Almost 13 year ago, on the third of May 1999 in Manila, Philippines, a boy who weighed 7.8 lbs was born through a Caesarian section at FEU-NRMF hospital. He was called Joseph Maynard. Joseph because his mother has a devotion to St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus Christ. Maynard was from a baby book which means strong. His mother thought that she wants a boy who is not just strong physically but will grow up as a boy who’s strong emotionally and spiritually. He was given the nickname, JM which obviously stands for Joseph Maynard.

When he was growing he was such a delight to the whole family, before his first birthday, he was mistaken sometimes as a girl because of his long hair which was only cut after he turned one. It was sort of an old belief and tradition among Filipinos. He started school at the age of three at Blessed Scalabrini Institute. The Scalabrinian sisters were so happy with JM because he was such a well- endowed and talented boy. At the age of 5, he won Mr. Talent by doing a declamation piece written by his mom. He also danced during that contest and so by unanimous decision, he won the title. He became too, the overall winner for a popularity contest and he was crowned as the first Mr. Scalabrini.

He was six when his parents decided to migrate to Australia. He was sad to leave his friends and their big extended family especially from his mother side. He was not good at conversational English when he arrived in Sydney. He adapted to the language and to the culture of Australia quite easily although in between the adaptation, there were few kids who made fun of him because of his diction and pronunciation. His parent’s heart even broke one time when one kid told them explicitly ” You know what, I just do’nt like JM”. When his parents asked the kid what was the reason, he just replied without hesitation, ” I don’t know, I just don’t like him”. This was the same kid who ruined his favorite toys which they brought from the Philippines. During that time, his parents were trying as well to fit in with a group of people ( Australian citizens but from the Philippines as well ) so they just said nothing, tongue tied they were even though inside they were hurting so much. There were still many incidents which transpired, Joseph being pinched by the same kid, being blamed for nothing and other things . Then it came to a point that his parents decided not to mingle anymore with that group. In fairness though, from that group, his parents found some true friends as well. Friends that they will keep for life.

Now, Joseph is almost turning 13 and is in year 8. This boy has been doing excellently, academically and socially. His parents always receive excellent feedback from his teachers, they always tell them that he is just such an adorable kid, who’s smart and very well-mannered. He plays the violin and is part of the school orchestra. He loves theater sports and is good in acting as well.

Today, his parents know no one can just make fun of him because of his pronunciation and accent. In fact, he’s developing himself to be a good public speaker since he wants to become a lawyer someday. This time, no one can just pinch him because he knows now how to tell them off. His parents know that he has gone a long way and they are just exceptionally proud of him because unlike most kids who were born here and who were never ridiculed, he is someone who was able to rise above all those extraordinary challenges. Definitely, his second name describes him all the more, Maynard which means strong, and yes, he is STRONG!


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