2018 Philippine Bar Exam Topnotcher Atty. Sean James B. Borja considers Southville International School and Colleges (SISC) significantly influential to his success. Southville celebrates another milestone, as Borja takes the spot being its first alumnus to top the Philippine Bar Exam. “As a lawyer, I find that we need to observe what goes around on us not only through a national lens, but equally so from an international perspective.” – Borja said in an interview having gone to an international school. As he looked back to his international education journey in Southville, Atty. Borja shared how his childhood was far different from the person that he is now. The practice of law was far from his vision and world issues were never part of his interests. Things unfolded when he officially joined Southville in 2006, at the age of 11. As he gradually matured, Borja started gauging and making sense of real viewpoints throughout his life as he expanded on his identity and greater purpose.
As a competent Monarch, Borja braved the rigor of Southville’s International Baccalaureate Programme (IBDP) to better his global upbringing and mindset. He would recall the subject that made him struggle the most towards the discovery of his utmost potential to become a lawyer, the English A1 class. “I remember the many times I had to write commentaries on literature which I barely understood at face value. It was only upon thorough reflection that I was able to sharpen my skill of comprehending what I was really reading,” as the practice of law primarily requires excellent comprehension and retention skills.
“The IB Programme really assisted Atty. Borja’s focus on target setting.The IB students thrive in their comprehension of world issues and human understanding.This is achieved through essays,oral commentary, and text analyses. These develop the students’ communication and critical thinking skills.” – Mr. John Wraith, IBDP Coordinator.
More than the required skill, Borja believes that studying law does not only challenge the mind but also the heart. The many failed attempts he’d been through in Southville turned out to be his greatest advantage as greater challenges took place in his legal journey. Thus, among the Southville’s 5Cs, he sustained his grit with “CHARACTER” as his main defense, “…whatever I was going through was a setback, and that every setback was the perfect set-up for another comeback.” And it was more than a comeback that Borja attained topping the bar exam but also an impressive requital to the many failed attempts he overcame and not let himself completely fall apart.
As newly declared lawyers are expected to combat the courtroom scene, ironically he finds a unique love at the Gulapa Law (G – Law) , a firm specializing in government contracts, PPP projects, and infrastructures where he is currently affiliated; a Philippine boutique law firm based in Manila with offices in New York City and San Francisco, focusing on innovative areas.” – Gulapa Law’s Facebook Page. He dedicates his success to the country’s major advancement as G – Law provides him an avenue where he can execute his combined passion and skills in the legal scene, profoundly contributing to the improvement of the Philippine society. Yet the courtroom will always remain as a piece of his oath and with the recent attainment he made, he’s excited to see what the coming days has in store for him, not to constrain himself from the best of his abilities as a lawyer, representing the latest cluster of legal practitioners and dedicated public servants aiding to the country’s top needs.
“For the Monarchs out there who want to take up law, please know that the pursuit of law is 50% skill, and 50% heart. Our country is in need of great lawyers. Great — not brilliant, not naturally smart — lawyers who will conquer their weaknesses, and who will choose to better themselves every single day though it may be difficult. No matter who you are, and no matter what grades you get in school, I hope you know that no dream is too big for you if you just put your heart into it. At Southville, we aren’t taught to be perfect, but we are taught to be strong and believe in ourselves most especially when the odds are stacked against us. ”
– Atty. Sean James B. Borja
Class of 2010