Like I mentioned in the last post, I received the honor of knowing who the Valedictorian and Salutatorian were before everyone else. This was because Kath Alday, the Salutatorian, who is also a very good friend of mine, asked me to help with her speech, given that she was only told 5 days before the graduation and she was busy with work.
Pretty much everyone expected Kath to receive one of the two titles, as she has almost consistently been number one in our university’s dean’s list, and eventually president’s list. This was probably why I was hesitant at first to be friends with her, because I didn’t think we would get along. Surprisingly, we did. And she’s now one of my closest friends.
It was a pleasure working with you, Kath. You (and Enzo) have so many good insights. It was fun. Even if we had to stay in UA&P until 12mn. Haha. It was a good way to spend my last day as a UA&P student. I miss you!
Without further ado, the Salutation, by Ms. Karen Kathleen D. Alday
Dr. Jaime Laya, our guest speaker; Dr. Placido Mapa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UA&P Foundation Incorporated; Dr Josemaria Mariano, President of UA&P; Members of the Board of Trustees, Management Committee, and the various operations committees of the university, faculty members and members of the administration, parents, friends, and fellow graduates, good afternoon. On behalf of the graduating batch of 2010, it is with great honor that I welcome you all to the Fifteenth University Graduation Rites.
Today marks an important milestone in each of our lives—the time to harvest the fruits of our labor and culminate all the hard work and dedication that has been endured. For many of us, today marks the conclusion of more or less seventeen years of academic journey. But the adventure is not yet over.
There is pride in each one of us as this day has finally arrived. Parents, I can attest to all the hardship and challenges that your son or daughter has experienced that have provided him or her, a seat in this auditorium. Though we all have claim on our own individual crosses as we walked the path to sweet victory, it is not to say that any of us got it easier than the other. Fellow Graduates, we have earned this rite of passage.
But a word of caution. I was once told that it’s a jungle out there We will be faced by the creatures that have, until today, lurked only within the textbooks and class lectures. The so-called “real world” is scary but with endless possibilities. But worry not because we have been equipped with the skills, knowledge and values that will allow us to brave through and into the depths of the jungle.
To our teachers, who have provided us with the light that will guide us through the jungle, we thank you for the lessons, the words of wisdom, and the guidance. For the projects that have taught us patience and the value of teamwork, for the papers that have taught us perseverance and determination in spite of all revisions, and for the exams that have taught us how to use our time wisely, thank you for contributing not only to our academic growth, but to our personal development as well.
To our friends, who seemed to understand us the most. These are bonds forged during late night cramming sessions, eleventh hour study sessions, or just simple hang-out sessions at the ledge. Friends who have saved our sanity more than once during the hell week stress. Thank you to the Dormers, for being that group of friends that has been there for me, for accepting me as I am.
Lest we forget our parents, who for more than twenty years have built for us the moral foundation that allows us to be strong despite challenges and temptations around us. This is for you—for the unconditional love and support that pushed us to do our very best to prove that we are worthy of the gift of education that you have given us. May we always be reminded that if we ever get too deep into the forest, that we may always run to you for guidance. To my parents, thank you for letting me go and letting me grow up. Salamat sa pagmamahal at pag-unawa.
And of course, let us not forget our batch. We may be a small school, but together, we are a powerful force that can make a difference. Unitas. The ever-infamous Ondoy was no match for the spirit of unity that brought us together to help not just the members of the UA&P community, as our efforts were also witnessed within Red Cross and beyond. Yes, we may be a small school, but we were able to impact greatly the unsuspecting lives of those who were affected by the storm. The way Study Hall A was so quickly transformed into a donations drop-off and volunteer center was simply remarkable. Who says we have no school spirit?
Within the walls of the university, we have all done great things. We have followed Dante’s journey, visited the Greek civilization, tasted a bit of Renaissance art, and debated with Machiavelli. And who can forget terms like common good, psyche and transcendence that have become part of our daily conversations already.
Aside from academics, we have kept the campus alive with our extracurricular activities such as ROC and VIARE plays, Chorale concerts, I Came I Sang I-Mic, Haranya, and Fu’s Dragon Dance among others. We have all evolved from the carefree first-year students to the now socially-aware individuals.
Outside, we have given pride to our University through the victories of our varsities: Futsal, Volleyball, Basketball, and Cheer Dance. All these are the manifestations of the holistic development that we have learned to appreciate in our stay in the university. It is a balancing act of sorts, keeping in synch with our academic life while managing to involve ourselves in the non-academic aspects of the university life.
And after today, we will be facing the real world—and this time, no more readings to provide answers, only experiences that will teach us the hard way. No more teachers to correct our mistakes, only life itself watching our successes and failures. The jungle can be very cruel—that’s why we have to keep our values intact. We have to remain focused and optimistic. In daylight, the forest is beautiful, but let not its beauty set you off your trail. And in the dark, the forest is frightening, but do not let this make you lose faith.
Gretel said to Hansel “Losing our way on a journey is unfortunate, but losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel.” As we enter into the forest of our lives, we should try not to lose ourselves in the beauty that the forest presents. Remember all the things that we, as a batch, have achieved through the years, and remind yourself: you were meant for great things. Our adventure through the forest will be a tiring but worthwhile experience.
Today, I challenge you. Go. Face your jungle. Show the world the greatness that was meant for you. Don’t just go with the flow—create impact and live!
Once we set foot outside this auditorium, there’s no turning back.
So fellow graduates, a job well done! Today is finally here, my friends! We’ll see each other in the jungle.
The Final Groupwork 🙂 (Photo credits to Jonathan’s sister.)
L-R: Henry, Kath, Jonathan, Sarah. Salu Vale speech team 😀
On other things, today’s my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday, Ma. She claims she’s 37, but then I’m turning 21. So yeah, no. Although she does quite look like she’s in her early 30’s