Message from the President

Post by Jerwin M. Lasin | Date: 9/9/2011 11:24:24 AM

My involvement with FSLE is heaven sent -- it came with the untimely death of my dear uncle, Bro. Rafe.

About 2 or 3 years before his passing, Bro. Rafe often invited me to what he called “simple celebrations” in Lipa and in Greenhills. These gatherings were for either a birthday merienda, a Christmas party or a school year-end celebration – all with his scholars from Lipa. Each and every time, I saw him enjoy every performance they prepared for him – the singing and the dancing most specially. I witnessed the joy he felt and the sparkle in his eyes as he mingled with the Lipa youth and their parents, who were all strangers to me then… FSLE was his love and I didn't think he was actually breaking it in on me, that soon I was going to take over this “baby” of his. Looking back, I now realize that those invitations served as my initiation to a life-long commitment to his special project.

Soon after November 2006, I met with Danding Lucero, Bobby de Ocampo, Tony Sumbingco, Francis Laurel and rest of the founding FSLE Board members for a turnover. Bro Rafe hardly ever involved his nieces and nephews in his projects, probably because most of us cheered for the bluer side of the basketball court ... but everything came into place after his death. Today, I have 4 cousins whom I have invited to work with me in the new board – Gemma Donato Omana, Susan Donato Bautista Afan, Reina Donato Pantaleon and Alexis Donato Devine– I can now see him clearly smiling from heaven! To help us save money, I have also asked my mom, his sister, Salud Donato de Castro, to sit as chairman so that she can host all our lunch meetings at the Philippine Stock Exchange, also a perfect venue to hopefully attract new sponsors.

When the family took over, FSLE had 54 scholars, 34 of whom had already graduated and were all gainfully employed. At present we have count of 72 scholars, 54 graduates, and 18 currently enjoying free Lasallian education in Lipa under the Foundation.

I thank all the organizers of BRAFE 3 for supporting FSLE. In the words of Bro Rafe, “It is great that you help in the education of those whom you know … but it is noble to help complete strangers and those who may not be able to pay you back …”

I consider FSLE as my inheritance from my Tito Raffy, and I can only say to him today, with a most grateful heart: Thank you, thank you, for this great opportunity to serve and to live Jesus in my heart, forever!

Caress Donato de Castro - Banson