To our guest of honor, Mr. Arturo Caronongan III, to our Chief Executive Mentor, Dr. Genevieve Ledesma Tan, to our school President, Dr. Marl V. Ferenal, to our Principal for Basic Education, Ms. Marie-Vic Suarez, the management team, school officials, distinguished guests, dedicated teachers, beloved parents and fellow graduates, a pleasant morning to all!
Today is a day worth remembering all the hard work and sacrifice of all the graduates this school year. Graduation Day – such a momentous occasion that will be cherished even when you leave Southville.
Now, to start off, I know that every other speech in the history of valedictorians have all been targeted on the same aspect: success. Success, such a word. Most say that success is only for the best, but it isn’t. It’s for you, and you, and you, basically, every single one of you. But success shouldn’t be taken for granted. Success isn’t just your alibi or ticket to a better reputation, a better person in front of others. You achieve success, because you want to, you need to. But life isn’t just about reaching goals and taking new paths of opportunity. Life isn’t just about success. Life is also about happiness.
Now, what is happiness? Are you happy today? Have you been happy this year? Are you happy with what you’ve achieved and done this year? There isn’t much to life when you focus too much on one goal, so you back out from simple things that interrupt yourself while reaching that certain goal, like going to a family trip to Atlantis (which isn’t even real) or even more basic, like playing a board game or chatting with your crush (even if you wanted to so badly).
Your journey to success is like a car on a road trip. On one end is success, and you’re on the other end. And there are stops like gas stations, which resemble the little things you do everyday. And, if you ignore those stops, you’ll lose gas and your engine will fail. Even if you already have a full tank at the beginning; if you’re really aiming for that goal at the end, you have to stop for a while to the things that make you happy, like the everyday activities you do with your friends that strengthen the bond between one another. Never forget the enthusiasm-aspired experiences we shared with our batchmates in CGS, the Intramurals, for which we won overall champion, and a wide list of other things.
As you know, there are a huge number of different types of cars in the world. You can be a Ferrari, or a simpler car, back to my analogy on success. You can repaint your car, like if you want to change your personality for the better, never for the worse, remember that, or you can lighten or darken the tint of your windows, like how open you want to be to others, or not. You can choose your path in life, which road you want to take, and no one has the right to get in your way. Don’t let others harm you, or, metaphorically, damage your car. Don’t let others ruin your happiness.
There are times in life when you do have to be serious. When reaching a certain goal, you have to have focus, or else you’ll lose track and wander off somewhere else. As a car, you have to follow the route, the directions, or else you’ll go off-road and reach a place far from your goal.
But sometimes, the road to success isn’t all that smooth. There may be humps, which tell you that you need to slow down. In other words, you have to cool off and have a break every once in a while to prevent “accidents”. There are also puddles and cracks which may get in your way, like obstacles and challenges in real life do. And yes, other routes may have, as they call it, detours. Detours are shortcuts that appear rarely in different routes. Like in your journey to success, if you accomplish small tasks, you may receive rewards, and those may represent the detours. Shortcuts only appear through hard work and perseverance. These detours serve as advantages for a more convenient way to reach your goals, but are not vehicles to be boastful for. Bragging and being boastful should never be an option, and so does giving up, as quoted by last year’s valedictory speech. In addition, you shouldn’t always trust detours because, like in real life, these may trick you and lead you to somewhere far else far from your goal.
As I was writing this speech, I thought of sharing with you what I think made me successful this year. I made my own acronym to add on to Southville’s long list of acronyms: the 3As of an Achiever. The 3As are three words I want you guys to always remember in the future, when you go for college or the like.
The first A is Aspire. To aspire is to aim. To aspire is to envision your plans. To aspire is taking action, the first step to becoming an Achiever. Let’s say, you want to get a gold medal, for instance, you have to plan out your strategies and routes on how to get that medal. Your mind has to focus on that goal. You can take different turns, but your goal will always be there, at the end. If you still keep driving, and it takes quite a while, then that means you have a long-term goal, and if it takes shorter, then you have a short-term goal. It depends on how big your goal or goals are. It’s all really up to you, because you are the captain of your fate, you are the master of your soul. Wink wink. The second A is Achieve. To achieve is to go and begin to take steps closer to your goal. This is the part when you have to keep running. This is the part when you have to face obstacles and life-chances and survive the risks you take, not because you want to, but you need to. This is the part when you set out all your plans and targets and take gameplay. This is the part when you say, “I can and I will.” The third, and final, A is Advance. To advance is to take it to the next level, to deny your comfort zone and go out of the box. You know what, just pretend like there is no box. When you graduate, it doesn’t just end there. There’s still something even bigger after that, and after that. Life never seems to end, and that’s the good thing about life, I mean, where would be all the excitement in accomplishing things?
Now, do you remember the 3As? Never forget the three words: Aspire, Achieve and Advance. Always remember that.
Yes, although at most times, you’d like to claim the award for yourself when there are others who have contributed to your success along the way. I mean, to tell the truth, you can’t actually do anything without someone else by your side. Success cannot be achieved by one individual. One team sounds more like it. To all my teachers since preschool until 6th grade, thank you for being a part of my journey. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have stood up on this platform, speaking to everyone. Without you, I wouldn’t have reached my goal of becoming first honors. Without you, I wouldn’t have graduated and become who I am today. To my friends, my batchmates and classmates, thank you for just about everything. Congratulations to all of us for finishing grade school! Let’s give ourselves a round of applause!
We aren’t just a batch, we’re a family. Don’t stop me there and say, “Corny…” because it’s true. We are one big family, the leaders of tomorrow, the movers of society, the people of the future. But remember, it doesn’t just end there. Just follow the way life leads you and look toward your family first because at the end, your heart will lead you back home.
Speaking of home, I would like to thank two people who have been the biggest inspiration in my life. Mommy and Daddy, thank you. I know those two words don’t mean that much for what you’ve done to help me become who I am. You were there since the beginning, helping me to stand up, and take my first steps. You supported me every step of the way, even as I grew older and gained independence. Thank you for being there in times of my need. Thank you for bringing me up to Southville, where I gained my love for learning and then became my second home. Thank you for everything. I’m going to ask you a favor and stand up, and dear graduates and guests, let’s give a big round of applause for them. I love you both.
Just remember the 3As: Aspire, Achieve and Advance, and, yes, there’s a big chance that you will fail. But there’s even a bigger chance you won’t.
Thank you and once again, good morning!