People think that they get things done alone, but they should not forget the people who helped them to achieve their goals. To our guest of honor, Atty. Karen Jimeno McBride, 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 F. Suarez, our Deputy Principal, Ms. Nessie Lumbres, the management team, school officials, distinguished guests, passionate teachers, beloved parents and fellow graduates, what a great evening to all of us!
Throughout 4 years of high school, as a foreign student, I have always felt disconnected, isolated, and alienated. I had difficulty in connecting with different language and culture. I felt alone, having not so much people to share my thoughts with. I had my family with me, but my childish concerns in school were different from theirs. However, as I tried to confront the situation, so I started to develop relationships with people and although I have not fully understood the culture in the Philippines, I have started to learn respect. Learning respect opened my views and things started to get better. Teachers were really my catalysts that made me to feel better. They gave me fair treatment and although at first I did not understand the school and the lessons, they made me perform much better. I feel a deep gratitude to my teachers. Without them, I would have not made it until this point.
As a student, I encountered challenges. First was the language. English was like a sword that slayed my grades in each subject. In Math, I could just guess what the question was trying to ask by looking at the numbers, but in Science & English, reading had become my Achilles Heel. I then turned to study SAT. As I poured over piles of books every night, the words swam and I had to learn to swim with it. Now, the words now made sense. I understand them and I conquered my subjects. Without tenacity, one of the SAT words I learned, I cannot not overcome all of these. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” While going through all of the challenges, I felt like giving up so many times, but I pressed on.
Believing in myself was another factor that made me what I am today. I read in a book that inspired me. It said that before people do anything else, they must believe in themselves. To share my personal experience, mine came through the IGCSE Math exam. I didn’t know much about them. I knew I had to prepare and it was very hard but I realized that what helped me was to think I could do it and I did it. I know that all of us have different potentials & talents so I also know that you can also successfully achieve your goals.
Now, as a son, honestly, I may have not been a good son. For the past few years, I really believed that my parents didn’t care much about me. Whenever I got good scores in exams, I commended myself alone and told them that I got high scores just to please them. But this was the only thing I talked about with them. There wasn’t much conversation between us. As time passed, I felt even more separated from them. I didn’t realize how much encouragement they’ve poured over me and sacrifice they’ve done. But one day, after my mom and I had a heart to heart talk and read a line from the bible in Proverbs 15:20 “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother,” I learned that my parents are my best supporters. I realized that I was the one who made me distant from them. To my parents, although I may not express my emotions that much, thank you so much for everything you have done to me. To all the parents, thank you so much.
Before I end my speech, allow me to share a personal note. I am not close with all of you but I’ve learned this when I was with some of you. Good relationships are made stronger when we consider others’ thoughts, and differences in beliefs. We are usually inclined to easily believe misconceptions, gossips, and prejudices and these create gaps. Let’s put ourselves in other people’s shoes and make our bonds closer, tighter, and stronger. Finally, to my dear fellow graduates and teachers, thank you all for staying with me. Ms Melanie, Ms Arabel, Sir Humps, and Ms Nessie, thank you for your continuous passion and caring for our batch. My friends, Jae, Young Chae, Adrian, OJ, Nash, Jake,…. thank you for staying with me for a long time and I wish you will all be great in a near future. I truly appreciate my time spent with you. Fellow graduates, I pray that we will all successfully go to the next chapter of our lives and make a big difference in the world. Congratulations, and pleasant evening to all of you again.