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STC Batch 83 Post Homecoming Reunion, Chicago Style!
Written by  Marilou Cruz-Rodriguez, Toronto, Canada
January 14. 2009

This year, our high school class of ’83 at St. Theresa’s College was the host of their homecoming celebration that took place last July in Cebu city. Since a few of us living in North America were unable to attend, we decided to celebrate our very own STC Batch ’83 post-homecoming reunion. Together with Alexis Abella-Ytell, we decided to spearhead organizing the weekend event that took place on November 21 – 23, in Chicago, IL.
Lunch at Hot Chocolate, located in BucktownFriday night @ People Lounge & celebrating Esleen Urbina-Dacanay's bday. [L-R] Esleen, Florence Cusi-Albarracin, Cecilia 
Mangali-Mueller, Alexis Abella-Ytell, Beth Canoy-Franco,Mylah Escalante-Naggar, Alison Christine Duterte-Patron, Cecily Laurito-Nelson, 
Ruth Mosqueda-Lim, Marilou Cruz-RodriguezWaiting for the trolley to take us along Magnificent Mile Infront of the famous BEAN in Millenium ParkDancing @PS Chicago. L-R: Front- Cecily L. Nelson, Ruth M. Lim, Esleen U. Dacanay, Marilou C. Rodriguez, Florence C. Albarracin,Cecilia M. Mueller. L-R: Back -Christine Duterte-Patron, Mydi Manguiat, Mylah E. Naggar, Alexis A. Ytell, Christine C. Cabiltes, Beth C. FrancoSitting infront of Millenium Park. L - R: Cecilia Mangali-Mueller, Ruth Mosqueda-Lim, Alison Christine Duterte-Patron, Mylah Escalante-Naggar, Cecily Laurito-Nelson,  Beth Canoy-Franco, Alexis Abella-Ytell, Rebecca Lim-Flores, Marilou Cruz-Rodriguez
Alexis and I began to the plan the reunion back in August. Using the power of Facebook and Yahoo email groups, we sent out an invitation to everyone who graduated high school in STC back in 1983. Each month, we sent out e-newsletters to the entire group leading up to November to whet their appetites on the type of fun events that were in store for them.

The weekend was well-attended by our former classmates who flew in from as far as California, Florida, Indianapolis, New York,
South Dakota, and Canada. To some of us, it was our first time to see each other after more than 25 years. Imagine the thrill of 13 (lucky) Theresians converging in Chicago. As soon as everyone arrived, each person received a “Welcome to Chicago” text message and a gift bag filled with a souvenir shirt especially made for the reunion, a winter hat, lotion etc. (Thanks to Chicago-based Alexis and Mydi for their contribution.)

We had a taste of Chicago’s famous tapas bar, their deep dish pizza and mouth-watering chicharon and other Filipino delicacies courtesy of Alison Christine Duterte-Patron who had to check in an extra luggage flying all the way from San Diego, CA. Our sightseeing included a ride on the free trolley along Magnificent Mile, a visit to Millenium Park and of course, we still managed to do some “retail therapy”.

One of our gracious hosts, Florence Cusi-Albarracin, invited us to her lovely condo, where we had our traditional Christmas ornament exchange. To add to the nostalgia, we viewed our homecoming DVD and sang old songs we once performed during our Songfest.   That evening, we re-lived our youth and grooved to some of the hottest 80’s music at PS Chicago. From Michael Jackson’s “I Wanna Rock With you” to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”, everyone got “jiggy” on the dance floor and showed their moves.

Sunday came along and everyone didn’t want the weekend to end. Before we said our good-byes, we enjoyed our final meal together over dim sum in Chinatown.

But what was most important about the weekend? The weekend re-defined the true meaning of a “reunion”. For us, it was a renewal of friendships, a discovery of who we are and a validation of our strong bond as friends.

Here’s a re-cap of what people are saying:

“I now have a new perspective on the endurance of friendship and the unconditional love and sisterhood among us that has sustained through all these years. I am a better person for knowing all of you and I love you”
Beth Canoy-Franco, Merrick, NY

“The greatest lesson I’ve learned from it all:  friendship transcends all differences that we define in ourselves.  I have always believed in living for the present (but planning for the future), and my latest experience was a "feel-good" one......”
Ruth Mosqueda-Lim, De Smet, SD

“I had to sit down and relax since my heart was beating so fast like 11Ghz  while my body was slowing down to 10MHZ, the different clock domains were not in sync and I was not functional by then.  I guess my adrenaline was so high since I had so much fun and practically, no sleep. While I was heading towards Terminal 1 from where Mylah and I parted, I heard the music, "Moon River"  - I was about to cry and then I said to myself I really miss them now....”
Cecily Laurito-Nelson, Simi Valley, CA

“It was a celebration of life, and that "FRIENDS" play an important role. We all are very unique in our own way and we built a sisterhood that we will always treasure in our hearts”
Mydi Manguiat, Chicago, IL

“It was an experience that was good for both my heart and soul. …You all amaze me and I came out of this learning a lot more and hope to put those lessons into good use.“
Florence Cusi-Albarracin, Chicago, IL

“I don't think we all stopped laughing and joking until we parted ways ….The past weekend will take up a whole lot of storage space in my memory bank as it was so memorable. I loved every minute I spent with all of you, my new BFFs and sisterhood of the traveling….Jeans!”
Cecilia Mangali-Mueller, Crystal River, FL

“That was INCREDIBLE!!! Straight to the detour!!!”
Esleen Urbina-Dacanay Fishers, IN

“I truly felt your friendship deeply. I haven't had so much fun in a long time and I thank you guys and someone up in heaven for surrounding me with you angels.  Your families are truly blessed to have you and I am blessed as well to know you as my friends.  From my heart,  thank you for sharing your time and friendship…..
…..P.S. Wasn’t that some AWESOME weekend or what!!!!!!”
Alison Christine Duterte-Patron, San Diego, CA

……Well, it truly was one AWESOME weekend….Chicago-style!

P.S. Save the Date!
Plans are well underway for this year’s STC Batch 83 reunion that will take place in San Diego, CA on December 5, 2009. For more information, please contact Cecily Laurito-Nelson or Alison Christine Duterte-Patron at

The reunion organizers:
Alexis Abella-Ytell & Marilou Cruz-Rodriguez