Mr. Dioscoro Gil, the ever dynamic principal of this school, Mrs. Marina Paredes, my mentor and present head of the Academic Department, Mr. Armando Paredes, head of the Vocational Department, members of the administrative staff, honored graduates, dear parents, guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Thank you for that very kind introduction. I would like to take note that of all the kind words mentioned during the introduction, I savored most the thought that I am a daughter of a grand educator of this school. I and my family are proud to say that my late father’s effort did not go in vain in guiding and providing me with an impressive opportunity available during those times.
Furthermore, to speak before this audience on this very momentous occasion is a profound honor and privilege on my part. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you, dear parents. As a parent like you, I can very well understand the sacrifices that you went through in order to provide these handsome and beautiful graduates with education that will help them cope with challenges in life.
Likewise, my greetings go to the dedicated and committed teachers, school administrators and staff who made this afternoon’s memorable event possible.
And most of all to you, dear graduates, Today is your day, a very memorable day in your life. You are the most important characters of this show. You made us extremely elated as well as proud to be a part of this very momentous event in your life. This reminds me of my own high school graduation when I was at your age, seated exactly at a place where you are now. At that very moment, never did I think that someday I will be invited to deliver a commencement speech. Given this task, I feel so flattered and privileged.
Commencement days are always fun… until the keynote speaker arises to remind you that commencement is “the time of beginning,” and so far, as duties and responsibilities are concerned, you haven’t really lived at all yet, and all the marvelous challenges and opportunities are still before you.
Yes, dear graduates, after working so hard and so long for that diploma, the last thing in the world you want to hear anybody tell you is that the road is going to get rougher, up ahead.
However, I am not here to scare you, or to overwhelm you with what lies ahead. My task as I see it is to further inspire you to become a more successful person. I am sorry; I don’t have a magic potion for that. There are so many books that will reveal to you the secret of success. But if there is one thing I want you all, dear graduates to learn from me, is… TO TAKE PLEASURES IN LIFE DAILY TREASURES. It is the most important thing I have discovered about measuring success.
Sometimes we thought that happiness is being “on top” that we miss to appreciate the beauty around us and the love and company of our loved one, our parents, and friends. We take them for granted. In our desire to be at the “top”, we sacrifice the joy of today, like the ecstasy of waddling in the pool of water, to savor the taste of an ice cream, or appreciate the smell and beauty of a rose. It is not bad to be on top, like a mega star, or being on top of the graduating class. My friends, what is bad is if in the process of getting there, we hurt or push other people, if we go to the extent of cheating or doing bad things to others.
To give you a clearer example, let me tell you the story of “Stripe, the Caterpillar.” One day Stripe finds his normal routine dull and meaningless so he crawls off to discover the secret of life. He come across other caterpillars who don’t seem to know more about life than he does, but he joins a group of them who all saw to be crawling in the same direction. Soon they come upon a towering column of squirming, wriggling caterpillar’s pillar that seems to rise forever into the clouds high above. The caterpillars seem to be desperately trying to crawl and wriggle over one another to reach the top of the pillar, and Stripes get excited. Perhaps the top of the pillar is where he will find what he is looking for. “What’s at the top?” asks Stripe as another caterpillar wriggles by. The fellow caterpillar isn’t sure, but it must be awfully good because everybody’s rushing to get up there. So Stripe begins fighting his way up the column, being stepped on, and stepping on others, as he climbs toward the top. While Stripe fights his way up, he realizes that he can’t get to the absolute top unless he gets rid of those who displaced by the ones next in line. He is only a few wriggles from the top when he hears a whisper “there’s nothing up here after all.” Stripe gets very frustrated and begins to fight his way back down the pillar. There, he learns how to spin his own cocoon and emerged a lovely butterfly.
So you see, ladies and gentlemen, in our desire to go on the top, sometimes we became cruel, insensitive, ruthless person. Besides, we miss to see and appreciate the beauty of the other person and enjoy a hearty laugh with them.
Remember, from the start, you are already a winner, important and valuable. Nobody is better than the other. You are respected as a child of God with your unique God-given gift. For example, Nena may not be academically excellent, but she is somebody who can outdo Regine Velasquez when it comes to singing. Being able to sing beautifully is a gift from the Lord.
To our educators and parents, it is worth noting that one of the healthiest discoveries of recent times is the understanding that intelligence is much more than which is measured by standard IQ test. Our ability to affirm children is strengthened when we open ourselves to the possibility that their intelligence is expressed in different ways from our own. The more we know about the diversity of intelligences in the world, the better equipped we are to help our children tap into their particular strengths, share up any relative weaknesses, and become more well-rounded individuals. These are important resources as they progress through the school years. A child may excel in any of these areas: Verbal/ Linguistic which is the ability to use words and language effectively and creatively in writing, reading, speaking and listening. Or in Logical/ Mathematical which is the ability to think abstractly, to recognize patterns, and to see connections between separate pieces of information. However, those with the ability to form images and pictures in the mind and to work effectively with patterns, shapes, and physical relationships, and colors possess Visual/Spatial intelligence. Likewise, those with the ability to use the body to express emotion (as in dance to play or game as in athletics), or to create (as in making a new invention) has Body/Kinesthetic Intelligence.
Those with Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence have the ability to recognize and direct rhythmic and tonal patterns in creative ways. Interpersonal Intelligence is the ability to deal effectively with others in relationships and communication. The child with strong interpersonal skills will excel in activities that require working with others, being sensitive to others and leading others.
Lastly, a child with Intrapersonal Intelligence has the ability to reflect upon the self and understand one’s own feelings and emotions.
Most often, ladies and gentlemen, when we see others who are smarter, cleverer, or better looking, the automatic conclusion is that others deserve the best. Though we all tend to compare ourselves with others, the happiest people in life know that they don’t really compete against each other. They are happy for doing their best, based on their GOD GIVEN GIFT. So, instead of achieving or performing to impress the world or your peers, seek to do something that is beautiful, excellent, and heartwarming.
Suppose, for example, you set to sing. You practice hard and long, doing it for the sheer excitement of doing your best. You need no one else to measure you or your skill. Your judge is GOD and your own self-respect.
My dear graduates, your Alma Mater has provided you with necessary values and a very impressive academic foundation that will equip you to face more challenges that will come your way as you enter the tertiary level of education. I’m pretty sure you’ll miss your teachers and classmates. Though many will luckily be able to proceed to college, some due to some personal reasons may not be fortunate. However, keep in mind that wherever you are, your Alma Mater will remain to be a strong bond that will keep you together. You have gathered a lot of good and happy memories during your stay here. Keep them with you, treasure them, cherries them. These are your priceless possessions in life.
I must leave you, now, and I can’t think of nothing better way than saying:
“Being the best is no more, no less, than doing the best, giving the best shot, and being the best in everything you do. This is your best offering to our Lord.”
Again, thank you for this privilege and Congratulations.
MAY OUR LORD BE WITH US ALWAYS!