To our honorable guest speaker, Governor Grace Padaka; our Chief Executive Mentor, Dr. Genevieve Ledesma Tan; School President, Dr. Marl V. Ferenal; Vice President for Academic and Research, Ms Marjorie Guttierez Tangog; Principal for Basic Education, Ms. Marie Vic F. Suarez; members of the management, distinguished guests, faculty and staff, our dear parents, fellow graduates, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
According to Ralph Marston, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation (Horace). If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude (Collin Powell). Excellence should be exhibited in everything that we do. Excellence is an attitude, an unconscious desire to accomplish things excellently that would make us not meet the expectations but surpass it.
Today, I have mixed feelings of delight and sorrow. Delighted because I can see how happy my fellow graduates are. After the seemingly endless homework, quizzes, long tests and stress, we managed to survive without any casualties. Seeing each of my batch mates’ faces somehow gives me a little flashback of the many different memories with every one of you. I know we have all shared amazing memories with each other, cried on each other’s shoulders or handkerchiefs, laughed till that Pepsi spilled through our noses, and even argued like crazy but still, I see that the bonds between us will never break and that this will be something we will always have. I also see eyes slowly tearing up, which makes me feel sad because we must say our temporary goodbyes. We have grown up together and have come to know each other as siblings. But just like in most families, one way or another, siblings must say their goodbye eventually.
Being able to talk to all of you and share my thoughts is really a great privilege. I worked hard and probably a bit harder than some of you for many reasons. One of these is because I want to show the school that allowing me to study here in Southville as a scholar was not a waste. I wanted them to know that I can be a model student and one does not have to have so much money to be able to achieve success. I am a scholar because my dad works here so I try my best to act properly and perform well to flaunt to everyone the product of loving, caring and disciplining hands.
I remember the saying “We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust the sails”. I experienced this last year when Nathan Alarcon and I participated in the JAPI FedEx competition. We had 15 days till the dead line. We had a load of work to do in school and we had the option to just give up. We did not as we were taught not to easily give up. We collaborated and in exactly 15 days, we were able to create a business plan that was able to make it to the finals. My fellow graduates, this proves that what we will be in the future will depend on what we do with our lives today. We may depend on many other people like our parents and teachers but at the end of the day, the one who would “adjust the sails” would be us. Doing bad things may hurt your loved ones but they would haunt you even more. Likewise, doing great things and knowing that you worked very hard for them makes an achievement even sweeter because you know those are the fruits of your labor. I feel very fulfilled because I know I worked hard for this and I always aimed for excellence. Getting here was a bumpy ride but thanks to all the lessons, the guidance, the knowledge and the joy that everyone shared with me combined with the values I have learned to develop, I was able to reach where I am now.
When I was elected vice president of the student council last year, I had fun experiences because of the people I met. The council works together and sees to it that things are accomplished, not just accomplished but accomplished beautifully. We had so many problems along the way and sometimes we need to be creative in finding solutions. My fellow graduates, don’t let the solutions come to you, go and find it. Having a high position was even tougher because I had to show everyone that I am a role model. This was not hard to do since I was raised in an environment that taught me good values and manners.
I learned many different values from many people and situations. At the earliest part of my stay here in Southville, I remember so well a well defined voice that was so full of enthusiasm and joy, it influenced me to be enthusiastic in everything I do. She was there to guide me during my early years and for that, I thank teacher Avic. Thank you for showing me that I shouldn’t only do what I have to do but also inject enthusiasm to make it even more worthwhile.
To my grade school teachers namely: Ms. Gladys Mintu, Ms. Lani Cachapero, Ms. Mylene Botalon, Ms. Jan Gutierez, and Ms Chiqui Reyes, thank you for always believing that I could do better, and for still looking out for me even when I was already in high school. You are all so approachable and always willing to give me pieces of advice that helped me become more responsible and open to new things. I learned that opening up to new ideas and new experiences intensify the knowledge that I gain in the classroom and for that I thank you very much.
To our former English teacher who gave us mental exercises every session to help develop our intellect and gave us difficult challenges to show how much we are capable of, thank you Ms.Risa Pangilinan. Though you are not here, in behalf of the whole class of Integrity and Compassion, thank you for showing us that to be able to excel, one must learn to challenge one’s capabilities to experience growth. To Sir Erwin Ragadio, who shows so much kindness that you cannot help but give back even more love. Thank you, for showing us that we are a set of unique students who have different areas of specialty. Thank you also for giving me the opportunity to join the JAPI FedEx business plan competition because along with your mentoring, I was able to learn a lot there.
To Mr. Ian Tapuro, thank you for honing my skills in math during MTAP reviews. They really helped a lot especially in the math section of the entrance examinations that I took in the different universities. To Ms. Violi Alducente, thank you for the love and care you showed to our class and more thank yous for the great help you extended in my pass research. Despite the long hours of typing unexpected mistakes during the experiment, we were able to develop an outstanding research paper. To Ms. Icka Santos, thank you for the laughs and for making me and the other members of the student council a set of great student leaders, As my current sponsor, thank you for allowing me to bother you when I needed your advice, and most of all, for believing that despite my wrong turns and de tours, I can still be a great student leader.
To our class adviser, Ms. Melanie Mendoza, thank you for being a teacher, a friend, and a mother to all of us. Thank you for bearing with us and caring for us like we are your own children. To all the other teachers who were part of my and all the other graduates’ journey in Southville, thank you very much. As the saying goes, “A good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates and a great teacher inspires.” You truly inspired all of us.
Also, I would like to thank all my Titas, the parents of my close friends, who allowed me to enter their homes when we have activities that end late at night most especially to Tita Beth Rapisura, who was always my fan. Thank you for always being so supportive.
To my closest friends and batch mates, thank you for making the sacrifices worthwhile, for making every school day a party, for sharing your lunch with me, for talking nonstop about the Vampire Diaries, for being supportive, for caring, and for the love.
Now, to those who I owe the greatest thanks of all, mom, dad, grandma and my brother, you were always there for me when I felt like I wanted to give up. You always have a way to put a smile on my face and you instill lessons in my head that continuously develop me into a fine young man. Thank you for supporting me morally and financially and most of all, thank you for bringing me into this world. Lastly, to the One above all of us, thank you for all the blessings you have given me and everyone else.
Of all the values that I learned and will continue to learn, I find independence as the most important. I first learned this lesson when I was in second grade. I was taught how to commute alone from Southville Elizalde campus to our home in Bacoor, Cavite. I always felt scared but in time I got used to it. My parents really did their best to make me an independent kid. Another example of this was when my dad would ask me to study. At first he would force me to study but as time went on, without me even noticing it, I was already studying on my own. I learned to develop an initiative to study. From then on, I have been independently studying and that is all thanks to my parents.
Independence is one of the most important values to have in order to become a good decision maker and being a good decision maker helps one become a good leader and person. We cannot just have fun all the time but at the same time, we cannot just study all the time. I think that if my life was a short story, my mom would be the cheerful character because it was her who would push me to go out, socialize, make friends, have fun and enjoy, while my dad would be the serious character. It was him who reminds me to focus on my studies and give as much effort in studying as when I’m playing. What I am trying to say is that we should find a balance. Balancing fun and work creates an even better individual and I suggest that everyone should learn to do this.
Lastly, enjoying something that you do makes achieving things effortless. Sometimes it pays not to worry so much about where you ranked but rather think about the joy you get with what you do. I know that everyone feels extremely happy and our parents are proud that we are able to secure a diploma after all these years. Always aim for excellence. Even if you enjoy what you’re doing, the hardships will still be present. I know a lot who strive hard for success and a lot as well who, unfortunately, just settle for mediocrity. Now, I would like to challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so, you will be successful.
My fellow graduates always remember this famous quote by David Frost, “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
Thank you all, good luck and congratulations!