Graduation Speech of Ye Woo Lee
To our distinguished guests, school administrators and staff, members of the faculty, visitors, dear parents, fellow graduates, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!
It was not so long ago when we entered the portals of our alma mater filled with wonder and trepidation to embark on a journey of getting an IB education. And what a great journey it has been!
It seems only yesterday when I faced my father to persuade him to let me leave the comfort of my home and country to study here in the Philippines. As expected, my first year of studying as a regular student did not come easily. Because of language barrier, compounded by cultural differences, every single day appeared to be a complete struggle. But I believed that hindrances are just parts of the process and cannot cause to impede my journey. I held on to the promise I left to my father, and from there, I was able to gain strength and the tenacity to push through. With the help of my newfound friends and the generosity of my teachers, I was able to successfully finish Grade 10. It was then that I realized to dream bigger.
My journey continued with the decision of risking a greater leap. I decided to pursue IB program for I believed that acquiring IB diploma would give me the greater chances of admission in internationally recognized and globally acclaimed universities. So the process continues.
I know I have not been alone in my journey. During my entire stay here, it was a comfort to know that you, my classmates, were in the same boat with me. People say that high school can be intimidating. Well, IB is that and more. Remember the day we stayed in school until 11 P.M to submit our IAs and the days we rushed to complete our EEs. Not only do we have an alphabet soup of subjects and papers to do, from IAs to EEs to TOKs, but for most of us in which English is a second language, we had to burn the midnight oil in order to master the intricacies of the English language even as we struggled and succeeded together in our academic studies. And make no mistake. The path we have chosen for ourselves – to get an IB education at par with the whole world – was not easy but we did not give up. We have persevered and we have kept the faith.
And so today, we shall reap the rewards of all our hard work as we receive our IB Diploma. For most of us, we already have decided on the courses to take in the university of our choice. Many of us shall go forth in other corners of the world to pursue further studies to earn our degrees. It fills me with sadness to realize that I won’t be seeing you, my dear classmates and friends, every day. I will miss those times we struggled together to ace the exams, submit papers on time, and complete group projects. But what fills me with greater pride is knowing that we are all destined for something greater. This is what makes our graduation extra special.
Our journey has been made possible through the significant support of important people who have journeyed with us together. On behalf of the Graduating Class of 2015, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to for those who helped us.
To our beloved teachers who have taken us as clay and molded us into beautiful works of art, thank you for your patience and dedication in imparting your knowledge. To Ms. Rina, our Chemistry Teacher and IB Coordinator, thank you for your ever listening ear. Because of you, I was able to successfully adapt in the new environment as an international student. To Ms. Virna, a great teacher and mentor, thank you for the lessons learned in and out of the classroom and I will not forget your advice forever ; to Ms. Sunny Ban, thank you for your helping hands and great lessons; to Sir Ian, for making Math interesting for all of us; to Sir Bin Yan to whom I learned the Chinese language and culture, Xie Xie; to Sir Victor, your passion for teaching is truly stimulating; and to the rest of our dear teachers who have made our stay a productive one, please accept our whole-hearted gratitude.
To our school security personnel and utility staff, especially, Ate. Agnes, thank you for your happy vibes. Because of you, I always started my day with a smile. And to the lady guard, because you checked my uniform every day, I could stay smart. Thank you very much.
To our parents and guardians, who have been pillars of support throughout our studies, we cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for us. Kindly permit me to personally acknowledge, my guardians, Mr. Lee and Ms. Song, thank you for treating me like a son. You are my parents in the Philippines. Without your support, I couldn’t overcome difficulties.
Finally, please allow me to thank my family – my sister, and my dad – for all their help and support. And to my dad, hi, dad. Hum… it’s been three years since I left my home and I am very thankful that you trusted me every time. Because of your trust and love, I was able to overcome the difficulties in which I faced while studying here in the Philippines. Soon, I will go to the university of my choice. I, once again, promise you to do my best all the time. I love you.
My fellow graduates, we must say good-bye to our alma mater. However, today is not the end, but rather it is the great beginning of a more challenging but more rewarding journey to become a man for other. I challenge you to strive harder and to aim higher, not only to better ourselves but to be instruments of change in ourselves, in our family, in our community, in our country, and in the whole world.
BUT! For now, let us have our party!
Congratulations! Class of 2015!
Maraming Salamat Po and Mabuhay!