‘It was a Simple Ministry to Bring Joy’

This was how Vice President for Academic Affairs Elsa C. Streegan reflected on her half a century “apostolado” as an educator during her last office day at Riverside College. She was preparing the office last December 20, 2017 to be vacated; she is retiring which is a move that creates a sense of vacuum to many but that simple teacher-like and motherly warmth she exuded in every bit of her stay at the College would surely remain a legacy.

Souvenir photo of some College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Members with VPAA Elsa Streegan (middle) and Dr. Ervie Gallespen (back, left). Faculty members from left to right are Gil Severino, Nenelyn de la Fuente, Streegan, An Rojales, Marilou Cortez, and Jo Garin (back).* (contributed photo)

Dr. Ervie Gallespen in a coffee table book published as a tribute to her wrote a poem about this. It read, “Oh dear Ma’am Elsa/ You may no longer be our Ma’am/ But you will always be our Mom...” Then, tenderly and succinctly, the poem ended by alluding to Mrs. Streegan’s professional life in education which she described as an effort to do best, not the second rate best and definitely not a sheer compilation of worldly achievements she considered as mere peripheries of life.

That poem’s last stanza read it all, “…A mentor to every Dean/ A moulder of others’ dreams/ A mother to everyone/ Elsa, that is how she has been.” Yes, she refused to rest on laurels and this is admirable.

The line ‘A moulder of others’ dreams’ is most appropriate for Mrs. Streegan as she would rather dwell on the thought that work as an educator is a mission to be of help always. It was, it is and will be a mission for her “to bring joy to those encountered just as St. Francis of Assisi would pray Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is sadness, let me bring joy.”

It was such a great joy, she intimated, to casually meet students now in various positions and places in different parts of the globe who looked back to those days of their great “doubts and dreams” but in her own little way, she was able to help them rise above circumstances.

Riverside College VPAA Elsa Streegan addressing the CAS Family in their Christmas Party last December 12, 2017 at the Bar 21 Restaurant.* (Clorie Emilio photo)

Mrs. Streegan meanwhile did not hold her little tears of joy while addressing the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS Family) Christmas Party last December 12, 2017 at the Bar 21 Restaurant. The CAS Family tribute, read by Dr. Nenelyn de la Fuente in the same coffee table book, described her as an assiduous worker, a harbinger of hope in times of difficulty and that she brought “more than instructions (but) you gave us direction and inspiration”.

In short, an amazing motherly boss, not the foundation, not the beams, not the walls but the light of the home (nanay ang ilaw ng tahanan) and “we all know how painful it is to say goodbye to a very supportive and motherly boss”.

The tears of joy was perhaps a little disagreement, perhaps considered a little overstatement on the part of Mrs Streegan as she stressed her simplicity as a woman with a desire of living a life of integrity and rendering simple service to students following the pattern of Jesus’ birth in a lowly manger. It was a simple ministry to show love and gratitude to God who gave numerous blessings.

And so, holding the coffee table book published by the Riverside College community, she lavished the CAS Family Christmas Party cum Tribute with her “simple thanks”.*