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Stepping Stone Learning Center: From Dream School to Reality (Christmas Party 2014)

Every year, Stepping Stone Learning Center organizes a Christmas Party for their special needs students, parent and faculty. This year’s however, was pretty special, a red letter day that gave everyone an adrenaline rush. The reason for the excitement was not the occasion but the venue- the was held at the school’s new home Sta. Rita Village, Sucat, Parañaque City last December 19, 2014.

Every year, Stepping Stone Learning Center organizes a Christmas Party for their special needs students, parent and faculty. This year’s however, was pretty special, a red letter day that gave everyone an adrenaline rush. The reason for the excitement was not the occasion but the venue- the was held at the school’s new home Sta. Rita Village, Sucat, Parañaque City last December 19, 2014.

The program, billed as “Timeless Christmas” and pierced together by host Teacher Kim, took place at the huge second floor library, one end serving as the stage area, the other end as the dining area for the kid’ plated lunch.

The Minstrels Choir, guest performers, did the doxology and other musical numbers, student Ferdie led the National Anthem; the three class levels- Early Intervention, Functional Academics, and Teen Adults performed dance numbers, as did the University of Makati OJT interns; while the faculty teamed up with the admin staff for a special dance number as well.

The Ann’s of the Rotary Club of Makati added joy to the excitement by handing the kids Christmas presents under the club’s Last Angel Project, while the school itself had its own gift-giving number.

Lunch for the kids was the rich feast of fried chicken, macaroni salad, embotido with a twist, pork barbeque, brownies and a juice pack, a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Rob and Eloy Salamon. The Minstrel Choir was also brought in by the Salamons’ to perform at the schools’ Christmas Party.

It is worthy to note that the food was prepared by Mrs. Eloy herself. Rob is the Field Representative for the Lloyd George Asia Foundation based in Hong Kong. Ann’ from the Rotary Club of Makati, members of Indian Community, nuns from Sta. Rita College, trustees and Advisers of Stepping Stone, US Peace Corps Philippines representatives, trustees of the Philippine Cerebral Palsy, member of different Disability Societies and guests were treated to pizza, pork barbeque-compliments of Trustee Richard Santiago, and Siopao – from Adviser Joe Kuan.

Stepping Stone President and Chairman Mundy Gonzalez gave a bird’s eyeview if the new school upon completion and traced its five-year journey from dream to reality and revealed grand plans for the school. He made mention of Rob Salamon who was instrumental in bringing in financial support from the Lloyd George Asia Foundation which made possible the setting up of a Therapy Center which houses Speech and Occupational therapy rooms at the present Makati site; Mr. Randell Carman, Chairman of HMR Group of companies, who arranged for the clean-up of the new school premises, a major operation given that the place had been unused for number years; the Indian Community heade by Mr. Arjan Girnamal whose untiring support contributed to making the party a success and most especially to Executive Director Dayal, the guiding light behind and foremost advocate for the school, “for his tireless effort in coordinating all of these activities; Dayal has been able to consolidate the Filipino trait of Bayanihan with the Indian traits of business acumen in running the school administration. “It must be mentioned that it has been Dayal’s dogged determination that has brought forward the vision of the entire board to where it is now, and it is his passion and relentless drive that are likely to see the dream through to a happy fulfillment in the near future.

The new school campus is nothing less than impressive—a three storey, three wing structure with a separate auditorium that sits on a 5,500 –sq.m property ( and adjacent lot of 4,500-sq.m to house a future residential boarding facility). There will be rooms for various auxiliary service for special education—physical therapy, vocational therapy, speech and occupational therapy, and training center where the kids can run laundry, a bakeshop and water refilling station, all to be housed on the ground floor along with classrooms with the younger students. Adult students will be assigned to the second floor which will have art and music therapy, a fitness center, classrooms a school press, administrative offices, and many other facilities. The top floor will house the Society offices, organizations involved with special education and training rooms.

Also in the pipeline on the ground floor is a non-denominational prayer room, clinic, and a café-type canteen where parents and guardians can view classrooms thru TV monitors while having a bite.

The party was a sweet foretaste of things to come, not only for the students, parents, administrators, faculty and staff but for everyone shares the notion that people with special needs deserve a place under the sun.

Executive Direction Dayal wrapped up the program with a word of thanks to everyone who graced the occasion and made the day for the kids. “Thank you to all those present and especially those that contributed their time, treasure and efforts in making this party a huge success.”

Present at the party were Trustees Mundy Gonzalez, Ann Aspinall, Remy Romero Salas, Johnson Tan, Conrad Marty, Rodrigo Segura; Adviser Paing Hechanova, Felix Amparo, Louie Aseoche; President Riggie Nolido and First Ann Sue of the Rotary Club of Makati, Immediate Past President Carlo Rufino and Ann Cat; Anns Pina Rojas, Sylvia Gonzalez, Jean Chavez and daughter Ingrid; Rotarian Larry Boyer and Ann Tere, Bud Melvin and Ann Au; Rotarians Vic Floresca and Jay Savage; President Rosarie Villasor of the Rotary Club of San Juan Central; Ann Babylyn Newfield and her fiancé Jun Arbis;

US Peace Corps Philippines representative Jean Seigle-Country Director, Milo Cruz- Coordinator, Sheila San-Jose Program Assinstant; HMR Group representative Randell Carman-Chairman, Fe Fernandez- Branch Manager, Gareth Holgate- Project Manager; Mr.& Mrs. Rob & Eloy Salamon; the Minstrels Choir headed by Mr. Alain; De la Salle Benilde representative Rene Durian-Senior Faculty Professor and Vanju Alvaria Multi Media Director; Indian Community representative headed by Mr. Arjan Gurnamal and party; Autism Society Parañaque Chapter President Ms. Imelda Alvisio and party;Philippine Cerebral Palsy Trustee Tim Strong and Tom Hoese; Bina Nandwani and Grace Murphy; Shaun Nandwani and friends Mik and Amit; Mrs, Kamla Sabnani and Mrs. Baby Mansukhani, Tess Dumana and Rotary staff Ronnel Dotaro and Angie Falceso; and Nuns of Sta. Rita headed by Sister Lucy and party. Thank you to all parents, faculty and admin staff and most especially to our dear students