Mr. Dennis A. Reyes, Program Director of the School of Computer Science and Information Technology of Asia Pacific College, passed away last December 3. The news caught everyone by surprise. When I heard it from Dianne Mercado (president of student org APC-JPCS, in which Sir Dennis was adviser), all I could say afterwards was, “Ba’t ganun? Of all people? And this early?”
I was Director of Programs and Meetings (aka Logistics Officer) of APC-JPCS for three years, though I had never talked to Sir Dennis heart-to-heart, if not at length. My duty as logistics officer is to make sure activities organized by our student org run smoothly. I go to Sir Dennis from time to time to have him sign venue reservation forms. Most of our conversations are about JPCS (and tidbits of my IT life).
However, I have lots of stories about Sir Dennis, and it helped me to get to know him better.
Once, I had a problem of securing 10 PC’s for a DOTA Tournament during IT Week. The ITRG Office (in charge of all computers and gadgets in APC) initially promised eight PC’s. When I got to confirm it a week before the event, they said they can only give three or four (or none at all, I really can’t remember). I went to Sir Dennis’ office, and told him this. Immediately, he got up from his chair and told me to come along. We went into the ITRG Office; minutes later, JPCS got the “full deal”: 10 PC’s, with power and networking taken care of.
I stood beside him dumbfounded. I was thinking, we can’t just storm into this office, Sir, and do this. Lots of scenarios are already running in my head. But he later justified: it’s IT Week, the time when CSIT students get to take a break from studies and participate in activities organized by JPCS and JISSA. Why spoil the fun?
Sir Dennis lets us do the thinking, and he’ll find a way to make it possible. (All in accordance with school rules, of course.)
Sir Dennis is not afraid to tell you what he feels, and what you need to hear. He doesn’t instill fear in you; he compels you to take action.
Some of us graduating students were tasked to create and publish RAMblings, the official magazine of SoCSIT. It is a compilation of tech-related articles written by all graduating IT students for our ITRENDS class. It must be published before, and distributed on graduation day (May 21).
Four weeks before May 21, we’re still not done with the soft copy. Chances were slim that we would get hold of the magazine in time. On one of our graduation practices, he frankly told us that if we wouldn’t be able to produce the magazine, we wouldn’t graduate. There were even R’s beside our names on the list of graduates tacked onto a board. (R means repeat; this means if we would not deliver, we’ll be repeating ITRENDS).
It wasn’t meant as a threat to us; it was simply the truth. The magazine itself is a project for the ITRENDS class, so if we wouldn’t be able to publish it by graduation day, we might as well kiss our diplomas goodbye (for now) and enrol for another term in school.
On that same day, the soft copy was done. Immediately, we submitted it to the publishers. Fortunately, two days before graduation day, all 500 copies of the magazine have been printed. We all breathed sighs of relief.
Sir Dennis is rich (or maybe well-off), but he doesn’t flaunt it. He dresses in a simple manner. He doesn’t go around and tell everyone about his brand-new watch, or the amount he spends for a haircut. As far as I know, when I hear him talk or share stories, it’s related to APC, work, JPCS, IT careers, and Volkswagens. I can see that he lives a simple, normal, passionate life.
One of the things I admire about Sir Dennis is his ability to filter out unnecessary details, and focus on what’s really important. Less drama, more merits, more action.
Also, I can say that he’ll agree with me on this: that as long as you love what you do, you’re never stepping on other people, and you do what is right, everything will be fine.
Two months after graduation, I was still out of work. A company has already extended a job offer to me, but I honestly told them I’m waiting for another company’s job offer. Their competitor’s, actually: IBM, a dream company of mine.
It was late July, and I was helping JPCS in organizing this year’s IT Week. Sir Dennis greeted us at the cafeteria during one JPCS meeting, and he asked me why I was still around the campus. I told him I was waiting for IBM’s job offer. Then and there, he told me to go to the APC Center, and look for Ms. Donna.
I asked her if there is a way to contact IBM to check on the status of my employment. Ms. Donna gave me a telephone number. I called, and found out that my application is still processed. I was assured that my application is active at the very least, so I waited once more.
During IT Week, in one of the Mr. & Ms. CSIT practices at the auditorium, IBM called me. I was instructed to go to Eastwood, because a contract is waiting for my signature.
If it weren’t for Sir Dennis, I may still be a bum at home, or be an employee having a job I may not enjoy in a company I had second-thoughts to work for. He may not have given me advice personally, but that simple assist was everything. If Sir Dennis had a mantra, it may be this: Just ask. I might help you. And he’ll seal it with a smile.
Thank you very much, Sir Dennis Reyes, for everything. Words aren’t enough to describe your impact and legacy in Asia Pacific College. Your successor will have big shoes to fill. You will surely be missed by JPCS, SoCSIT, APC, “Herbie”, and the whole APC Community.