Writing with Purpose: A Writing and Mini-Research Workshop

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On May 10, 2021, Xavier School launched its first Summer Enrichment Program that  offered various courses such as  baking, singing, writing, and even computer programming. The aim of the program is to provide an avenue for  students to explore and nurture their hobbies, interests, and talents over the summer break. 

One of the courses offered was Writing with Purpose: A Writing and Mini-Research Workshop that hoped to give students an opportunity to hone their writing skills. 

After a ten-day workshop, students of the course were able to compose feature articles or personal narratives on topics they are passionate about. 

The works below are samples of the outputs of some students who enrolled in the course. 

Family is Everything
by Aiden Jaedrick Riley Chua Duyongco (incoming G9)

Family relationships are enduring and consequential for well-being across one’s life course. My family is no different, and we will stay together no matter the consequences. They help me with my chores, my homework, and help me with my troubles. We will always be there for one another no matter what. You can always rely on family to lighten up your mood and listen to your problems, just like when my pet turtle died four years ago. How they they helped me get through this traumatic event is something I will always remember. Your family will always be there to help you on any occasion because they care for you.

According to Patricia A Thomas, PhD, “Family relationships play a central role in shaping an individual’s well-being across the life course.” This means that having a good family relationship is important for a child. He will remember and cherish these valuable experiences which will provide emotional support and help the child make better decisions in the future. My family will always care for me when I need it most, and I know I can trust them to understand whatever it is that I may be going through. Let me tell you a story of how my family played a central role in shaping my wellbeing when I experienced the loss of my beloved pet.

Around four years ago, my pet turtle died for a reason I still don’t know. I remember that event very vividly. As I woke up, I did my usual routine of tapping on the rectangular fish tank where my pet turtle stayed. As the fresh, clear, water rippled, my turtle didn’t respond. At that moment, I knew something was wrong, and I asked my parents to help check my turtle. It took them an hour to find a way to tell me that it died. After that, I cried for several  hours; it was as if my tears were endless. It was the first time I had ever lost a pet. At that moment, my family were the only ones who comforted me, telling me “You have to move on.” They were the only ones who truly understood how I felt, and they also helped me cope with how I was feeling by being there for me. Through their patience and encouragement, I eventually found the will to accept what had happened. I eventually moved forward, and I now cherish the memories that I had with my pet turtle. 

Family is the one most valuable gift in life. They care for you and will be there for you on any occasion to help you. They are the one whom we can rely on when we have problems and whom we can count on for help. They are the ones who console us when we are feeling down. Family will always be there for you no matter what.



Falling Behind and Catching Up
by Ryan Vincent Morando Dy  (incoming G9)

According to study.com, almost 90 percent of students have experienced peer pressure during school. During my grade 8 school year, I also experienced this, though not in the mainstream way of being pressured to change clothes or cut classes to be cool. I was pressured to catch up academically to my classmates and friends. Throughout my grade 8 school year, I was trying to keep up with the pace of my peers. I always heard my classmates brag about barely studying and acing exams and tests that I struggled with, and though it was certainly discouraging, at the end of that school year, I learned to come to terms with this challenge and have also gained insights on peer pressure, change, and challenges.

During 2020, due to the pandemic, I took Xavier School’s online program called XSEL that served as a way to attend my eighth grade classes through Zoom. During this program I realized that the subjects I struggled with were getting harder and harder. Though I struggled and put effort into all my subjects, the main subject that troubled me the most was Chinese. In the XSEL program, advanced class and the regular class for Chinese were merged together, and because of this, Chinese class got more difficult for the people who attended the regular Chinese class, like me. For the first term of XSEL, I was not able to do very well in Chinese. My grades dropped, and due to this, I missed honors for the first term. Although to me, Chinese got more difficult, I felt that to most of my classmates who came from the advanced classes, the subject became even easier than it was before. You could imagine how discouraged I felt when some of my classmates from the advanced class for Chinese were talking about acing the tests that I failed to get my desired grade on. During this time, I was conflicted with one decision: either choose ignorance and accept that I can’t stop falling behind and that my desired grade for Chinese may never be reached, or choose to adapt and be more determined to catch up with my peers.

For a while, during the first term, I kept telling myself that there was no use catching up to my classmates academically. At the start of the second term, after being faced with missing out on honors, I told myself that I was done ignoring the situation, and that if I want to do well in the second term, I must adapt. During the second term of XSEL, I reflected on my studying habits for Chinese, and realized that my old studying habits, such as waiting for the day just before the test to study, were not going to get me my desired grade and that if I wanted to get honors this term, I would have to change them. For the second term, I did exactly that. Throughout the second term, I focused more effort into studying well on my Chinese tests. I started to study a couple of days before each test, and I started to put large amounts of effort on studying each lesson. It was because of my efforts that during the second term and the last term, I was finally able to get honors. Although I was not able to get honors for the XSEL school year because of my performance in the first term, I was proud of myself because during this school year, I was able to improve not only academically but also as a person. It was during this school year that I finally learned how to respond to challenging decisions and learned how to face problems head on.

Throughout my grade 8 school year, I learned that peer pressure has the capacity to pressure others to do better and to improve themselves. Although peer pressure is portrayed in the media as an evil thought that you should ignore and never conform to, I learned that peer pressure can also be a call to change that can be beneficial and that changing your ways can not only help the others around you, but can help you improve yourself as a person. This school year taught me to value opportunities to improve myself and to act on as many of these opportunities as possible so that I will be able to improve myself like I did in my eighth grade classes. I believe that because of my past experiences of peer pressure throughout grade 8, I have become a stronger person and have not only improved academically, but also in character.

My experiences with the XSEL program of 2020 and falling behind have allowed me to improve myself and helped me learn a few insights on peer pressure and self improvement that I will surely never forget. There will no doubt be more challenges in my life, but now that I have gained a few insights on self-improvement, I have learned that instead of choosing to ignore these challenges like I did in the first term of XSEL, I need to face them head on because just like my grade 8 school year, each challenge poses an opportunity to improve myself and to learn more insights on life. Ultimately, all of my experiences in grade 8 have taught me that it is only up to us to decide whether we want to improve as people.



Commerce in the Digital World
by Jared Angelo Natividad Lumanlan  (incoming G9)

Have you ever bought items from a website, or, have you ever sold something to someone over the internet? Whether you are shopping online, buying digital assets, selling used items online, you are participating in e-commerce. E-commerce is an important part of our daily lives that allows us to obtain the things we need with ease and flexibility, and at the same time, work with less hassle regardless if you are a consumer or a business.

Before we dive into the deeper information of this topic, let’s define what e-commerce is. Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, buying and selling, on a large scale. On the other hand, e-commerce is the internet equivalent of commerce. E-commerce began in the 70s when early technology was introduced. The industry grew and in the early 1990s, the internet allowed for online shopping to be open to the public. Giants like Amazon are examples of e-commerce companies that have greatly changed our lives. According to statistics recorded by Statista.com in 2018, 1.8 billion people were digital buyers in the e-commerce world.

There are three main types of e-commerce which are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C). One example of a B2B marketplace is the automotive industry. These companies that create automotives contain parts and products from other companies. In the same way online, B2B buyers will find a business online to supply their own businesses. Now if you have bought items from Amazon, Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, then you are considered a consumer of B2C e-commerce. Especially in this pandemic, we need to find a way to buy items like food, clothing, home decor, etc., without having to step outside. Through platforms mentioned above, a few clicks and scrolling will allow you to buy things you desire or things that you just need to survive. What makes B2B and B2C e-commerce distinctive and unique is the leading trends that these companies have because of technology. A lot of B2B and B2C sellers provide suitable digital payment methods to favor their customers since most prefer to pay digitally. Another trend in businesses is the usage of chatbots which is an efficient way to enhance customer service and shopping experience. The last trend, which may be the most interesting marketing technique by businesses, is the use of augmented reality (AR). Companies use AR to allow customers or consumers to preview their products since they cannot try the products in person. On the other hand, C2C e-commerce can be compared to B2C e-commerce. Instead of businesses and companies selling products on e-commerce platforms and websites, other consumers can sell their own goods and services to other consumers. Platforms like eBay are just one example of a C2C platform, even B2C websites like Lazada and Shopee support C2C.

The relevance of e-commerce will only continue to grow and impact our lifestyles. The share of e-commerce on retail sales is rapidly growing, more people are buying and selling online, and these are just a few examples. Because of the advantages and expansion of technology, e-commerce has affected the way we shop. The presence of technology allows for a better customer experience and customer service. So what can we take away from this? Given the limitations set by the pandemic and the government, businesses and consumers will have a hard time to exchange their goods and services. But because of e-commerce, and the windows opened by technology, anything is possible. Through social media and websites, small businesses can easily advertise their products. It’s only a few clicks and a few scrolls until your customers can buy from your website instead of going to your store or meeting you in person which takes too much time and energy. Opening a brick and mortar store, paying rent, hiring employees is too much of a burden to carry. With your phones, your computers, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. I strongly think small businesses have to set-up websites if they want to survive this pandemic. Resorting to selling your products online is part of adapting to the new way. Even when the pandemic is over, e-commerce will still be strong, in fact, it will be more dominant in businesses. Technology will continue to be more innovative, more people, especially the younger generation will prefer buying things online. If you look at the age demographics, you will see a trend in young people participating as online shoppers. In the Philippines, more than 50 percent of online shoppers were aged 25-34, according to statistics recorded in 2018.

What we can take away from this is that; commerce in the virtual or digital world will indeed be the future for every exchange of goods and services. With technology continuing to advance and younger people shopping online, we will definitely see surges in popularity in the e-commerce industry. As consumers, what can we do? Do we hop on the bandwagon? I say that we must be more open to what the e-commerce industry offers us. I even think that it’s worth investing money into companies in the e-commerce industry because they will continue to grow in terms of market capitalization, take Amazon as an example. For businesses, the e-commerce world will be a great place for them to thrive in. The internet is so accessible that products can be found easily. Not only does technology offer accessibility for products to be sold, technology offers more flexibility when it comes to selling to consumers. Hence, why e-commerce is a really important aspect of our daily lives. It can be monumental to our future and lifestyle.



Lyrics for Evermore
by Vicor Noel Tolentino Genuino  (incoming G10)

With eleven Grammys,  thirty twoAmerican Music awards, and twenty three Billboard Music awards. Taylor Swift has undoubtedly become one of the most recognized artists out there. During the global pandemic, Swift released two surprise albums that showcase her songwriting prowess that has won her awards. Among all her albums “Folklore” and “Evermore” are unparalleled in terms of songwriting. So indulge yourselves as we analyze Taylor Swift’s elegant and profound songwriting, particularly in her sister albums “Folklore” and “Evermore”.

Taylor Swift has been in the music industry for more than ten years and has released nine albums. All nine of them have her name credited for the songwriting. Though she is crowned as “queen of the breakup song” as seen in her hits “Blank Space” and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” her songwriting ranges from catchy pop hits to heart wrenching ballads. According to An Inside Look Into Taylor Swift’s Songwriting Process by Taylor Hodgkins, “However, the most remarkable aspect of Swift’s lyrical gift is the fact she has a steadfast dedication to incorporating and creating an intricate relationship with her songwriting skills,Swift has long been praised for the strong relatability in her songwriting.” Swift’s strongest forte is being able to evoke emotions she has experienced in her listener’s heart. Amidst this global pandemic Swift has released two surprise albums “Folklore” and “Evermore,” both of which show a different genre out of pop and country that Taylor has never explored before, alternative/indie. So let’s take a look at her songwriting prowess in her sister albums.

Folklore,” released on July 24, 2020 is the older sister amongst the two surprise albums. On this album Swift ultimately displays her breakup songwriting capabilities in the fourth track “Exile” which features fellow artist Bon Iver. The song tackles a failed relationship where the guy watches as his partner quickly replaces him. With lines such as “I can see you standin’, honey With his arms around your body…And it took you five whole minutes To pack us up and leave me with it,” subtly catching the feeling of being abandoned and replaced. The true pain in the song is when Iver sings “You were my town Now I’m in exile seein’ you out I think I’ve seen this film before,” comparing the feeling to being exiled or shut out. Now that the man has stated his argument, Taylor steps in to give her side of the story. Beginning with “I can see you starin’, honey Like he’s just your understudy,” the beauty of the line is the metaphor of ”understudy.”In theatre an understudy is the person who takes a certain character’s role when the main actor is unable to. This once again touches on the feeling of being replaced, but unlike the understudy, this replacement is permanent. Taylor then continues with “Second, third, and hundredth chances Balancin’ on breaking branches,” basically saying that she has given Bon Iver’s character so many chances and he was already walking on thin ice. The bridge goes back and forth between Taylor and Bon Iver’s character. With Bon Iver saying “You never gave a warning sign” and Taylor replying with “I gave so many signs.” The bridge is where we see both sides all together, where the girl says she made it so obvious she was going to leave while the man doesn’t catch on. In this song, Taylor may be speaking from experience, though she has never disclosed this information. However, one song where she isn’t speaking from her experience is track 8, “August.” In this song Taylor puts herself in the shoes of a high school summer fling. Her character’s name isn’t stated in the song but the boy’s name is James. The song begins with “Salt air and the rust on your door. I never needed anything more,” which gives away the setting of the song, the beach during August. The chorus shows how intimate their relationship was with lyrics like “And I can see us twisted in bedsheets August sipped away like a bottle of wine ‘Cause you were never mine.” The line “Cause you were never mine.” shows us that Taylor’s character knows that she isn’t really there to stay, and that she is only a summer fling.  Taylor then sings in the latter second verse “Will you call when you’re back at school? I remember thinkin’ I had you,” telling us that though Taylor’s character knew that she was just there for the summer, and she still wished to stay together once school starts. The bridge shows us that this was all in the past with the line “Back when we were still changing for the better,” which could hint that something changed within them which led to the end. After leaving us with this idea, Taylor then belts, “Cause you weren’t mine to lose.” showing us acceptance within Taylor’s character.  With all the regret, sorrow, happiness, and hope, Taylor ends the song with “Back when I was livin’ for the hope of it all.” Through these two songs, Taylor showed that she is able to write about stories that may not even be her own.

Folklore’s sister album, “Evermore” was released on December 11, 2020. Unlike ”Folklore” where Swift is accompanied by Bon Iver for her breakup song, ”Tolerate it” is Swift’s take on a young love which has lost its color. Starting with the title, to tolerate is doing the bare minimum. It’s borderline hating something. The song begins with “I sit and watch you reading with your Head low I wake and watch you breathing with your Eyes closed,” which hints at admiration, when you admire someone you notice everything about them, even the small things. The first verse ends with “I sit and watch you And notice everything you do or don’t do You’re so much older and wiser and,” showcasing Taylor’s character’s admiration for the man. The chorus shows bitterness as she begins with “I wait by the door like I’m just a kid Use my best colors for your portrait  Lay the table with the fancy sh*t,” with the similar tone of a mother when she says “I’m doing so much for you already.” Taylor then says, “And watch you tolerate it,” which shows hurt and pain in Taylor’s character as continues to question herself with “If it’s all in my head tell me now Tell me I’ve got it wrong somehow,” almost as if she is trying to fool herself. She ends the chorus with, “I know my love should be celebrated But you tolerate it,” which expresses sadness and disappointment. The second verse showcases her trying to fool herself with the line “I take your indiscretions all in good fun.” Basically just letting all his rudeness and indecency towards her just slide. The bridge showcases anger as she says “While you were out building other worlds, where was I? Where’s that man who’d throw blankets over my barbed wire? I made you my temple, my mural, my sky. Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life.” This bridge is intriguing because it plays a lot with figures of speech. “Where’s that man who’d throw blankets over my barbed wire?” is asking where is the man who loved me no matter how hard it was. “I made you my temple, my mural, my sky. Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life,” talks about how Taylor’s character made the man someone of utmost importance in her life , while she is begging for footnotes. Footnotes are a recognition in academic writing, so she is alluding that he doesn’t even recognise her in his life, which is just a complicated way of saying “Let me be a part of your life.” She proceeds to sing the last chorus with anger and changed lyrics “But what would you do if I, Break free and leave us in ruins Took this dagger in me and removed it  Gain the weight of you then lose it Believe me, I could do it,” that contrast to the first few choruses she stands up for herself.

Undoubtedly, Taylor’s songwriting ability seen in ”Folklore” and ”Evermore” is unparalleled among all her albums, but that is not to say that her other albums are badly written; many artists have taken inspiration from ”Fearless, “Speak Now, “Red” “1989,” and “Reputation.” Singer songwriters such as Olivia Rodrig and Conan Gray are very open about how Taylor’s songwriting has influenced their songs. Taylor undeniably has left her mark in the music industry inspiring many, though her career may be nearing its end. There are many who will be able to continue her legacy.



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