Dr. Marl Ferenal, our President; Ms. Avic Suarez, our Principal; Mr. Paolo Reyes, our guest speaker; the administration, faculty and staff; parents and guests; my fellow graduates; good morning to all of you!
March 30, 2012. I think we will all agree that this day is definitely not ordinary. Today, we acknowledge the people met, the lessons learned, the tears shed, the laughter relished, and the memories made in our six years as elementary students. Today, we show our teachers, our parents, and most importantly ourselves that we’re no longer children. Today we show the world that we are ready to take on the next stage of our academic life: High School.
I’m very honored to stand before all of you today as the Valedictorian of Class 2012, not only because of the awards that I have garnered but more so because I’m part of a truly outstanding batch – a batch that has achieved so much, a batch where everyone is talented in different fields. With this, let me thank some of the people who have made my achievements possible. I might not be able to mention all of you by name, but rest assured that I’m infinitely grateful to everyone who has put me on this stage today.
I would like to thank God first and foremost. Without Him, none of these would have been possible. I would also like to thank my parents, Atty. Manny Riguera and Atty. Hazel Riguera. All of my achievements are not only mine, but also theirs, because without their hard work and encouragement, I would not be standing here and speaking to all of you today. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for letting me be, but always under your supervision and guidance. Thank you for giving me the opportunities to explore and to discover my full potential, not only inside but also outside the four walls of Southville.
To all the teachers I have had in my life, thank you. All of you have contributed to who I am today, and although I am far from perfect, I believe that I’m a much better person than the person I would have been had I not met all of you. To Ms. Jen Gaddi and Ms. Gladys Mintu, my advisers for grades 3 and 4 respectively, at Munich campus, thank you for guiding me while I was still adjusting to a new environment. To Ms. Icka Santos and Mr. Xander Siose, my advisers for grades 5 and 6 respectively at the Luxembourg campus, thank you for helping me go past my comfort zones, and giving me inspiration when I needed it most.
To all my friends, classmate or not, thank you very much. Andrea, Kelsie and Yifei, thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Yoojung, Eggy, and Russell, thank you for consistently reminding me that I am not perfect, and that I will never be as awesome or as tall as you guys are. When others were all praise for me, you never failed to remind me that I am not perfect. Kim and Maija, my two fangirl buddies, I thank you for bringing me into the new world of K Pop. To the cast and crew of Seussical Jr., thank you for giving me one of the most unforgettable moments of my life. It has been an honor to get to know all of you. It was great spending three months of rehearsal and recording hours with the cast who were from different levels in Southville, from preschool to college. To our Seussical director, Ms. Icka Santos, her sister Ms. Kookee and her mother Ms. Lena Santos, thank you. I learned not only the rudiments of acting. I further learned the essence of my sections’ name – PERSEVERANCE. And to the rest of my classmates and friends, thank you for making my four-year stay at Southville a memorable one.
I can still remember the days when I was a new student at Southville. That was when I was in grade three. As a new student I was on academic and disciplinary probation, which meant that if I failed in any subject, I would be asked to leave. Back then, all I wanted was to stay in Southville. But as I slowly adjusted to my new environment, I realized that I wanted to aim higher. I couldn’t aim for just a green certificate, or a gold medal. I wanted to be the valedictorian.
Henry Ford said that obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. To my mentors and friends, thank you so much to all of you for straightening my perspective when I fearfully glanced to the side. You have made me realize that the only true limits are those that we impose upon ourselves.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. My batch mates, when we walk out of Gym 1 today with our diplomas in hand, we will no longer be elementary students. As soon as the summer ends we are going to have to take on heavier responsibilities, learn new lessons, and reach for more goals.
Let us never allow the world’s definition of what is possible keep us from achieving what we want to achieve. Let us not only dream big, let us dream grandly. Let us not only reach for the mountaintop, let us reach for the stars.
Batch 2012, let us blaze a trail and make a difference!