The Ateneo Law School (ALS) community gave a sincere and warm send-off to the 2018 bar candidates last October 31. A mass presided by Fr. Jett. T. Villarin, SJ, President of Ateneo De Manila University, was held at the Chapel of St. Thomas Moore followed by the remarks given by ALS Dean Jose Maria G. Hofileña and the singing of Ateneo cheers headed by the Blue Babble Battalion. The attendees then proceeded to the Atrium for dinner.
It has been a tradition in ALS that before the bar candidates embark on the journey of taking possibly the most important exam of their lives, the community gathers to show their support and give their well-wishes. This year’s send-off was headed by Student Council (SC) First Year Batch Representative Carlos Recto. According to SC President Rob Escalante, the first year representative heads this activity as a symbol of the new members bidding farewell to those who just graduated. “We want to remind them (the bar candidates) that we’re with them all the way. Win or lose it’s the school we choose; pass or fail, they are Ateneans, they are our alumni and we support them all the way,” said Escalante.
According to one of the bar candidates, she needed the send-off to feel confident in taking the exam. Another said that it was helpful seeing his batchmates and the community after going on their own way and just studying.
In his message, Dean Hofileña expressed his gratitude and admiration to the whole ALS community who has so generously given to and cared for the bar candidates—the volunteer faculty members, the SC, the Central Bar Operations team, the student organizations, the fraternities and sororities, and everyone else who spent time giving advice, preparing review materials, organizing special lectures, and attending to their specific needs. Truly, to give and not to count the cost.
As for the bar candidates, Dean Hofileña described this time as the test of all tests. “For the next four Sundays, you will actually undergo two simultaneous tests—the first being a test of your knowledge of the law and the second test, one which you need to pass to ensure that you pass the test of your knowledge of the law, will be the test of your own character,” he uttered. To pass the second test, he parted with a memory guide: B-A-R. Belief, Astuteness, and Resolve– these are the traits needed to pass the test of character. He also told the bar candidates to trust themselves; to trust that they have the knowledge and that they have enough logic to be able to answer intelligently.
For Dean Hofileña, having a community behind you is like having a family. It is knowing that in the most challenging moment of your life, you can take comfort in your family and that whatever you need, your community is there to help you.
Fr. Villarin, SJ reminded the bar candidates to study well, keep calm and know their sources of inspiration. “We need you to pass the bar because we really need good lawyers who will make a big difference in the legal landscape of the country especially because of the challenges we face today.”