Once in a while


“MISS De Guzman, can you expound on this theory?”

With the confidence of a spelling bee champ, Rocella or fondly called Lilit, stood up and fired away. For a minute or two, she had the class mesmerized with her recitation. This gal knows her notes, their gaze reflected.

The course escapes me but the professor’ eccentric ways lingers. And because he was strange, Lilit and I thought we could get away with being stranger. We were seated at the farthest side of the class and had stopped listening to the lecture. We were softly, in whispers, singing our Paulinian high school hymn when the prof decided to cut short our nostalgic trip.

But Lilit delivered. And she sure showed them.

Her message: Never underestimate a soft-spoken Jaenian.

The daughter of former vice-mayor turned Judge Rodolfo de Guzman, and Celia Silvestre de Guzman, who founded a pre-school in Manila, it’s no brainer where Lilit got her wit, dedication to work and refined ways. Not to mention her flawless and mestiza ways.

Lilit takes her noble task of molding young minds to heart. Her fulfillment and the results of her nurturing ways are reflected in the outputs and overall development of her elementary students in Catholic schools in Los Angeles and the Philippines.

Even the kids’ parents are grateful, proof that Ma’am Lilit’s positive influence knows no radius.

Lilit and I are like Babushka dolls. Our friendship is compartmentalized
within a bigger kinder group. ‘Tis because we are bonded by a great love for two things — good food and no negativity.

Her simple pleasures include watching a Broadway classic or two, museum visits, watching concerts of her pet artists, a relaxing lunch at a Beverly Hills resto, NYC’s Levain cookies, her all-time fave Porto’s goodies, ice cream to mark special occasions and Irvins salted egg fish skin and potato chips, among others.

Family and quality friends get excellent grades in this educator’s heart.

A Piscean, this March 11-born has the pure soul of a newborn yet the determination of an Olympian.

Friendship with this dedicated teacher is a reflection in the mirror. The smile you see is the smile that you get. No photoshops. No falsies. Just genuine, legitimately Lilit.

Lilit tolerates shallowness and appreciates depth. However, she won’t hesitate pointing out reason to unreasonable souls.

Google says the name Rocella represents creativity, curiosity, charm, friendliness, cheer and social life. While Lilit is a Hebrew name which means patriot, also known as 'fire' in Armenian. She is easy to please, but if you get on her bad side, there is no way out.  Being as sensitive as she is, you don't want to back stab her.

These and more aptly describe this LA teacher who turned a year wiser last March 11.

As your birthday prayer, may you continue molding young minds into responsible future citizens and may you remain to be the classroom idol and heroine of countless youths,friends and peers.   May you remain to be surrounded by loving family and true pals. Wishing you more stars in life as well as continued good health and blessings.

Continue spreading positive vibes.

Happy birthday, albeit belated, Ma’m Rocella.

(For comments and suggestions, send email to tesslardizabal@yahoo.com or text 09175841714.)