Feature Story

“To be a ‘magna cum laude’ is an OBE for me”

By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK

The Gonzales family –From left to right: Emmanuel, Frances, Charina and George. Photo © Czarina Gonzales facebook.

“THE last five months have been such an out of body experience that I did not think about the achievement,” thus replied Marie Frances Gorostiza Gonzales when asked how she felt graduating from college “magna cum laude.”

“I just thank God I’d made it,” she added.

Frances, the elder in a brood of two born to former Colegio San Agustin-Makati faculty members Emmanuel and Charina Gonzales, graduated last May from the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota with a degree of Studio Art and Asian Studies double major concentration in Computer Arts and Japanese Studies.

“My dream goal is to open my own animation studio that emphasizes the Asian culture and aesthetics. This is why I chose a major that fuses visual arts with Asian studies,” Frances, who is in a simple pink top and blue denim pants, explained when interviewed by Beyond Deadlines.

She also said that as she grew in a western environment, she became “determined to learn and appreciate eastern thought and philosophies.”

“As an Asian immigrant in America, I’d felt the growing need to strengthen and highlight my Asian heritage in my endeavors,” Frances stressed.

The Gonzales’ migrated to the United States in 2003 and settled in Houston where they raised their two kids. They were among the nearly 50 Colegio San Agustin-Makati teachers who found greener pastures in the US in the early 2000s.

Meanwhile, George, Frances brother, said their mother, who is a high school teacher at the Alief Independent School District in Southwest Houston, cried when she learned of Frances honor while their dad, “in a very not so expressive way,” expressed happiness.

Ms. Gonzales said she really did not expect that Frances will graduate with the highest honor but she knew that she is working hard in school.


Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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