This is a sample graduation speech based on the 2019 DepEd-released theme, Pagkakaisa sa Pagkakaiba-iba: Kalidad na Edukasyon para sa Lahat (Unity in Diversity: Quality Education for All). You can use this for the said occasion without any written notice.
To our commencement speaker, distinguished guests of honor, our beloved school principal, department heads, members of the faculty, parents, graduates, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
We are not here to celebrate my achievement as the valedictorian of the graduating class, much more not to witness how I stutter and struggle with a public speaking anxiety. We are not here to show off our signature outfits and be instant fashion critics. Of course, we may take selfies and add memories to our digital photo albums, but that’s not the real purpose of the occasion.
We are all here, I must say, to celebrate the temporal fruit of unity amidst our diversity in descent, status, ethnicity, affiliations, and beliefs. Yes, it is sadly temporal, but time and again, we always find a slice of our precious time for many historic occasions like this. We are never really divided then. We merely stand facing each other from various points and distances at the crossroads of unity.
Our graduation theme, Unity in Diversity: Quality Education for All, is an adequate description of what has been going on in our educational system. All in white graduation robes today and I have witnessed and experienced firsthand the changing curricular orientations – from teacher to student-centered instructions, from individualized to collaborative learning, and from purely academic to holistic approaches.
More than all academic workloads, which were nearly unrealistic, we have conquered as well many things that might have hindered our becoming of better individuals – our weaknesses and frailties, our egocentricities, our antisocial tendencies, and closemindedness. In meeting deadlines and academic standards, we have learned how to build healthier communications, how to negotiate and prevent conflicts, and how to work harmoniously together. In a micro-context, that is unity amidst diversity.
Unity in diversity, as a global human concept, seeks to transcend the notion that an ideal nation should be comprised of a certain ideology or ethnicity. It suggests that far from being weakened by various cultural strands, the nation is made stronger by acceptance of the many contributions made by its constituent parts — its people coming from various walks of life.
Filipinos are never really divided. We merely stand facing each other from various points and distances at the crossroads of unity. Our spirit of communal unity has never gone colder but has kept on flaming through time. In its sustenance, education serves as the fuel, and hence, the continuous delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating education of all Filipino learners irrespective of profiles and stereotypes.
And we, as the younger generation given this great privilege, commit ourselves to the shared goals of education – holistic development of the 21st century learners – and continuously nurture the future leaders and nation-builders that lie within us.
As a parting gift, a great poet John Donne once said, and I requote: “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
Congratulations to all of us! Mabuhay!