To our Chief Executive Mentor, Dr. Genevieve Ledesma Tan, our School President, Dr. Marl Ferenal, our Vice President for Academics and Research, Dr. Marjorie Tangog, our Vice President for Administration, Ms. Jocelyn Tizon, our distinguished Guest Speaker, Mr. Mark Joaquin Ruiz, officers, the Deans of the different colleges, faculty members, staff, parents, friends and guests, a blessed afternoon, and to my fellow graduates, Congratulations!
I AM HERE BECAUSE I AM THE BEST.
Now, before any of you say that I am a self-absorbed, egotistic, or arrogant being, let me ask you a question: what does it mean to be the best? If we are going to define the said word according to the standards of our society, the best may mean the most intelligent, the most talented in any given skill, the most gifted of all, or simply the one who has all that he needs and is greater than anyone else.
However, that is not how I see it.
Growing up, believe me, that is exactly how I grasped the concept. The more medals you get means you’re the smartest. The more trophies you received, the better. And the higher your grades, the better you are as a person as compared to others.
Yet it made me realize that this belief only placed a false sense of security over an individual and an even greater risk of self-doubt in the coming years. We were taught that to be the best means to be the greatest among others. But I disagree. It is my strongest conviction that striving to be the best is not about a life of constantly beating or competing with other people so that you can be at the top, rather, it is conquering a greater enemy other than the people around you – and that person is you.
We have no greater adversary than ourselves. And like a brave soldier in an epic battle, I believe that one of the highest and utmost purposes in our lives is to defeat and conquer the rival, the opponent which we see every time we look in front of the mirror. My fellow graduates, never stop growing. Never stop pushing yourself. Never be afraid to try new things. And let us remember, that we can do all things armed by our faith which makes us stronger.
Going back to my introduction, I said that I am here because I am the best. I am not talking about being here in front you as I deliver this message nor about being here as someone who received the highest academic honor. Truth be told, I never expected myself to be in this position. Still, I believe that it happened for a reason. I am here because I overcame myself. And I am glad to say, that you did too, my fellow graduates. You are here because you are the best – the best version of yourself and no one else. And for that, a job well done!
You may not be the best in your class, the most talented musician, or even the best athlete but you can still be the best version of yourself that you or anyone have ever seen. Grades are but a number and medals and trophies fade over time, but the fulfillment of outdoing yourself is something that even the highest honor or recognition could never match.
And remember, that our journey to become the best is never a solitary one. There are people who are vital in our lives who helped us become the person we are today. Of course, our parents who have toiled night and day to send us to a good school and who placed us first before themselves.
Mama, Papa, I appreciate you for being there from the start. I may not be expressive as regards my gratitude, but God knows how I am grateful for all the sacrifices you have made. I love you very much.
To our Dean, Dr. Aris Ignacio, thank you for pushing us and giving opportunities that we never expected. We went through a lot and I am grateful for all that you have done for us. The same goes to all of the members of the faculty who have nurtured us from the beginning until the very last day of our classes; who have instilled the 5 C’s in all us – Character, Competence, Creativity, Collaboration, and Commitment to Achieve.