To our commencement speaker, distinguished guests of honor, school administrators, program heads, dear principal and assistant principal, dedicated teachers and compassionate homeroom advisers, our beloved parents and guardians, and my fellow ABM and GAS graduates, a pleasant morning to all of you.
I guess the best way to start is to congratulate my fellow graduates. Congratulations!!! Of course, it was never an easy journey, but we managed and made it through. So, let’s give ourselves a round of applause for that.
We would then often wonder if we would make it to the end, and finally, here we are at this very moment that marks the end of our journey being Senior High School students. We are but gathered here today to reap all the combined fruits of the exhaustions, mental breakdowns, and sleepless nights we have encountered along the way to this exciting moment.
It is truly a great honor for me to stand here today to speak on behalf of my fellow graduates. I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad knowing that this is the last time we are all gathered together as STI students. I’m truly happy because I can see how joyful you are and how proud your parents are, but I’m also sad because seeing each of my batch mates’ face somehow reminds me of the memories with everyone of you. It has been an awesome two years for me here and parting is but a sweet sorrow.
It feels like it was only yesterday when we were still those teens getting all nervous and excited over the thought of entering Senior High School where we had the expectations of experiencing more complicated things, having crushes, making new friends, seeing the bigger world, and of course, growing up. It feels like it was only yesterday when we were all too shy to speak up and make new friends, worrying that no one might accept us, yet here we are today, making our sweetest and victorious smiles as we have just earned the certificate that symbolizes our efforts and determination, the fruit of our tears and sacrifices.
Senior High School life really has been a roller coaster ride for us. We’ve experienced our downfalls and encountered disappointments along the way, but we have also learned many lessons that have helped us to be who we are today, the reason why we are all here at this Gymnasium to celebrate our day.
The days of downloading and printing a bunch of handouts are now over. The photos we’ve taken because we’re too lazy to jot down notes can now be deleted. There are no more eLMS activities that we would often answer when they’re already due. No more iLS that have served as one of the reasons why most of us here became artists, singers, dancers, critical thinkers, and certified crammers. Disclaimer: Though we crammed most of the time, we would still make sure that we would produce a good output. Kudos to all of us!
We have shared a lot of memories. We will surely miss those times when we would jam with one another and sing while others play the instruments, when we would fight over petty things, when would we tease each other, and the list goes on. We’ve conquered the times when we were so frustrated and stressed because we were loaded with school works while trying to beat the deadlines. All the nights when we would stay up late with our cup of coffee trying to finish writing papers and balance the numbers in the yellow sheets were all worth it. All of these moments were time and effort well-spent. We made it.
I believe all of us have the capacity for greatness, but this would require constant toiling. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” If we are aiming for success, we should work hard for it. Success is earned and not something that happens by chance. It is actually our choice if we will sacrifice and work hard enough to achieve our goals. It is our choice to be brave enough to willingly take the risk to reach the top. All of us here have our own stories to write. It’s all up to us on how we will choose to use our minds, our hands, and our hearts to get to where we want to be. I will not say that life is a race and you should beat others to win. Instead, you must try to maintain both feet on the ground even when you succeed.
I’m taking this opportunity as well to thank all the people who have made my achievements possible. Let us not forget that this is not just our achievement alone. It is an achievement shared by groups of people who have also endured with us.
On behalf of every student here, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the teachers and mentors we’ve had in life. You are the candles who light the way. Thank you for using your precious time and wisdom for us. I would like to mention all my past teachers, but I know everyone wants me to finish my speech as quickly as possible.
However, indulge me as I mention a few: Sir Gilbirth, Sir Sam and Ma’am Berna, thank you for believing in my skills and talent. You have offered me with a lot of activities helping me develop my skills. From the bottom of my heart, thank you po. To my advisers Ma’am Apple and Ma’am Trizia, thank you for always attending to our concerns and for serving as our second mothers here in school. To all other teachers, forgive me if I fail to mention all of you but rest assured that each and every one of you has helped me in a way that makes me happy to be your student.
I would also like to thank every single parent of these graduates, biological or not. You’ve helped all of us come here to be in this graduation today. You have cared for us for all these years and helped us reach our goals. Now, to those whom I owe the greatest thanks of all, mama and papa, salamat po sa allowance. Thank you for supporting me morally, emotionally, and financially. Thank you for the immeasurable love, care, time, effort and discipline you are providing and making for me. I feel so thankful and blessed that you’re always there for me and that you support me all throughout my journey. Without your help, I would think that getting this award wouldn’t be possible. You’re one of the main reasons why I am standing here today.
Also, we must remember our classmates and friends who have been with us to help and support us throughout these two years of journey. To my classmates, ABM 401, it is an honor to have met you and have worked with you. Thank you for the many fond memories. We have shared laughter, tears, triumphs, and frustrations, and all of you have become a big part of my life. To my friends, Allysafe, Lester, Jess, and Joana, thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for having my back all the time. You guys are the best!
Lastly, I would like to give glory to my Almighty Creator for without His blessings and guidance, everything would not be possible. It may have been a super challenging and tough academic year but because of the Lord who always reminds me that all is well and that His hands are at work, I didn’t lose the motivation to stay on course and run the race with endurance, patience and faith.
If you are graduating with honors, congratulations! You’ve worked hard for it, and you deserve it. For those who will graduate without the benefit of one of the awards given out today, be assured that the absence of these awards will not disqualify you from the real race of life. Success is not measured in grades, awards and medals because when the rubber finally meets the road, character and attitude become the golden standard.
My batch mates, when we walk out of gym today with our diplomas in hand, we will no longer be Senior High students. We are going to take on heavier responsibilities, face new challenges, and reach for bigger goals. Let us never allow the world’s definition of what is possible keep us from achieving what we want to achieve. Let us not only dream big, let us dream grandly. Let’s not only reach for the mountaintop, let’s reach for the stars. Let’s remain true to the STI motto: Aim high!
My fellow graduates, congratulations to all of you. Thank you and God bless!
This is the manuscript of the short valedictory address delivered by Lovely Singcuenco during her senior high school graduation in April 2019.