Challenges are part of our everyday life. Whether big or small, few or many, it is good that we reflect on the essence of experiencing these challenges. A prominent person once said, and I requote, “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”
As pioneering graduates of the controversial K to 12 program, we have been confronted with novel challenges, the demands and expectations in the overhaul of our educational system. However, we have also been equipped with knowledge and skills, hence honed, nurtured, and developed so to deal with more challenges and struggles in our lives hereafter. To my fellow graduates, or should I say future architects, engineers, scientists, doctors, accountants, managers, assistants, teachers, or whatever profession or job soon pursued, challenges can be but akin to heat in different temperature levels, heat that helps us forge our weapons against harsh realities of life.
To our commencement speaker, distinguished guests, school administrators, our academic head and principal Ms. Renia Matira, our assistant principal, Ms. Jo Anne Galo, members of the faculty, parents, and my fellow graduates, a pleasant afternoon to all of you!
Tonight, as we savour our last day being senior high students, we come to remember so many experiences that are worth cherishing and be thankful for. We are all gathered here, much older and much wiser, and hence, very much ready to take whatever challenges that may come to our lives. As I face all of you, mixed emotions overwhelm my heart – happiness, excitement, nostalgia, and even sadness. My vivid memories of the past two years seem rushing back today — the new environment, new classmates, new friends, and new teachers. I have experienced a lot of adjustments and struggles which helped me become who I am today. As the top student of this batch, it fits me in this occasion to express my gratitude and appreciation to all those who have extended me their support, hope, guidance, courage, and direction as I celebrate this milestone.
To my parents, thank you for guiding, encouraging, loving, and supporting me to bring out the best in me – what I can, and what I must remember. As I become irrational and stubborn sometimes, thank you for your understanding and guiding me to improve. To my mother, you’ve never pressured me to have awards, I’ve never heard you say, Kailangan ganito ka kapag grumaduate ka. You never asked for more, you are happy and contented with the passing marks in my subjects. And to my father, who has sacrificed a lot to show his love and support for us, thank you very much. I offer you this honor and recognition to show, in the least but best possible way, my gratitude for having parents like you.
To my siblings, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and genuine appreciation for all things you’ve done. To the eldest, Ate Jezreez, thank you for sponsoring my tuition fees for the past two years. Without you, I would not be able to set foot on this institution. To Kuya Jasper, thank you for giving me pieces of advice for all things that I do. Despite your busy schedule, whenever possible, you still lend some time to share your insights with us. And of course, to my younger sister, Judith, thank you for giving me lots of things to laugh at and boosting my mood at times. Thank you all for helping me realize where I need to improve as a student.
To my dearest classmates, STEM 407 and my adviser, Ms. Christine Yurag, we’ve been through a lot. You guys have made me stronger in everything. Thank you for believing in me during those times I couldn’t even believe in myself. To Kyla, Jirah, and Lizette, my junior high close friends, as well as Shiela and Estella, for this senior high, you have influenced me a lot to strive harder in my studies, leading me to reach this goal. Thank you for being there through thick and thin. To my dearest club, STI Mathematics and Science Society, as well as my club adviser Ms. Donna Jane Delima, I owe you a lot. Being the president of this club, I have learned that being a leader takes a lot of efforts and sacrifices. I have developed my self-confidence and learned to adapt to different kinds of people. I will surely miss you all guys, surely will. Without you, my senior high school life wouldn’t be complete and enjoyable.
On behalf of my fellow graduates, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to all our dear parents, who have taught us lots of lessons to be cherished in life.
To all our teachers and advisers, thank you for believing in us, and for serving as our inspiration to pursue our dreams. We may not always remember the formula, theories, rules, terms, and concepts that you’ve taught us, but we will always remember the way you have shared your knowledge and experiences with us. You have also made us realize that there’s more beyond the four corners of our classroom. Thank you for not giving up on us, for being our second parents and for being friends though sometimes we have been very hard-headed. All memories you’ve shared with us will be forever treasured in our hearts, wherever and whenever we go.
Our gratitude goes also to our dear Alma Mater, for honing our skills and talents to make us better persons. Following your mission of giving quality education, we will cherish all the wonderful moments and experiences we had from this institution. May you continue to help your students in building and pursuing their dreams!
Above all, I give my deepest gratitude to the Lord who stood by us through this challenging part of our life. He gave us the strength to face all hardships, gave courage and hope in our hearts, and never left us in our darkest hours. Glory be to You always!
High school is said to be the most memorable and most precious phase of someone’s life. Remembering all the tawanan and kulitan moments makes me sad. Who would ever forget all tampuhan moments in every group activity or project we had? The nights we’re cramming just to finish our school works? The “sermons” of our teachers whenever we’re being noisy? The chips that were given every time we recite? The shuffling of the index card of our instructors to determine who’ll be the next one to be called during a graded recitation? The summative tests, quizzes, eLMS activities, and the iLS activities every grading? The maintenance team and the guards at our school? This place witnessed our failures and success as students, carving a mark in our hearts as STIers.
After this event, we will part ways and lead to hundreds of directions. This parting makes me teary-eyed, but I believe that in every ending, there will come a new beginning. Fellow graduates, you must remember that with or without a medal, graduating in senior high school is already a big achievement. But never allow your successes in life to lull you into the welcoming arch of complacency. I am saying this to inspire you to give your best in everything. Always remember your parents in the things that you do. I’m pretty sure that they are really proud of you. Don’t forget to show to your parents how grateful you guys are for having them.
As I end this message, fellow graduates, be strong, fight in, get up, be brave, and never stop dreaming. Improve, adjust, and believe in yourself! Seek for adventure, share your wisdom, inspire others, and explore possibilities to put yourself in to challenge. It seems to be over, but a new and long journey awaits us. Enjoy life as well as your plans, make new paths, and live your life to the fullest! If you need more encouragement, just remember this day, and me, staying in the same place where I am here today, saying, “Hang in there, I believe that you can do it!” Congratulations, batch 2017-2018! We did it!
Thank you and God bless us all!
This is the manuscript of the short valedictory address delivered by Ian Jerome C. Rodavia during his senior high school graduation in April 2018.