkaron ng isang charity foundation na tutulong sa mga nangangailangan. Syempre nung bata pa ko at nagaaral pa lang, kala ko hindi ko kaya kasi hindi naman nga kame mayaman inisip ko na hindi ko kayang abutin yung pangarap na yun. Nung nagkatrabaho po ako, nanatili yung pangarap na yun, hanggang isang araw ng December 2007, nagiisip ako, ano kaya magandang Christmas gift na hindi para sa sarili ko pero para sa mga ibang tao. Kasi po sa manila dami ko nakakasalubogn sa kalye na mga nananamilos, mga taong grasa at matatanda na parang inabandona na ng kanilang mga pamilya. Tapos sa hilig kong makinig nga radio (DZMM), lagi ko naririnig kay Karen Davila yung World Vision na sa halagang 400 per month daw ay pede ka na kumuha ng isang batang scholar. Naisip ko kumuha kaya ako ng isa, kasi ang mura 400 pesos tas mapagaaral mo na yung isang bata. Kinausap ko yung ilang barkada ko sa office namen, sabi ko kuha tayo ng scholar sa World Vision, tig 100 tayo (nagtipid pa rin eh no). eh pumayag naman sila. Tapos nalaman din nung ibang ka-opisina namen yung balak namen na project ayus sumali na rin sila kasi sabi sabi nila gusto din nila ng mga ganung charirty work, at the same time mura lang naman. Ayun nagstart sa 6 hanggan sa umabot ng 30 yung members namen nun taon na un, so bago magpasko ng 2007, imbes na 1 bata lang, 6 na bata po yung na-sponsor namen. Hanggang ngayon continuos pa rin yung pagdami ng memeber, merong nawawala pero mas marami naman yung pumapalit, kaya for 3yrs ng org namen may nagawa na po kame ng 3 outreach programs, 2 sa bahay ampunan at 1 sa home for the aged plus yung tuloy tuloy na scholarship program namen dun sa 6 na bata. Tapos this coming school opening at may nakaschdule kameng back to school outreach program sa isang public elementary school sa Pagsanjan,Laguna. Yung High School batch naman po namen, nagkasundo rin nun nag reunion kame na kumuha ng 1 scholar sa Liceo, yung scholar po namen eh 4th yr na sa pasukan. Ganito po yung sinasabi ko na ang pagtulong at pakikilahok sa pagbabgo ng ating pamayanan ay hindi tumitingin sa edad at kalagayan sa buhay. Maaring bata lang, pero kung maraming bata naman ang magututulungan ay marami pa rin pagbabagong maisasakatuparan.

Isa rin po itong hamon sa ating mga magulang, dahil kung ang mga kabataan ang pag-asa nang bayan, ang mga magulang naman po ang pagasa ng ating mga kabataan. Kasi kayo po ang magiging ehemplo or modelo nila. Diba sabi nga kung anong ginagawa ng mga matanda ay syang ginagawa ng mga bata, kaya dapat po ipakita naten sa mga anak naten,na sang-ayon tayo sa pagbabago, na kaisa tayo sa paghuhubog ng ating pamayanan. Kasi kung magulang na mismo ang pasaway ano pang aasahan naten sa mga anak diba. Tulad nung sa Willing Willie (napanood nyo po ba?), no offesement po sa mga fans ni Willie, ako naman eh natutuwa rin minsan sa kanya. Pero minsan nga lang eh sumosobra na. Napanood nyo po ba si Jan-Jan, yung batang pinagsayaw na parang macho dancer sa Willing willie. Yung magulang mismo ang nagturo ng mga ganung bagay dun sa bata, so pag laki nun iisipin nun na tama lang yung ginagawa nya kasi yun ang pagapapalaki sa kanya ng magulang nya eh. Mahalaga po ang tungkulin naten sa ating mga anak kasi tayo ang lagi nilang nakakasama. Dapat tayo ang magtuturo sa kanila kung ano ang tama at mali at dapat nakikita nila na isa tayo sa mga nagsusulong ng pagbabago dahil para rin yun sa kanila. Sabi ko nga po, lahat tayo at parte ng formula ng pagbabago, kung ipagwawalang bahala naten yun ay mananatili nalang tayo sa kasalukuyan naten kalagayan.kaya kung hindi pa po tayo nag-uumpisa para maging socially responsible, umpisahan na po naten. Sabi nga sa bagong staion id ng ABS-CBN (napanood nyo na po ba) BIDA BEST ngayong tag-araw, kaya umpisahan na po naten maging BIDA BEST MAGULANG para sa ating mga anak at para sa ating komunidad. Kasi ang pamayanang nagkakaisa nagtatamasa ng ginhawa.

I think I have talked long enough (baka inaantok na kayo). let me just sum it up. Education is an empowerment to every individual. It gives us wisdom and intellect to make us competitive in this world. But this intellect that we acquire should not only be use for our personal gains. We live in a society and we share with the world’s resources, so it is nothing else but fair to share also our skills and talent to our fellowmen who are also part of the community we live in. We are responsible for ourselves and our love ones but we also have social responsibility to our fellowmen. Social change and transformation may look impossible for some but with our collective efforts and joined hands we can reach the change that we longed wanted. Just push for it, keep on trying, keep on moving, cause the only thing that can stop us from changing is to stop wanting to change. As what Michael Dell of the Dell Corporation said “It just takes hard work and a dream. Most who finally leave this school never imagine that they’re going to change the world. Yet every one of you will. How you change the world, is all up to you to decide”. So decide to change the world and it will change, work to change the world and it will. We just need to focus on the change the we want and work on it. Live to inspire and live to encourage. As what the singer Jim Paredes said “If you can inspire yourself, You can inspire Others”. So be the inspiration of change and be the change that the our country needs.

Again congratulations to all the graduates, last bit of advice, BE A READER, read, read read. You can learn so many things in reading and through reading you can be informed of whats happening in our society so you will know how you can respond to the call of social responsibility.

Thank you very much and again Good Afternoon.

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“Speak not to make an Impression but to give an Inspiration.”