On the afternoon of December 16, 2013, the humid noonday air clung to me like an aura. I had not yet acclimated myself to the tropical climate, as it had only been a week since my team had returned home to the Philippines from Guangzhou, China where we had spent the last six weeks as part of the Xavier China Experience (XCE). Now, we were all back in Xavier to attend the closing ceremonies, to close this chapter in all our lives.
Even though the ceremony was scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m., most of the XCE participants and a number of the parents arrived at the MPC at around 1:30 p.m. wearing formal attire. To pass the time, the students were chatting with their supervisors or catching up with groupmates. The parents, meanwhile, could view the Art or Science exhibit that the students had set up on the floor above. When all participants and parents had arrived, the ceremony began.
To start the ceremony, a solemn Thanksgiving Mass was presided by Fr. Aristotle Dy, SJ, the School President. What followed the Mass was a sharing of experiences by two students from XCE to the community of parents present. After all this, diplomas from the South China Normal University were given out by Fr. Ari with intermissions in between provided by the XCE participants. These intermissions included Wushu and Tai-chi demonstrations by both teams, Filipino video blogs created by students, videos about our experiences during the bonfire on Shangchuan Island, and a video made by the XCE Guangzhou community during the feast of St. Francis Xavier. A picture taking ensued followed by a light merienda.
Overall, this ceremony was a perfect way to end the program. After six weeks of perseverance, dedication, and hard work, we, the XCE Guangzhou participants got to enjoy, sit back and look at the product of all our efforts. All the time we spent working on our projects had paid off when we saw the joy on our parents’ faces while they were viewing our exhibit. Moreover, the talks given were light and humorous, while the intermissions lightened the formality of the event. In that moment, I was glad to be back home, but even more glad to have been part of this amazing XCE community.