This is a sample graduation speech based on the 2018 theme, Mag-aaral ng K to 12: Handa sa Hamon ng Buhay (K to 12 Learners: Ready to Face Life’s Challenges). This has been published on iMillennial|Personal Finance, another website managed by iMillennial Publishers, and is shared here as well for consolidation of all our sample graduation speeches and for your better reading experience.
Nobody knows much the struggles we have been through in the last two years more than we do. Neither do our parents who have silently tracked our sleepovers with study buddies for our group research and projects through our Facebook statuses nor our teachers who until now still seem if not a little guilty about the overwhelming curricular requirements. Totally, we have experienced the upsurge of the demands and expectations of education in the 21st century.
Distinguished guests of honor, our school principal and assistant principal, teachers, parents and sponsors, ladies and gentlemen, and the 2018 graduating class, good morning.
We have just survived senior high school. It must be a celebration not just among us, but also among our parents and the stakeholders of this institution. While this year’s graduation theme, Mag-aaral ng K to 12: Handa sa Hamon ng Buhay (K to 12 Learners: Ready to Face Life’s Challenges), highlights the role of K to 12 Basic Education Program in harnessing the skills and competencies of the Filipino learners to face life’s challenges, I choose to discuss the blind spots on these challenges that confront the Filipino people in general, and thus focus on the issues of – skepticism, ignorance, and miscommunication. In our brave admission of these, we become more cognizant of our self-worth and part in the rebuilding of a great nation.
Admit it, we were at first a little skeptical about the significant change in the Philippine education system that shortly drew negative public feedback, mostly on the issues of unpreparedness of the implementing agencies and of additional financial burden on the part of the sponsoring parents. A Filipino instinct maybe, we suddenly become dubiously vocal with issues even without our full grasp. As soon as they cool down however, we finally forget and find ourselves surrendering reservations and resistance.
There is no big problem with skepticism, I must say. In fact, it encourages us to confirm facts, and hence, make sound judgments and decisions. As a confirmation bias however, with skepticism, most of us appear to be smart without doing any work. Sadly, this defines many of us. I stand here today not as a charlatan who falsely claims having special knowledge or skill, but rather as a representative of these young Filipino learners who have just refused to give up a good fight for true education.
Ignorance finds no place in our generation. In a world where everybody has access to a vast resource of information, there is no excuse for us, students, for instance, not to do a little effort to compensate for the shortcomings of our academics. In a sense, technological disruption in education has served more pathways for student-teacher collaborations while we develop more accountability for our own learning.
As technology sweeps through classrooms and shapes the future of education, there shouldn’t be a collapse of the long been established foundation of Filipino studentry. However, as Manuel Quezon observed, “Education is collapsing under the weight of poor planning, limited infrastructure, diminished education, and graft and corruption. Our students are no longer taught to be thinkers, or artists, or poets, or entrepreneurs, or anything, rather as laborers, not even of our society, but of other countries.”
It is no longer just an issue concerning selective academic ignorance, but of a blind eye turned towards other serious problems not just in our educational system, but in many critical aspects of the Filipino way of life. Worse, our sense of co-ownership and Filipinohood has since been diminishing with our creation of an imaginary superhero we empowered to do the solving of these many issues for us. I don’t think there is what we can still call ‘us.’
While skepticism and ignorance can be directly addressed in the personal level, miscommunication caused by our inadequate skills that are irresponsive to the demands of emerging communication technologies can be the greatest challenge. As Bernard Shaw describes it, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Our communication skills seem creeping far behind the facility and convenience of innovative channels. As we go online, sometimes we think we have the right frequency and quantity of communication, but soon we find out that we fail to build mutual understanding. Without facial expressions, gestures, other nonverbal cues, and other means to retract immediately, there’s a big risk of misunderstanding. Equally important, psychologists warn against lack of physical contact as it has adverse effects on our emotional and social well-being.
True enough, we are confronted with these issues – skepticism, ignorance, and miscommunication –but with courage within us and nobility of a shared purpose, together we can rework the future of this nation that our forefathers once envisioned. It should start within ourselves.
To the 2018 graduating class, Eckhart Tolle once said and I requote, “The power is in you. The answer is in you. And you are the answer to all your searches: you are the goal. You are the answer. It’s never outside.” Congratulations, and Mabuhay!