A family that prays together, stays together. But well, you know, we’re not that kinda’ family. It has been a long time since I’ve seen my family like this. :)) Calls for a celebration! :) WHOOOOHOOO!
Once a St. Johnite, Always a St. Johnite
There comes in a life of a person where he has to depart away to a place where he needs to go. It may be a dreadful launch off, but everybody including your self says it is for the best. Paths of various people of various personalities and character traverse everyday. But there is always one problem with intersections… it only occurs in but one point. And so by prospect our paths convene and then separate once more. Our lives cross but then at the perfect reap of time, it once again parallels to each other. However, there are always exceptions to that. We would not be everlastingly intersected and bound, but then providence spells out moments where we would meet again. That is the exceptional genius of it.. The very meaning to life. It is opening boxes wrapped in fancy wrappers and surprises us. But I must tell you that the best gifts aren’t inside those boxes. They are what I see in front of me right now, in this graduation.
I would remember my very, very, very first day here at this school. It was a downpour of rain back then. The green gates of the Marquez building welcomed us, me and my mom. And I had to say that those were the biggest gates I had seen before in my 5 years of living and breathing. I walked into a room with green and pink tables and chairs and that particular smell of the crisp leaves of plants had surrounded me. My classmates had walked in and everybody settles in their places. I pleased myself staring at the outdoors while the rain had covered each of the leaves of the trees. Hence never did I realize that that moment on was my very first step into a thousand mile journey.
Thankful I am that I had been the emerging winner of this battle of academic excellence in which my instrument of vanquish is not a sword and a shield but much more of smaller sized tools—- a pen where my knowledge flows down from my mind into a tangible parchment, and the colored papers and illustration boards that I painstakingly bring to school everyday. Sorry to disappoint my parents but this valedictory address of mine is not about me. It is because I wanted it to be for all of us who would be graduating
today. This is not about me… it is about the collective WE. WE who had endured all mental tortures… WE who had gradually raised the bar… WE who had bonded into one great body of excellence…. And WE who had shared unforgettable memories that we would treasure forever.
After a while, after the diplomas distributed, and after a hundred of snap shots and I’ll-take-a-pic-of-you photographs, we would leave this hall. There are lots more of interrogations that would be happening after this. However there is but one question that needs to be answered by us. No, its not the place where we are going to be celebrating tonight. It is the question of where are we going after this. Our homes..or the mall….or the province… all wrong answers. You see, that question has a deeper sense to it. Where would our feet take us, I wonder? For now, there is no certain answer. But what I can be rest assured of this specific frame time is that we are going to be the Professionals of our time. We are going to be the Masterminds of the world… we are going to be the Einsteins of our own fields… we are going to be the geniuses of our era.
They say that the word FOREVER is but a non existing word. For the only permanent thing there is in the world is change. However I say that true, change is inevitable but there are some things that would be forever with us, just like the bond and the connection that we had established in almost a decade. At the beginning of my kinder year I would start to cry, wishing that I won’t have to attend classes and just lie on my bed having afternoon nappies. But now I am graduating, I’m crying again for the reason that I wish I could attend classes with you guys, but sadly I can’t anymore because we are all too old for high school. And with this I hope that this would be a lesson for all under graduates. I remember a Salutatorian of his batch wrote me a letter at the back page of my Biology notebook. He told me that I must enjoy this moment on that I have with my peers. Yes, the medals the ribbons and mostly the recognition of coming on top of your class are fascinating. However that won’t anymore matter to you when you’re not with your friends to celebrate that sweet victory together. Since I was a just a Sophomore back then, his words never really struck my heart. But now as we are all presented as graduates of our dear beloved Alma Mater, it meant something to me now… life is not about the breaths that you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.
And maybe so that we will bring out a fairy tale of happy ever after in this universe, I may just say that we always need to be always very grateful of where we came from. From this institution that provided us with learning our minds grew and slowly nurtured. We had met a plethora of people who had helped us to be where we are now. I extend my thanks to the Lord All Mighty. He was always there even I can’t see him I know that all what we had achieved in our 16 or 17 years are made possible through and by Him. Sometimes I would ask Him why He had granted me this much even if I sometimes fail to attend Masses. And all I can do is to really thank him in front of many and be a true witness to what He had taught me the most: THAT LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT IN WHATEVER WAY YOU LOOK AT IT. Also, I must sincerely thank the members of the faculty for presenting themselves everyday to us and sharing their knowledge and life experiences. Yes they may be our TORmentors sometimes always running after us for our incompletes but we still treat them as our second mothers and fathers who continuously guide us and advise us in the times that we really need them. And now, I am but asking them only two last favors… one, that they may never forget this batch for this batch will never forget them. And the second part would be to chill for awhile. To be all teachers doesn’t mean you all got to work like robots. Have fun and enjoy your lives with the people that matter to you. Inside campus, you are teachers but outside of these gates all of you are good people that also need a happy existence. Thirdly, I would like to thank my family, my parents who never lacked the support that I needed from them and kept pushing me into new and better things. They had been always there when I could just give it all up. To my sisters who gave me financial support and who had sustained my tuition fee working hard in abroad in Korea and Canada. Atsie and Shobe, I hope I made you proud. And of course to my niece, Margaux, who completed my days by cheering me up in her cute little way. Next, I send my sincerest gratitude to Mrs. Josephine A. Gil and her administration, her good office. She and this institution had taught me the mere essence of working hard for what you want to achieve and proving that all great things begin with one step. Ma’am, thank you for continuing the legacy of true education and continuing to mold productive individuals in the society. But who I most really need to thank are my batch mates. Thank you for everything that you had given me. Thank you for the support that you provided me when I think that I can’t anymore make it. Thank you all for giving me love and enjoying the moments that we all shared together inside and outside school campus. Remember that you will always be in my heart and I’ll be in yours. You were not just my batch mates, you had showed me the true meaning of friendship and I hope that someday, one day, our lives would be once again magically be intertwined. Probably all of us have some university to go but always remember that the place where we would go back into our roots is not a college, not a university, but only one academy.
We had a lot of hardships that we had vanquished and conquered. But there are bigger and more challenging walls to break. These problems only served as mere preparations of what is to come next. They are tests to make us stronger, higher and swifter. And if you think that you had tasted pain and suffering you are mistaken because the truest and deepest pain of all is to say farewell to all your loved ones.
Ever day in the classroom is an unforgettable experience. Each day is unique. Each day becomes far better than yesterday. We need to settle with the past, engage in the present and believe in the future. We would miss our seatmates, our desks, the laughter, the hang-outs in McDonald’s, the blackboard, and believe it or not even the everyday home works and quizzes. But we had to let it all go for awhile. We had come to face a new exciting chapter in our lives. This graduation doesn’t only mean getting our diplomas, but also marks the alpha and the omega. This is the end of our high school dramas, struggles, painstaking and the beginning of another and new exciting adventure into college. Our high school life is one meaningful experience. We would be missing all the fun, the laughter, the connivances, the love teams of the month, the occasional misunderstandings, the sermons of teachers, and our classmates. But as what was said earlier, life is a journey that’s homeward bound. Some time, some day, some specific time frame I see ourselves ending up together re-united, laughing, having fun and catching up with what happened in the last 10 years or so. I wish this would be the scene in the next years to come.
“I have a lot of hopes for everybody. I wish that each of us to be successful in our chosen field , have a great life with a very loving family, but just not so soon, and may all be wealthy enough to support themselves and their family. It’s a happy ever after for us all I hope.” What I just mentioned had been probably included in all of the speeches of past valedictorians and salutatorians. Well I would just like to add one other wish for us all, something that I see would be the very most important thing that we all need to do. I wish us all just one great thing. And that is happiness, my fellow graduates. Think of what you want to be in 20 years time, not what your parents, or friends are telling you what they want you to be. If you let this happen that your life is being manipulated by your loved ones, this only proves three things. First, that these persons don’t respect you for who you are and who you want to be. Secondly, that your life is a life you don’t own and lastly that you are not going to be happy about yourselves. Do not let anyone tell you who you are going to be and never believe when they say that they know what are best for you. For the only person that could only determine what is best for you is only yourself alone. You do not need anyone to decide for your happiness. Take as many u-turns, and crisscrosses in the path of your life. Unless you had fulfilled your pursuit for true happiness never stop looking because it is the only thing that matters for now and it is the key for you to be able to make others happy. What are you going to do with a high college degree if you are not happy with that course? What goodness is it bring to have all the money in the world without any loved one to share it with? What becomes of you in the long run to be becoming as the next superstar or the next political figure if at your very back the people around you never really like you for who you really are but only for what you really could give them? As I said, it is your happiness that matters. Be whatever you want to be. We all got multitude ambitions but what really count are our aspirations to be contented, satisfied individuals.
This graduation may be the end of our high school career but never is it the end of us all being together. Think of it this way. This exercise is the new beginning of an exciting journey in college wherein we got more challenges to face and conquer. As the cliché goes “When God closes a door He opens a window.” Luckily for us, not only did He keep the door open for us but he as well opened all the windows, the water lines, even the sewerage systems. Fortunate are we to have graduated here in this institute of learning and thus gave us one great responsibility to fulfill. And that is to never waste this rare, one-of-a-kind opportunity. We have a lot of work in our hands and those aren’t going to be that easy. It is therefore up to us on how we are going to apply what we had learned and how are we going to use our instincts to foster that intent.
Arrogant and immodest as this sound like but I always claim and profess to everyone that we are the best batch this institution has ever witnessed. We are the supreme in academic excellence and the prime in extra curricular activities. We never content with second best and continue to work proficiently until we get to the top of the pyramid. However, this doesn’t anymore apply to the world beyond these gates. We are temporarily the mediocres of society. Quite inexperienced and have a lot more to learn, but we are still the hopes of this millennium, and the fate of the next generation is in our hands. We need to be productive citizens of the society we are cycling on for we have a responsibility to everybody. We have a duty to the past- to fulfill the legacy of harmony and peace, an oath to the future- to give them the same equal world we had been passed on, and most importantly we had a responsibility to the present- and that is to progress and improve into a civilization that would be looked upon by the next inhabitants of this cosmos. I remember my mother lecturing me one time, told me that not all knowledge can be found in books and your teachers’ lecture. From the moment she told me that, I was a bit in a state of helter-skelter. In every book I had read that time, all claim the same thing: that every bit of vital information to be able to sustain life is all written down into books. This was the first time that someone claimed the contrary of this statement. But then my mom explained that there are a lot of things that you can not learn in books. This graduation is the concrete example of my mother’s counsel. You can learn the meaning of love in the dictionary but no book could tell you how and for how long you will love the persons around you. You could memorize each line of a poem about friendship but never learn the true value of friends. It takes experience to learn some of the most important things in our lives. To be the best man in every competition does not prove anything about your character. To be able to be the best of what you are means that we achieve wisdom through honest labor and is based on the amount of our experience as growing individuals. What we do not know is the test we take each time each day. Thus we need to sometime trust our instincts and the sanctifying grace that the Almighty has bestowed upon us. The world outside is very much the same and at the same time unlike the classes in the room. It is similar for there exist a teacher and a student relationship in the sense that there is a superior being to impart his/her knowledge to his students. We need to be the apprentices of our masters. To be able to lead we need to follow. For us to be heard we first need to listen. That is the principle of life. We must know how to bow our heads to others and humble ourselves to be at the end holding our heads up with the success that we could cherish. There is no fruitful product of arrogance and pretending we know everything around us. That is the similarity of the world outside this campus and the classes we go through everyday. The difference is that outside, there is no one to tell us what to do. Sure it sounds fun and exciting to find ourselves doing whatever we please. What we do not know is that having to make a decision of our own without the consultation of others is more frightening that it seems. Indeed, there is no one to tell us what is right from wrong. However, there is also no other person to correct our wrong ways and decisions but ourselves unlike the class we grew up where there are our teachers and classmates to guide us and give us anew perspective on things. There are also no books to teach us what we must or may do. The outside world would teach us to figure out things by our own and without having to look up to the books for the answers.
What will the future generations see when they study us? Will they see us as the corrupt officials of the government? Will we be the destroyers of mankind? Are we going to be the cause of heartaches and headaches of society? Are we the complete failures of our country? And the answer is a BIG NO! We are going to be the pride of the world, the gems of the new generation. The future will see great individuals who had contributed to the entirety of the survival of human race. Comparing us to a thing, we are the precious DIAMONDS that would last forever which would leave a colossal trade mark in the memories of the people. Albeit, the mental sagacity that we now possess is only but a mere percentage of our over all character. What really counts and do matter is the values that we had inculcated and how these nurture us to becoming better personalities. What good is a bunch of medals and trophies if each one of them comes from a blood bath? What for is a million dollars if you are a master thief of robbery? Nothing good is achieved when it comes from something evil. That is why our character is into compartments of multitude perspectives. We are measured not through how good we are in one aspect but how we are as over-all individuals and through the goodness we had impart to the world.
My advice to everybody is simply to not be THE best. Yes, you heard it right –do not be THE best but rather be your best. There is a great difference between these two. Being THE best is really not you talking but the people around you. It’s like pushing in to your limits just to please everybody but yourself. But being YOUR best is really something. It is the ultimate satisfaction one could ever achieve. It is pursuing something because YOU want it and not for the reason that others want it for you. I myself would rather choose to lose in a contest knowing I did my best rather doing THE best among others, win, but still find no gratification in myself. The bottom-line is that you need no one to mandate you on what you want and how you want it, it is a matter of self-discovery and self-improvement. Your college degree would be of no significance if there is no other person you’ll be sharing it with. The diploma doesn’t matter anymore compared to the memories that you are going to leave in the hearts of the people you meet. The simplest thing you do for a person is the most unforgettable for him. And I guess that would not be your college degree. The uncomplicated effort of company and being with them, not the high college degree, is the priceless thing you could ever leave in the minds and hearts of these special people.