A student graduates, and he was a son to me. And now, he confronts the world out there.

A student graduates, and he was a son to me. And now, he confronts the world out there. 
I AM NOT GOING TO NAME HIM in this post, but I must write this to document his triumph against all odds. 
Let us call him Mr B. 
He came to me straight from high school, and under an initiative that allowed public high school graduates to be mainstreamed into university, he became my student assistant under a federally-funded work-study grant. 
That means he could work and study, and could work for me, and given a salary equivalent to a federally-approved per hour pay. 
For 20 hours a week, he came to work for and with me, laboring it out sometimes, until the wee hours of the evening. He volunteered his time too, when he lots of those in his hands. 
When in 2009 we were working for the Nakem, he was there with me, preparing all the things that we needed for the international conference. 
And at past 0100 AM--that is the small wee hours of the morning for you--the phone rang.
The call was from Canada. 
A company in Canada needed someone to be an interpreter for an emergency medical case in California. They needed someone who can speak Ilokano, and they got hold of me, and they were sorry that it was too early in the morning, but that I needed to help in the emergency case. 
And then the quick, rapid, frenzied interpretation work at 0100 AM. 
I told Mr B of the need for him to get hold of his ancestors' language. Local born but of Ilokano parents, he understood Ilokano but not in a professional, competent, and academic way.
I told him--even insisted--that he needs to pick up his Ilokano again so he can be of help to our people in Hawaii and in the diaspora. 
Mr B was my only witness in this act--in this other work I do as an interpreter. He understood, which made him decide to minor in Ilokano. 
I think he was just a freshman at that time, new to the vagaries of university life, new to the idiosyncrasies of academics like me who work up to the time when even the night has fallen asleep. 
He was a young man with his pain, his dad just died on him even as he was graduating from high school. 
His older brother is not keen on doing academic work, does his own thing, gets married early. A younger brother followed a different path, got hooked up in something addicting, and then one day a year ago, met his ugly death on the streets, knifed and left to bleed.
In all these, a widowed mother became the reason for him to hold on. And his younger sister, she who needed someone to look up to as an exemplar. I was there for him during those dark days of doubt, despair, despondency. I pushed to go on, to get on, to get up and walk again. And again. 
All through the years, he came into my life, and he came out into my life too.
But there was one thing in this young man I could never forget: he knew what responsibility was. And he knew that he needed to succeed for his mother, to make her stop crying, to make her remember her blessings. 
He made it sure that all those who came to work for me--in my office--worked hard. 
In all these years, I assigned him that unenviable role of being my office manager. And yes, he used the whip: he made it sure that those who were paid worked accordingly. 
And now this young man graduated last Saturday, triumphing against all odds, and getting that diploma that would not have been possible if he did not persevere. 
To you, young man, you know who you are. 
There is one thing I want you to know: I am proud of you! This is to honor you. 

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