Article by: Ji Won Cyhn

Instead of the regular balloons, cake, and presents that one would receive on birthdays, senior Nathan De Villa decided to turn the table around and give back to the community on his birthday. To celebrate, Nathan put hours of work into planning and organizing a huge service trip for the De Mesa Elementary School with his friends.

When asked what made him organize this trip on his birthday, Nathan explains that “typically, when teenagers are about to turn 18, there has been an overhype of finally turning “legal” and to an extent sort of going wild on their birthday.” This was not the case with Nathan, since he considered his birthday as  “another stage in life,” and hence he could not think of a better way to celebrate his birthday. Nathan also shares that this “was just perfect timing for [his] birthday, since everyone was able to come to the trip”. Furthermore, Nathan timed the trip exactly to be on his birthday, so that he would be able to “share the opportunities that [he has been] blessed with” with other people in need.

After spending the whole of the October break designing and ordering shirts, communicating with the school, planning the events, finding volunteers and more, Nathan finalized and officialized the trip, which turned out to be “one of the most remarkable things he had ever experienced”. He also mentions that the “the combination of a feeding, reading and sports programs, mixed with the enthusiastic volunteers was just a surreal experience.” Malvika Subramaniam, a friend of Nathan who went on the trip, notes “the trip was really fun since [she] got to play badminton and volleyball with the kids”. She “not only got to bond with the children, but also with the twenty other people that went”.

The success of this trip has encouraged Nathan, and a few others, to plan and organize another one. It is through events such as these that we see the strong sense of Bearcat spirit and the amazing dedication, willingness, and inspiration our students have and give.

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