On Second Chances & the 2011 Outstanding Alumni

By Randell Tiongson on September 8th, 2011

A few months ago, my former teacher in Economics called me up and asked for my CV. She said that she wants to nominate me for the annual school alumni awards. I was honored and thankful to even be considered.

Most people assumed that I was an exemplary student, but I am far from it and I want to share something that’s really personal to me for this post.

I had a very colorful history during my University years. When I entered college, I was a mediocre and too care-free. During my freshmen year, I never paid attention to my classes nor do I even listened to my professors. As expected, I started to fail my classes and since my school had standards to uplift, I was being debarred from re-enrolling. I can vividly recall the fateful day in the summer of 1985 when my parents got the advise from the University letting them know of my debarment. My father was furious and it really broke my mother’s heart. You see, my mom and I had a special relationship. She was my very first fan and at a young age, she told me that I will do great things in life. In a palanca letter in high school, my mom told me that among her 7 kids, I was the most different and that I will do great things in life. My first ‘real-life’ lesson happened in the summer of ’85 and I was determined to remedy my situation.

My solution? I turned to the Lord. At 19, I prayed and prayed to the Lord that He save me from my situation. A distant relative appealed my situation to the college regent, a Dominican priest who agreed to hear my appeal. The priest talked to me and felt pity on me, so much so that he said he will give me a second chance but I need to be in academic probation. He only asked that I do well this time and that at the end of the semester, I should go back to him to show my class cards.

Did I learn my lesson and take my studies seriously? You bet! On the first semester of my academic probation, my grades were all up and I narrowly missed being in the Dean’s List. It was probably the first time in my life that I became diligent; I opted to sit in the first row, intently listening to my professors and actually taking time to study my lessons. As promised, I came back to the college regent and happily showed my class cards. Upon seeing my grades, the priest looked at me with a smile and told me “I knew you can do it… keep it up”. Since then, I never failed a class, never failed a test, never missed an assignment.

The rest of my stay in college became great and by my senior year, I became a student leader and even becoming the president of an umbrella organization composed of about 10 to 12 universities. About 2 years after graduation, I found myself in the same college, this time teaching a few classes on Business Administration. I bumped into the priest who gave me a second chance and this is what he said…  “a few years ago, you were pleading with me to stay in the university — now, I am talking with you here at the faculty room.”

I have graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Commerce majoring in Economics in 1988. Since then, I taught there for a semester and been back a couple of times to speak to students and teachers.

The other day, a mailman was in my house and handed me a letter. When I opened it, I was delighted to read this…

Reading this brought back a lot of memories and on the importance of 2nd chances. Fr. Terry Campillo, O.P. — thank you for believing in me when no one else did. To my mom (she passed away before I graduated), thank you for never losing your faith in me and for planting the seed that I can do great things in my life. To my teachers who patiently taught me and also guided me, my appreciation. To my dear wife who stands by me regardless of our situation, my undying thanks.

And to my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ — my eternal gratitude. You loved me despite my sins; you were faithful even I was not; you stood by me despite my rebellion. You orchestrated everything in my life because you are after my welfare, even if I wasn’t. All of these is because of your grace and all of these is for your Glory. Thank you.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8, NIV


25 thoughts on “On Second Chances & the 2011 Outstanding Alumni”

  • Congratulations, Randell, for being one of the Outstanding Alumni of UST for 2011.
    I will share this with my youngest son to inspire him and make him realize the importance of determination, perseverance, and hard work. Most of all, God makes Himself known to those who earnestly seek Him. When God is in the center of one’s life, one has the right perspective of life. Continue to use your talents for the honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To God be the glory.

  • Amen! It’s really trusting God and having faith in Him that will be a key to our success. Mabruk! (congratulations in Arabic).

  • Greetings Sir Randell!

    You deserve the award and even I myself is very proud of having you as a teacher at RFP training and a mentor. Good thing I met you and glad you gave the talk last 2009 that eventually led to expose your achievement. I am proud that one of our student is my teacher…Congratulations!….I hope you can serve our college and bring the best learning to our students….God Bless!

    Edwin M. Suson
    Faculty, Entrepreneurship Department

  • Wow! Congratulations! God is truly glorified by your life and achievements. We are truly so proud of you!

  • Thanks so much.. really appreciate the kind words. God deserves all the glory. Also, its kinda cool to get the award during UST’s 400th Year!

  • So happy that Fr. Terry got to read this blog. Thank you Fr. Terry… continue to give people 2nd chances. God bless you!!!!

  • Congratulations on your achievement fellow Tomasino!! And during the quadricentennial year at that! Ikaw na! =)

  • I was a witness and a very big part of those college years you mentioned. Who would have thought that 23 years later you would be an Outstanding Alumni!!! I am so very proud of you bro.

    May God be glorified in your work. Congratulations!!!

  • Congratulations S’ Randell! It was truly inspiring to know that having second chance will make great things turn around. It is not usual for people to give you that chance.
    It was worth it! We thank Fr. Terry for he is one of the reasons we have a great mentor like you.
    You truLy deserve the award. Hope I can sit in to that awarding ceremony. You never fail to inspire people.
    May the blessings of God be with you & ur family always! (^^,)

  • Randell,


    Thank you for your email. I appreciate it very much. Way to go.
    God is good all the time. Best regards to Mia. God bless.

    Papa Mon.

  • Congratulations, Mr Randell! Thanks be God for blessing us with YOU, a very generous person. U truly deserve the award.

  • Praise God, for our Great God is in control of everything. Failures and trials
    are used by God for us to come to Him for help. We
    are truly blessed that we can approach the throne of
    grace and cry to Him, Abba Father.To God be the Glory, brod.

  • Congratulations boss, im not surprised tho. lol

    nice article too, i’ll let my wife read this, malay mo bigyan din nya ako second chance! haha!

  • Congratulations Sir… You deserve the recognition for your effort in helping educate people from all walks of life on the importance of managing one’s personal finance…

  • Congratulations! It was a pleasure working with you from 2008=2009. For second chances, I turn to this text: Jeremiah 17:7-10; “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

    Your changed ways have saved you and indeed the Lord gives second chances only if the contents of one’s heart truly deserves it…


  • Congratulations Kuya Randell!

    I have learned so much from you and will continue to learn more. Thanks!Stories like yours continue to inspire me everytime I don’t make it or almost make it and still strive with the best that I have.Glory be to God

  • Very inspiring Mr. Randell. I first met you in VCF malate. I was the speaker after your time slot ” CROSSOVER”. May i share your testimony to my future audience?

  • Sa lahat po ng alumni awardee ikaw po may pinaka the best na speech Sir Randall, simula po ngayon araw-araw ko na po dadalawin website mo sir because your speech really inspires me and encourage me to study hard and never lose hope or give up in studies. What strike me the most was the verse in the Bible that you told us thomasian students..

    “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

    We’re so blessed to listen to your speech sir, to God be the Glory
    – Entrepreneur 1st year student

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On Second Chances & the 2011 Outstanding Alumni