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Joross Gamboa

Communications Graduate

"Southville is an excellent choice for me because they have molded me to become an Achiever in society by... "read more>>

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Transcend!: Valedictory Speech of Lorenzo Isaac O. Estanislao (Grade School Class 2017)

Good Morning,

Overwatch. There is a new video game most young boys play nowadays. It is called Overwatch.

In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world: They are known as the Overwatch. Overwatch ended the crisis, and helped maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But, after many years, Overwatch’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Now, conflict is rising across the world again, and the call has gone out to heroes old and new.

Today is a very special day, not just for me and my parents, but for each and every one present here. Today, we cross the first in a series of finish lines. Today is the day we break through all of our doubts and fears as we now enter adulthood and grow and evolve into better individuals.

Looking back, there were times that we asked ourselves, “What is the purpose of going to school, doing homework, studying for exams? Graduating? Earning a degree?” The answer is in Overwatch. It is being ready and willing when the world calls you, not just to fight the battle, but to heal the sick, to defend the poor and the oppressed, to discover new cures for diseases, to rehabilitate our environment, to save endangered species, to lead, and to educate. It is not just passively sitting around waiting for somebody to step forward and do something someday, because that somebody should be us and that someday starts now! We often hear people say, be the change that the world needs! Together, we should stand and make a difference. No task is too small to make that change, to make that difference. Just imagine a tiny mosquito flying around our ear. It is small but it can be so annoying. It can greatly affect us. And you ask yourselves again, “How are we supposed to do that?” Not, the being annoying part, but making a difference. The answer is simple. Transcend.

When I first came to Southville in Grade 3, I was an extremely timid new student who struggled to fit in, who had a hard time adjusting to an environment that gives students creative freedom, who was so insecure because of previous rejections from teachers and peers. The first thing I learned was how to think out of the box, how to go outside my limits and comfort zone and rise above the standard. I learned to stop thinking of me, myself and I and accept that the world does not revolve around me but instead to look beyond, explore and embrace the changes at hand. To cite a few examples, quizzes and exams were not limited to multiple choice, true or false, matching type but would also include essays which put our creative juices to work, 5 sentences, no more, no less. We had to endure PASS research and be able to defend it which tested our patience and resilience. We had student led conferences which enhanced our self-confidence and communication skills. In other words, we are taught to transcend the four walls of the classroom, to go beyond books and lectures, to think beyond medals and certificates. Certificates fade and medals rust, but learnings are beyond material riches. Southville has also taught me not to be afraid of failing, of making wrong decisions, because it is through these experiences that we become enlightened. Indeed, FAIL (F-A-I-L) is an acronym for FIRST ATTEMPT IN LEARNING.

From the timid, lacking in confidence new student who would always cry in Grade 3 Peace, I was upgraded to star section in Grade 4 Humility but I was still a little shy for being with new and intellectually advanced classmates. I gained more confidence in Grade 5 Righteousness and finally became a more courageous lad in Grade 6 Perseverance. I am proud to say that through hard work, determination and perseverance, I now stand in front of you. What I am trying to say is that I am not any better than any one of you. I am only able to transcend initial failures, disappointments, rejections and even humiliation. And that’s what I am more proud of, I am able to conquer my own fears and transcend all adversities, build my confidence and strengthen my character. I am a better person now than I was a few years ago and I continue to grow and to be better every day by accepting what is and what is not. The challenges I was faced with and those that are yet to come make life more meaningful. Success, for me, is not receiving all the medals and awards, but knowing that I was able to overcome these challenges, for what is success if you don’t improve as a person. I always remind myself, in any situation, IT’S EITHER I WIN OR I LEARN.

Of course I did not do this all alone. Hillary Clinton once said it takes a village to raise a child. Please allow me to thank several people. First, I would like to thank the Southville community for showing me kindness. To all the parents who set good examples when they organized a fundraising for a teacher, we all contributed and it showed me and my batch mates that a little help can go a long way. A small act of kindness has a rippling effect. Another activity of Southville that helped me is the yearly pouch day which opened our eyes to the harsh realities of our world and which showed us how to pay it forward. This is a small beginning to do something today, being called to serve humanity.

Secondly, I want to thank all my teachers, past and present, who have taught me well. You are our modern heroes. May I request all my batch mates to stand up at this point and face our teachers, and give them a very heart-warming round of applause as a way of showing our appreciation? Allow me to make special mention of Ms Syra. She was my adviser when I first came here and as fate would have it, she’s my adviser in my last year in grade school. She was so patient with me during my crying days; she never gave up on me and never doubted that I would one day come out of my shell. Thank you, Ms Syra, for seeing beyond a child lacking in self confidence, for continuously encouraging and polishing me.

I would like to thank all my batch mates, especially my classmates for bearing with me. Your acceptance truly helped me realized what a wonderful world we are in. Please give yourselves a big, big round of applause. Congratulations to each and every one of you.

I would also like to share a little secret with you. My father is an engineer who works overseas. This is his first time to attend any recognition event in my whole life. So Dad, I offer this award to you. For all the days and nights you spent alone in a foreign land to be able to send us to a good school, for every drop of blood, sweat and tears you try to hide from us, for all the birthdays and Christmases that we did not spend together, may this achievement make up for them. If there is one reason why I worked hard for this award, it is to repay you for all the sacrifices that you have done for me and Mateo.

Behind every man’s success is a woman. I humbly offer this medal to you, MOM. For being the man of the house while Dad is away, for guiding and moulding me to be a better person, ready to heed when the world beckons, for making sure that we go home to a house full of love, for taking care of all our needs and bringing us to school every day, the perfect attendance award rightfully belongs to you.

If a woman is behind every man’s success, behind every young child who believes in himself are parents who believed in them first. We would not be here without them. So, let us never forget to express our appreciation for their unconditional love and untiring sacrifices.

I would also like to thank my cousins Alyanna, Arielle and Antwone Ong. They never fail to inspire me with their resilience and grit. To my grandma, Nanay, thank you for your unceasing prayers.

Lastly, to our Almighty God who makes everything possible. He is truly amazing for sending us the right people at the right time. May we continue to do everything for His glory.

Before I finish my talk, let me ask you again, "Are you ready when you are called?"