January 10, 2011. It was the exact date when my mother and I went to ERDA and finished the application form in the Registrar’s Office. I can still remember that day when I had to show I could speak English fluently. I even laughed that day when my mother tried to connect to the school’s Wi-Fi. I went there wearing my elementary school uniform and loved the place when I saw the garden in the middle of the school. I played a little with the stones while I waited for my mom. We went back at the end of January to give the required stuff. On February 8, I had my test inside the guidance office. I liked the way the test went. Challenging but fun. More stuff had to be done until, on the 2nd of May, I was finally enrolled. I was literally, an ERDAnian. The following day, we went back to the school and signed a contract. It was a yearly contract between ERDA and my mother and me. On the second number, there is the statement saying: “My child will finish the five (5) year curriculum of ERDA TECH”. I signed it with pleasure.
Finally, on June 6, I got to wear the uniform with the patch on and the pride as an ERDAnian. I met up with my friends from grade school outside the gate and agreed to go inside together. We did so and joined the line of freshmen who were getting their bag inspected. We were all grouped in the patio and after a while, a female teacher asked all of us to quiet down and one by one called our names.
We were grouped into three sections alphabetically. Three different teachers showed up and each took a section. The woman who was speaking took us and asked us to follow her. I learned that I was in section Pandango. Pandango actually refers to a traditional dance in some place in our country. The female teacher turned out to be our adviser; she was an English teacher. She asked us to do the usual activity of telling our names and all. After doing so, she asked us to observe the class and no one would answer for they were too shy. I had no choice but to set a different mood in the class by raising my hand. I said that I liked the words of wisdom on the top of the blackboard. If I’m not mistaken, it goes like: “It’s nice to be better, but it’s better to be nice”. After that, we took a math test, which will be the basis of our real sections. I stayed with Pandango and Ms. de Guzman, our adviser. I was the temporary class chairperson but I chose to run for the batch representative. I won’t say unfortunately, but I lost. However, it wasn’t that bad because I lost to a friend of mine. Many more stuff came like Enrichment Groups, where I joined the chess club, school trips to theaters, cinemas and museums and the annual disco event where I would rarely dance, and if I did, I would just be goofing off. Other school activities took place like the Intramurals, Foundation week that reminds us of our school founder Fr. Pierre Tritz, JS, and of course, the Christmas party. Then there’s the quarterly recognition of honorable students.
As I come to the end of my first year in ERDA, I realized how beautiful it is and above the rest. Alas, the time came when we were going to get our final quarter report card. I slowly walked through the crowd making lots of noises with my best friend in the patio until our names were called to come forth to the table, where our advisers sat nearby and held our cards. I can still remember that time when my teacher congratulated me. She said I was at the top of the class. I said thank you many times, ran towards nowhere, and jumped raising a fist of success.
As I expected, the summer wasn’t like any summer at all. I missed school even a week after the last day I was there. I wanted to visit the school and just hang out in those cool corridors, smell the fresh air of the trees and run around the court. It was the first summer where all I wanted was for it to end and go back to school.
5th of June. Finally, I went back to school, wearing the uniform, blue pants and all. The school’s walls were newly painted with its colors of blue and white. I was a sophomore of ERDA Tech. I already got through the first year of being an ERDAnian. Many of my batch mates transferred for different reasons. As I last spoke to them, they said they will surely miss ERDA. I am sure, too. More came during my second year like when I proposed ERDA to be an active member of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines since I was proudly a scout during my elementary years. It was a great success and we were able to be part of the year’s leadership training. I even got my first two badges. Also, the activities in the school improved and were even more fun.
During the my second year at ERDA, it crossed my mind that the school could give more than just lessons and words of wisdom. It could give so much more than you would expect from a normal school. Then again, ERDA isn’t a normal school. It has that greatness that just keeps pulling at the hearts of students and even the teachers and staff. The time came where all said their goodbyes, but during the summer I visited ERDA just to see the people there and feel that aura which reminds me of all the joys. I couldn’t also help but see my friends from school.
On the 25th of May in the year 2013, the school had an event where a certain number of students would be watching a play titled, “King and I”. It was more than fun for I got to see so many ERDAnians in their P.E. shirt proudly showing the word, ERDA TECH. I also got my chance to talk to my batch mates I hadn’t seen for so long. It was a day of perfection. I was so happy for even before the school year began, we got to see each other.
It was once again the first Tuesday of June when I took my first step in ERDA as a junior. I got shocked with so many changes; there was the Activity Program room, the places of different offices changed like the student prefects’ and the supply room. There were also additional Enrichment Groups. One of which I joined — the ET Football Club where they chose me to be the Team Captain. There was also an additional time on the Friday schedule, which is the EG time. All EGs are given an hour weekly. There were subjects that we no longer had like the ICF (which is about computer programs and all) and GTE that talks about the different technical subjects the school has. This leads us to the biggest change my batch achieved. My batch mates and I got our respective technical subject where we belong. After some tests and hard studies last year, we now know which specialization we will succeed at.
I got in the subject I chose from the very start of ERDA. I was an automotive student. This year, we saw that the school had more events than ever and more spectacular. There was the relief operation during a storm, the ERDA Torch that helps the school improve its places sponsored by Xavier school, the History month, the Foundation week had booths and all and the Buwan ng Wika. Speaking of that event, I was chosen as the representative of my class. We got tested in our costumes, history facts, questions, answers, and essay writing. At the end, I was able to get the trophy and the flower medal. Then the Disco came again and I could say it gets better and better. Just this November, I was chosen as one of the students who will be attending the annual WIWAG event sponsored by Batu Balani Foundation Inc. It was a forum that lasts for a week and talks about business. We were role-playing there as the management group of a certain company.
Now, I have been through the first half of my time studying in ERDA. It has come so fast. I am definitely not ready yet to leave the school. I want to be here even more. I have many things I want to achieve while I’m in ERDA. The time I have spent here is just irreplaceable. It is too precious. I can never trade it for anything. Even though I have spent more than two years and a half in this beloved school of mine, I am sure that I will look back here after I graduate. I can never forget the feeling of being an ERDAnian. The pride and glory to be part of a properly managed school which wants nothing but the best for us. I will always remember that time when I took my first glance of ERDA.
That day when I looked at it and l told myself: “I will study here”. My mother told me that I had the freedom to choose and that I shall never regret my choice. Never, not even once, and never will I regret that I entered the school of Educational Research and Development Assistance Technological and Vocational Secondary School. It may be long, but I put my chin up, speak the best way I can and speak the name with just and pride. I will surely recognize the school in the near future and like the ones in a video clip shown to the school. One fine morning, I shall say, THANK YOU ERDA!