By Sean Carballo, 10C
The EDSOR Peace Conference is an annual two-day camp that principally focuses on socio-political issues as well as leadership building exercises. It is held in one of the four main schools in the EDSA-Ortigas District each year: Immaculate Conception Academy, La Salle Greenhills, Saint Pedro Poveda College and Xavier University. This year, the conference was held in the Immaculate Conception Academy from January 8-9, 2016.
“How do you define leadership?” “What are the issues our country is facing in the context of the upcoming elections this year?” “What action plan would you propose in order to eliminate these obstacles?” Those were just some of the questions posed during this year’s EDSOR.
The peace camp was filled with different challenges and activities that strengthened the participants’ perspective on politics as well as motivated them to take initiative in their respective roles as student leaders.
Different members took part in an inspiring flag activity wherein the different members filled in each gap of the Philippine flag by dipping their thumbs with either blue or red paint. The gaps reflected the difficulties our country is facing, while the students symbolize the youth attempting to solve those problems. This was a touching moment for the participants as it showed each of their aspirations for the country – although they have different perspectives, they are all united as one for the better growth of the Philippines.
The groups hectically then proposed a presentation on the second day regarding the upcoming elections. After practicing, they performed in the Main Auditorium.
There were guests, mostly parents or teachers, who attended. All performances turned out to be entertaining – with most groups performing jingles, skits and even one rap number.
The students participated in mass, which was presided by Father Xavier Alpasa. His homily focused mainly on staying true to yourself and not always going with the popular vote. He also talked about his life story and how he found his calling to become a priest.
“The best guide is to listen to the voice within,” he said. His speech was very enlightening and was indeed one of the highlights of the second day.
The participants were excited for The Amazing Race, which consisted of ten different courses with one leader per course. The courses were built upon the participants’ knowledge on the academic subjects such as Science, Social Science, and Mathematics.
The race included endeavors were building a parachute for an egg, arranging the list of presidents by order, and mathematical problem solving.
Aside from the subject-based games, there were also ventures that reinforced the need for teamwork and open communication. Making a pipeline using different pieces of cardboard, formulating a dance and song number and passing an obstacle course with a blindfold were some of the highlights of the race.
Succeeding the race, the packs were led to a Break-Up Activity held in the different classrooms. This pursuit explained the morals and values behind the Amazing Race and resulted in devising an action plan based on the problem they wanted to abolish in our country. Some problems stated were the lack of good candidates, lack of education and overall disunity in the confines of our country.
The activities that ensued on the first day were very also insightful. The opening endeavor included an intricate shadow performance that showcased what it means to be a leader – by being compassionate and always discerning.
The students from the four schools were then grouped into twenty “districts” of nines, tens, or elevens, each with a facilitator who guided them throughout the whole process and served as their mentor for the two days. The districts also thought of different problems our country is facing and to create a slogan accompanying it.
Another proceeding that transpired on the first day was the prayer circle, which further magnified the participants’ viewpoint on empathizing with the poor and the need for a fair but also understanding and benevolent leader.
The second day was just as eventful as the first day. Two districts were merged into one and were assigned a specific classroom. This was in preparation for their presentations later that day. The bigger groups were then appointed with teachers from the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA). They truly made the experience more worthwhile given their experience on the stage.
The teachers from PETA assigned to our group, Jo-ann Pamintuan and Gilbert Onida, were very knowledgeable on their field and gave a variety of exercises to build up trust between the members. These tasks comprised of Tao, Bahay, Bagyo, composing a poem, creating a group tableaux based on a specific topic and much more.
The second day reached the end when all of the students danced the EDSOR theme song and took one last photograph together – it was then followed with the individual school photos.
As synthesis for the peace conference, the members of Lazette asked the students from the different schools what insights they gained from EDSOR 2016.
“I’ve realized that no matter what walk of life you belong to, you can all cooperate as long as you have a common goal shared,” Chloie Uy of Immaculate Conception Academy stated.
Ashley Valera of Saint Pedro Poveda College realized that “to become a good leader, you must become a follower.”
“I realized that I too need to step up and be the one to make a difference,” said Lance Cheng of Xavier University.
Our very own Michael Pinpin of Grade 9H stated that “in order to succeed as a group, you need to work as one.” He further acknowledged that “we are so blessed to have loving parents who would send us to school and supply our necessities.”
Joshua Salarza of 3H noted that, “as student leaders, we are the future of our country [and] a leader [should not] work solo but must be one with the team”.
Most folks from the older generation believe that the youth of today are no longer interested in the politics – the youth are so distracted with everything: smartphones, Internet, television, romance, etc.
The EDSOR Peace Conference not only proved them wrong, but it served as a testament for the willingness of the new generation to strive for political and societal change in the midst of the discord going on in our nation.
The youth of today want change – this peace conference was the prime indication of that determination. In the end, the grandstanding goal of EDSOR is to provide the youth with a dialogue for social transformation within the country and our respective schools and to build and hone one’s leadership abilities to its fullest potential.