Melissa & Clinton Nheeda
I would like to share with you my observations last weekend June 13.
I attended my daughter's graduation from University of Chicago.
It was a double treat for us because President Clinton was one of the
It was the President's shining weekend being as that the victory in
Kosovo dominated the week's news. He therefore spoke about the
newsbreaking aftermate before going into the free trade issues that he
had already planned on speaking about. He also spoke about the
Internet... billions of e-mails exchanged and thousands of new websites
created every day.
and thousands of new websites created every day.
I am no a great admirer of Clinton but even the weather cooperated that
Saturday morning. The rain abated for those few hours. Otherwise, we
would have been all wet, including the President. The security was tight
and we were all issued rain "ponchos". The Secret Service couldn't see
if we were carrying concealed weapons had we used umbrellas. These
ponchos reminded me of the "barong Tagalog," the Filipino native dress
that was encouraged by the Spanish, because it was transparent. Anyway,
I saw Bill Clinton as the President of the United States and was very
impressed that he spent a good 4 hours with us. The news camera even
caught my sister-in-law napping as we were seated about 50 yards from the
President. He greeted and shook hands with every graduate. I saw at
lease a couple ctudents turn their back on him.
students who turn their back on him.
The number of Asian students in US college campuses is now proportionally
higher than any other ethnic group and this was evident at the UofC. The
Filipinos as an individual group however do not always share these
phenomenal numbers. It is however a far cry from the "school boys" and
"Universicoy" I heard about when I came here. What a difference time
makes: a century ago, those who would turn their backs to the president
might be blacklisted as troublemakers, etc. and suffer the curse of being
branded "bulakbol," later the description of school dropouts and truants
by our older folks. My two kids were never on that road, for Nheeda just
graduated from Georgia Tech as Summa Cum Laude and Melissa in Biological
Science with Honors from the University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago held a pre-graduation party at the famous
Museum of Science and Industry. The only U S captured German U-boat is
permanently exhibited inside. As we were touring onboard the ship I
could not help but comment that Melissa's education actually began when I had volunteered
for submarine duty. After undergoing rigorous schooling and one of the toughest training in
the military, I earned enough lifetime experience and money to finance both of my
daughter's future education. That same nostalgia had already come to me when I had to drive
Nheeda to Boston University five years ago. Passing by New London in Connecticut was a
big sign: "Submarine school". Again I couldn't help but recall the mental
decipline of a different kind that I had gone through. Back then I hoped we would bring
that to Boston to start her education.
Nestor Palugod Enriquez
The Palugod family Website