Published in the The GUIDON’s Graduation Magazine, March 2012
Natasha “Tasha” Galbraith has something to teach us about love and acceptance.
It all started during Recruitment Week. This Filipino-American became attracted to an organization with a peculiar name: SPEED, or the Ateneo Special Education Society. By the end of her first area insertion, she was almost moved to tears in the processing session. Since then, she became Program Committee Head and then continued assuming higher roles in the following years – from Area Head to Vice Apostolate and ultimately, SPEED President.
“It’s a great advocacy [with] great people,” she says about the organization. Tasha sees SPEED as an avenue for individuals to create a society that will embrace persons with special needs. This year, SPEED succeeded in sustaining the previous year’s thrust of formation and collaboration as well as improving current projects and launching new ones.
If there’s one perception that Tasha wishes to disprove, it’s the notion that children with special needs exist to remind people how fortunate they are. For her, children with special needs simply ask for respect and acceptance.
Tasha has touched many lives, and in turn, learned a handful of lessons: to be brave, to appreciate simple things and to not take things for granted. “It all made sense to me,” she muses, referring to how academics, extra-curricular activities, and her non- academic formation all tied up together in her four years of college. Amidst pressures, she had the drive to do her best in SPEED, but she believes that she could not have done all these by herself. Recalling a quote from Rene San Andres, she recites: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. What you do in between, that’s all up to you.”
As Tasha leaves Ateneo with a heart full of dreams, a legacy of her great practices in SPEED will certainly be remembered. Her admirable sense of humility and drive for service mark her as a true leader. For her, however, leaders are meant to be dispensable. “It’s not about me, [but] about the organization.”