Garcia, Leilani

7th grade and 4th year high school

Sitting: Elsa Arguelles, Enrica Lahoz, Leilani Garcia
Standing: Eleanor Nolasco, Leticia Liwanag

Leilani at the SMC October 2011 Reunion at Dana Point, California
Lani in Dublin (2017)
Lani with her first-born Julienne and first grandchild Justin (2017)
Lani with her son Zandro and two of his 4 children, Jodie and Zabrina (2018)

Lani is an Executive Assistant at Ally Financial Inc. in the Greater New York City Area
Source:  Accessed March 2, 2018

June 2018

Hard to believe fifty years have gone by. High school graduation was a bittersweet moment.  Leaving what had been my second home for eleven years was heart-breaking and unnerving but at the same time, heading to college was something I was looking forward to with great anticipation. And indeed, the next four years at Maryknoll were a period of exciting, fun adventures and experiences that transitioned me into maturity and adulthood.  Then came 1973 – college graduation, followed by marriage and the birth of my first child — all in that one year. The beginning of yet another chapter.

Over the next decade, my career took off and flourished at two multinational companies in Manila as an Executive Assistant. After eleven years of marriage and two children, my husband and I parted ways. I relocated and settled in New York, where I have been during the past 35 years. It’s now almost 30 years since I remarried a native New Yorker, Michael Gelbaum with whom I raised our son, Dean.

Lani with her husband Michael and son Dean (2018)

In the last 33 years, I’ve worked at six companies and now with Ally Financial going on my eighth year with the Corporate Development and Strategy team. The thought of retirement hovers around, but I am not quite ready to go into what is likely to be the last chapter in my life. For now, being in the workplace, keeping mentally and physically active remains an appealing and gratifying experience for me.

But I know it won’t be long before I head into my twilight years. I start to look back at all that have happened to me and there were certainly things I would’ve changed if I could. But after all that is said and done, I have no regrets whatsoever. I have been blessed with three wonderful children and five grandchildren, three sisters who have been and remain to be my support and best friends. I’m thankful for each waking moment, for all of God’s blessings in the past, present and future and for being here to celebrate with you, my dear classmates, this milestone anniversary of our high school graduation.

As the saying goes,  “Save the best for last” … and that’s exactly what I intend my last chapter to be. God bless all 69-ers and happy 50th!!!