Dr. Genevieve Ledesma-Tan, Chief Executive Mentor, Dr. Marl V. Ferenal, President and IB School Head, Ms. Marie Ann Mirando, IB Coordinator, Members of the SISC Management, distinguished guest speaker Ms. Deidre Fisher, our beloved teachers, our dear parents, family, friends, and of course, fellow graduates, a pleasant evening.
I have been studying in Southville since I was in kindergarten and I honestly never expected myself to be delivering this speech on graduation day. Nevertheless, I am honored to be standing here in front of all of you.
Fellow graduates, today is the day! We are down to zero in our countdown. Today is the day we have all been waiting for since the first day of IB. I am sure you remember that we created a Facebook group called IB Batch 2010-2012 wherein we started counting the number of days before graduation. We started the countdown with hundreds of days to go. Months later, the count was down to two digit numbers, and then finally we were down to the last few days. We went into this course with pretty much no idea about the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, and what it actually takes to successfully finish the course. All we knew was that we wanted to graduate and get our diplomas.
There is no doubt that the past two years have been very challenging. There were weeks when it felt like it was never going to end, and weeks when everything just flew by so quickly. And during those weeks, especially in our second year, I remember at least two students would say something like “I want to graduate already, I’m so tired,” or “I can’t wait until this is all over, then I can finally hibernate and catch up on my favorite TV series.”
I’m going to quote some of the thoughts of my classmates from the Facebook group I was taking about earlier, just to give you all some insights into how the past two years have really been for us.
One student says:
• I’M LAUGHING AT HOW STRESSED I AM!
• I’M GOING CRAY CRAYYY!!!
• So I was working at like 4am, I decided to close my eyes for a few minutes and put my head down on the desk… I just woke up, on my bed. I don’t remember going to my bed OMG!
• Oh how I’m gonna miss the frantic moments on this page once we graduate. Ok. Back to work!
• 35 days ‘til grad and exams start tomorrow. WHO HAS A GUN?
• I am wide awake at 3:50am. External exams tomorrow. And I’m sort of freaking out!
• Information overload. I think my head is about to explode!
• 317 pages in one night? Bring it on! Here comes the headache…
To be honest, I actually didn’t think I could learn everything on the syllabus, and that they will test my knowledge of everything I have learned in the span of about an hour and a half. So I guess I really have grown as a student.
Amid all the stress and sleepless nights, we grew in the world of academic scholarship, and most importantly, in personal development. When we began the IB DP, we were all sort of divided into groups. We had the laid back kids, the group of students with the same nationality, the serious ones, and the loud ones… just a bunch of students with different views and beliefs, trying to finish high school and maybe make some friends along the way. We are such a small class, and as time passed by, we became nothing but closer friends. We became more open and respectful towards one another. Some of us probably had some differences, but we learned from them, and we essentially became a team. Everyone helped each other in all the demands of IB DP. There was no hesitation; it was as if all of us were working towards only one diploma. Everyone would just be there when someone needed help, with the rigorous school work, or even personal issues.
And that is what the IB strives for. The IB DP has shaped us to become more accepting and understanding individuals. This, I think is one of the most important things that we have learned as a group.
Classmates, it is graduation day, and we are all here for a reason. We are gathered here today for this commencement ceremony, to recognize all the hardships we went through and of course to celebrate our achievements. I have seen progress with all of you, just like I see it in myself.
Class of 2012, we finally did it! But we could not have done it all on our own.
On behalf of the graduating class, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to our beloved parents, for the love and support they never fail to give. To my parents, I am truly grateful to have you both in my life; thank you for shaping me to become the person I am. To my sisters, and family thank you for the continuous support you shower me with. And to my friends, thank you for always believing in me.
Our accomplishments would not have been possible without our dear teachers. I would like to thank our teachers, as you have inspired us and continually encouraged us to reach our utmost potential. Thank you for the guidance that you have free heartedly provided for all of us.
As we leave here today with bittersweet feelings, and memories that we will keep, each of us will go our own path, and make our way and pursue what lies ahead of us. Some of us will be leaving for America, Australia, Korea, or are still trying to figure out what we’re going to do or where and what we want to study. And that’s okay. I don’t know what is exactly in store for me in the future as well. But I know this:
We all have a chance to draw the life that is ahead of us. It’s not always going to go the way you want it to, the way you planned it to be, or what you hope for. There will be some disappointments, or failures, and if those happen, learn from it and move on. Make the most out of the opportunities that come your way, and put your whole heart into whatever you will do, so you know when you look back at what you have done, there won’t be any room for doubts or regrets.
The past two years has been an incredible experience, making each of us stronger. We should not see this as the end, but only the end of high school. Instead, we should think of it as a beginning, one that will mark the next phase of our lives. We are simply moving on, where we will again grow to ultimately be the person we aspire to be.
Thank you very much and I wish you all the best for the future. Congratulations Class of 2012!