Mr. Derick S. Figueroa
Once a JPIAn, Always a JPIAn
“After doing it get over it.”
A professor within our college once said those words to us when a topic on moving on came into a discussion. I spent so much time thinking about those words. I thought that the justification is quite right but I felt like there’s something wrong about it that made feel queasy. And not until I was tasked to do this essay did I realize what is it about that sentence that bothers me.
Alumnus is defined by the Merriam - Webster’s Dictionary as “a person who has attended or has graduated from a particular school, college, or university” and “a person who is a former member, employee, contributor or inmate”. Add the word supportive and it becomes a phrase that tells a whole lot of a different story.
Support isn’t just confined within the material things a person can give. It also encompasses sharing intangible gifts to the people you want to lift up. And most of the time, the latter even surpasses the former. Mr. Derick S. Figueroa, our candidate for the Most Supportive JPIAnAlumnus, may not have enough to donate material and financial things to us, the current members of the TSU – JPIA, but he, with all his might and ability does the latter.
Sir D., as most of us call him, is quizzer and a student leader during his time. He was the NFJPIA R3 Regional Vice President Audit during the Federation Year 2010 – 2011, the Vice President for Academics in the Local Chapter and an expert in the taxation field. In spite of all these qualifications, he chose to decline to offer his services to the biggest accounting firms in the country because he knows where he should be.
He is a professor within the college for more than four years now for he chose to stay because he knows that the students need an effective teacher like him. Aside from inspirational foods for thought that he gives to the JPIAns during every discussion, he also never failed to show his support on the extra-curricular activities of the organization. For every event done by the organization, he was there supervising, encouraging the members and especially the officers when we feel like we can no longer go on. He also untiringly conducts reviews for our quizzers as preparation for every competition.
During 18th Regional Mid-Year Convention at Ilocos Norte, he was the anchor to our ship. As much as possible, he tried and stabilized the situation especially regarding conflicts during the convention. He was there, helping us not only to communicate with the committee but also on raising our concerns. Others might think that this would be too dramatic, but Sir D. came to the point of shedding tears for he can’t bear the fact and injustice that happened when our participants for the Basic Accounting Quiz Bee were not given a chance to answer for the first two rounds of the competition due to the delayed shuttle services.
More than that, he never left us fightingafter the tragic event that happened right after the awarding ceremonywhen one of our co-officers was struck in the head three times by a Department of Tourism official. With shaking voice out of anger and love for us, he couldn’t help but cry tears of agony once again as he defended our co-officer. Assuring as he is, he went with us to the hospital and the police station to file charges. He was there, he never left and he never made us feel like we have no one on our side.
We may hear several alumni donating tons of valuables to their school or former organization – giving them a portion of the excess that they have – to help on financial matters. But upon remembering a parable, we believe that it is not really how much we give that matters, but how much love we put into giving that really touches people’s lives. He has given and is still giving us the best gift and support that he can give, a portion of his life that he can never take back – his time.Sir D. has given us his valuable time, more than others: his time that he might have used for his own personal growth, but he chose to share it and that growth with us. And with that, we will always be grateful to him.
Eventually, Sir D. has become my answer to the perplexed skepticism on the quote in the first part of this essay. He has proven that after doing something, it is quite not right to get over it. Because he never did. He never got over his JPIAn origin. He never forgets how a JPIAn struggles and rejoices. He has proven to us that once a JPIAn, always a JPIAn.