Father’s Note — My son finished 2 courses in College but nobody congratulated us

There are numerous stories on how poor but mentally gifted students were able to obtain College degrees in the leading Universities in the country.

Reading their travails and strife on the road to obtain their degree were all heartwarming and inspiring. On a different perspective and motivated by the thought that my son’s story affects many students and parents like me whose children are addicted to the computer games DOTA, may I be allowed to relate a diverse story on how my son was able to attaintwo College degrees by “default”.

Justin is an average student, a fact that his family had accepted since he was in elementary. Though he has a knack in mathematics, we know for sure that he will not excel academically. This is the reason why we gave him our all out support when he showed keen interest in swimming. We want our only son to excel in his own field.

Justin represented his High School Alma matter, Saint Louis College, San Fernando City, La Union in numerous regional and national swimming competitions in the country. These competitions produced countless medals that earned him a Certificate of Recognition in Athletics given by President GLORIA MACAPAGAL – ARROYO and Sportsman of the Year award during his High School graduation. He was the only non academic achiever who was given due recognition. It was in High School where he started playing DOTA.

As a winner in his last Palarong Pambansa swimming competition and his swim time within national standard, leading Universities in Manila took turns in offering scholarship for our son. We all politely turned down the offers in Manila even if he was already enrolled at Mapua Institute of Technology. Our son’s academic qualifications made us decide not to pursue his education at said school.

Since Baguio is near home, we took the full athletic scholarship offer of Saint Louis University. He enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering. In his first year, Justin won all his individual swim events in the Baguio Benguet Athletic League (BBEAL). He became an instant sensation.

During his first semester, we were summoned by the Student Affairs Dean due to our son’s absences. We were able to appeal our son’s case and was given another chance owing perhaps to his being an athlete. At the end of the semester, he passed 17 units of the total 25.

We transferred Justin to the SLU dormitory for the second semester with the hope that he will be closely monitored by the University.As the second semester progresses, we were surprised that we have not received a single letter from the Student Affairs Dean. There were several instances during our surprise visitsthough that that we were not able to see him at his dormitory. We came to know later that there were no more letters from the Dean of Student Affairs informing us of his absences because he did not submithis class cards in all his subjects. He only passed PE and NSTP, the subjects where he was exempted. Consequently, we were constrained to have him quit school.

On several occasions, we accompanied him during trainings but he always come up short with his drills and exercises.He sleeps during day time and play DOTA the whole night. Have a late breakfast at the SLU dorm the following day, Sleep and take a late lunch and play DOTA again until the following day.

Sometime during the second semester a flying school was established at the San Fernando City airport. I was able to arrange to allow my son to enroll even if he is not yet a College graduate. The arrangement was, after 3000 flying hours he will be issued a Commercial Pilot Certificate. The icing of the deal was for the school to absorb my son as their trainee and after he gets the required flying time he will be taken in as a flying instructor.

My wife and I took the deal which will require us to pay One Million Six Hundred Thousand pesos. We discussed this with our son, he showed very little interest. Inspite of this, we still brought him to the said school. Our visit was timed during the inauguration of the San Fernando, La Union airport. President Arroyo was guest speaker. There was heavy traffic. It took us sometime to reach the school. When we arrived thereat, we saw our son sleeping soundly at the back seat. It was right then and there that we decided to call off the plan to enroll him. That saved us 1.6 million pesos.

Since the family’s business is in agriculture and the thought of him taking over our means of livelihood, we decided to transfer our son at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University to take up Agri Management course. He was again an athletic scholar. As in his previous schools, he dominated the Northern Luzon SCUAA swimming competition. His efforts put DMMMSU, for the first time, at strong second place.

To ensure that he was attending his classes, I often drive him to his school premises but I found out later that almost immediately as I leave he will oftentimes leave school to play DOTA. His addiction has gotten from bad to worse. He seems already incorrigible at that time. He was awake at night and sleep in school during day time. Ultimately we were constrained to let him stop school as he was going nowhere since then.

After a one year hiatus and having pity on him as he was already then turning 21, we decided to have him enrolled at Lorma Colleges, his former grade school at Fernando City, La Union.
His attitude has changed a bit after I had warned him to leave the house if still he will not mend his ways. He is still up and awake sometimes until the wee hours in the morning if not properly monitored. Me and my wife stood our ground. We confiscated his cell phone and after 10 PM I will detach the printer of our PC and bring it inside our room so he can no longer play DOTA. It was not easy there were countless quarrels and misunderstanding between me and my son and even my wife every time she reminded me that I am going overboard. I was constrained to sleep at our sofa everytime he comes home late after playing DOTA. There are times where I will close the gate and the door of our house.

On several occasions I also placed her clothing and things in a sack and brought it outside the house so he can live elsewhere. He refused. In all those occasions he becomes as meek as a lamb and subservient. I always made it a point that whatever we are doing and wherever we are, I always require him and his siblings to join us in the family devotional prayer every 10 PM nightly. It is mandatory. It is non negotiable. They know this by heart since they were kids until now

I was fully aware that he is still playing DOTA but I made it very sure that it will not be easy for him to go on. I was able to control him by being on top of the situation all the time. Months and years passed and before the family knew it, they were already preparing their thesis for graduation. He was not much involved in their research. His participation was more on logistics like printing, book binding and other pre and post dissertation defense needs.

Low and behold, after seven years, my son, JUSTIN RYAN M. ORDOÑO graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Biomedical Technician courses in June 2016. All our relatives and friends who knew Justin never congratulated him and his family. They all extended their felicitations by saying “FINALLY” with a smile.

Justin is now gainfully employed and acts as substitute coach whenever his former swimming coach is in disposed. By Aureo Ordoño