Exactly twelve days ago, our adviser confirmed through our GC that we would wear, not our favorite blue or maroon, but a white graduation robe. Wow, white! Sad to say, white ranks merely fifteenth as the overall favorite color as per 2015 Color Research and Application Survey. Psychology says however, white also conveys honesty, completeness, and fresh start. No wonder, Romans and Greeks reaching formal citizenship would wear white togas.
Distinguished guests of honor, school administrators and Madam Principal, our highly competent teachers, proud and ever-supportive parents, friends and classmates, and my fellow STI senior high graduates, good morning!
Now, let’s talk about whites, not grays nor whatever gets darker. White defines me, and so my fellow graduates. Now I’ve got so many honest revelations to make because as the discussant of honesty before you, I should be honest in the first place. Honestly, I belong to a ‘broken family,’ but it’s not any more a big deal because I know others also suffer the same fate, and theirs might be even more complicated. In a sense however, I have come to realize that a family can remain strong and can still be a ‘family’ even without its light for it is defined by how we make it, not by numbers but by strength of a special bond and a commonality of endless support, open communication, and love. Ours, despite its imperfections, is never broken inside and this has inspired me to be the best person that I can be.
Our character hence is built upon our honest and humble admission of imperfections and weaknesses. With honesty and humility, we learn to embrace our strengths and inclinations that deserve our enhancement and refinement. With honesty and humility, we become true and strangers no more to ourselves. So long we remain honest and humble while upholding the highest moral standards, people from different walks of life surely find us all as ‘men and women of ideal character.’
Let me be honest once more. Wearing this white graduation robe does not give us a sense of academic perfection, rather a sense of completeness with what has been demanded of us since the first day we set foot on this campus and after embracing its promise of real-life education. Yes, completeness. We have just completed solving all our overwhelming math problems. We have just completed all long essays and daunting recitations in our English classes. We have just completed all our amazing science experiments. Yes, we have just completed all our academic workloads.
We have just completed them, all of them, at the cost of those sleepless nights, missed family bonding activities, sacrificing a fraction, sometimes all, of our big-dome-concert savings or even our dating allowances, and many others – sacrifices that we have made through our most informed and wise decisions despite our young age. Yes, we also stumbled and failed many times, but look us at now. We are now but critical thinkers armed with knowledge, skills, and experiences for our teachers, who also share this occasion with us, have understood much our needs and learning styles.
Our heartfelt gratitude, hence, to every Sir Seth, to every Sir Marvin, to every Ma’am Kim, and to every Ma’am Donna, who in their unique teaching approaches, have shared their knowledge and expertise. More profound thanks then to every Sir Marc Kenneth Marquez, an epitome of a second father and adviser, who in his unorthodox ways, has taught us the value of teamwork, discipline, and accountability. Nobody knows, more than we do, how he has proven that homeroom adviser, teacher, and instructor are all synonymous with the word ‘father,’ or maybe, in the case of my other fellow graduates, a ‘mother.’ Thank you, Sir!” We never have had any regret since the time we requested you to be our adviser even if we had to adjust our schedule and extend another hour for our homeroom sessions.
Honesty, completeness, and fresh start! We believe that we are already complete with physical, psychological, and intellectual gears sharpened across years of stay here at STI. In our fresh start hereafter, may these sharpened gears serve as our strength, courage, and wisdom as we face life’s challenges. In our fresh start hereafter, may we not only demonstrate our being change-adept, rather initiate and inspire change that our modern society awaits us to make. So much is expected of us. Let us not disappoint then those who have a firm belief in our capacity!
Before I end my speech, I hope you can still give me a few more seconds to express my gratitude to the people who have been, and I know, will still be with me in my fresh start. To my closest friends, of course you know who you are, thank you for all your cooperation, love, and trust. Yes, we’ve just made it!
Sa aking mga kapatid, oo madami tayo at dahil ‘the more, the merrier,’ salamat sa pagmamahal at pag-unawa sa kabila ng ating mga tampuhan. Sa aking Tito, ‘To, maraming salamat sa suporta lalo na sa aking pag-aaral. Sa aking tatay, Pa, kulang ang salitang ‘salamat’ sa lahat ng pagmamahal at sakripisyo n’yo. Hindi man tayo isang perpektong pamilya, hindi ko inisip kalianman na sana miyembro na lang ako ng isang perpekto at buong pamilya, dahil tayo anuman ang mangyari ay isang ‘pamilya.’ Pa, thank you, and I love you po!
As my parting gift to the graduating class, STEM401, 402, 403, 404, and 405, I read to you the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “You cannot climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”
Stay humble and honest. Believe that you are complete. And gear up for the fresh start! Congratulations!!!
This is the manuscript of the short valedictory address delivered by Charlo V. Abogada during his senior high school graduation in April 2018.