Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Commencement Speech

Last March 24,2015 I was invited to be the guest speaker for my High School's Commencement Exercises. It was my first time and I had so many things to say yet I don't want to run an hour-long speech. I have to admit, my nervousness and excitement for the upcoming event was overpowered by my frustration in making my speech. 

I wanted to tell them that education is not a privilege anymore, but a necessity. Tell them not to follow their heart at all times, because sometimes, the heart is selfish and lazy. But I ended up, with a somewhat different speech when I was down to my last 10 hours of speech drafting.

Here is the full copy of my prepared speech and in many times along the way, I deviated from my copy and just blurted the things that popped in my head (memories and lessons). 

Bottom line: I just want them to study hard and finish schooling. Find their purpose in life and continue living the good life. 

I remembered mispronouncing some words and talking fast. . . I wasn't expecting for everybody to listen. I was just hoping that someone did grasp something from my speech and use it in any way that may benefit him/her.

Good Morning!
To the Faculty and Staff of Kalilangan Baptist Christian Academy, Students, Parents, Graduates and Visitors.

Thank You for having me here.

What we are today is just the result of the decision we made yesterday. Years ago, you went on a mission to finish high school and here you are as highschool graduates. Years ago, you graduated in kindergarten and here you are about to enter highschool.  For you kids at pre-school, years from now, you will be just like them graduating in elementary or highschool.

Congratulations to the parents and guardians. Here are the first fruits of your hardwork, support, care and love.
Congratulations to the teachers for another job well done.
And congratulations to you graduates.

There you are wearing your togas and here I am wearing a smile on my face. Be proud of yourself for this day marks another defining event in your life. We are all proud of you for finishing a phase full of assignments, quizzes, projects and exams. Now that you are graduating, it is high time for you to step into a new horizon. You have reached the frontier of global transformation and unity. A world that is serving you a plate full of options and opportunities.  I can still remember myself sitting there, wearing my toga. I was half happy and the other half was feeling a mix of fear, confusion and excitement.

I was happy that I finally graduated in high school. On the other side though, I had mixed feelings. I felt fear for I will be moving on to a new place, a new school. I was confused and excited, because there are so many things I wanted to become. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to be a model. I wanted to wear a crown. I wanted to wear business attire and join corporate meetings like what I see in Soap Operas and I even wanted to become a crew at Jollibee, Sell ChickenJOys and clean the tables. There are so many things I wanted to become and everything is possible. I just want to grab all of them.

You might already have concrete plans after highschool and that’s good for you. But I bet, some of you have the same confusion that I had. It is normal to want many things but there are times when you really have to choose. If you do not know what you really want, then at least know what you do not want. What are the things that you do not want? Knowing the things you don’t want will also guide you in deciding your next step after highschool.
Way back in  highschool, I just wanted to be successful.

All of us wants to be successful. Who doesn’t? But what does success means to you? Does it mean having a job someday? Making your parents proud? becoming an inspiration? getting rich? becoming a rich farmer? being a doctor? being a charity doctor? Whatever success means to you, Surely it would require you to work and study hard to achieve it.

And the world has become so demanding, requiring a long list of qualifications that you need to meet if you want to succeed.  You need to be excellent in your chosen field of study and you are also required to know other skills. The world is in need of people with multiple skills so do not limit yourselves when it comes to learning.  Kelangan natin makipagsabayan sa takbo ng panahon or else mapag iiwanan tayo.

Globalization has made things easier for us. You can have 20 books or more in one thin gadget, you can watch concerts for free without getting out of the house, and you can do shopping, deposit and transfer money with just one tap of your finger. You can pay bills without falling in line. We get to communicate with different people around the world and we get to establish ties with them, Learn new things that are good and apply it.

But globalization had also brought us unfiltered mass of both information and garbage. It is good to have an open mind but do not open it fully, or else people will throw a lot of rubbish into it. The new world will offer you things that are sometimes hard to resist or deny. The new age has given us easy access to things that are restricted years ago.  That is why, I would also like to tell you that if you are face to face with something that makes you confused or something na napapakanta ka ng “ I feel something so right doing the wrong thing” …. When you are torn between two or more things, you get a grip on your values and start establishing your principles in life.

Global transformation has indeed inspired us to change and become better and if we want to survive longer, we need to adapt to the change.  But that change does not mean that we have to leave our values behind us. As you journey into a new phase in a changing place, I would like to remind you that aside from packing your favorite t-shirt you should also bring your values with you. Do not forget what KBCA and your parents or guardians taught you. Do not forget that the basics for survival are still the all-time principles of faith, hard work, perseverance and discipline. In my experience, trends come and go, but GMRC (Good manners and Right Conduct) are always in. Good manners never run out of style so do not forget to say your Please and Thank You’s, say excuse me and I’m sorrie’s.

Our Class valedictorian told us on our graduation day AJAH graduates, AJAH!

Today I am using AJAH again, but I am not addressing it to you. Because I know you could make it through whatever challenges. You have the potential and KBCA had equipped you already with the necessary knowledge, skills and discipline that you need to kick start  your new journey to continuing education. Therefore my AJAH! Will go to your parents and guardians. AJAH! Parents and guardians! For I know the tuition and price of books has gone high compared to the ones we were paying years ago. Aside from extra rice, you need to have extra work, extra effort, extra savings for education.

Despite such costly investment, I hope you send them further to higher education. As seniors in this life, it is our duty to create and leave a good lineage of generation. A generation of people that are competent and knowledgeable, a generation with a heart who chooses to do good and right things and a generation that is hard working. Please continue to support or push them in pursuing their talents and exploring their potentials. Please do not give up on them, when they tend to become headstrong or heartstrong.

To the school and the teachers, I hope you keep up the good work of bringing and giving quality education. Thank you for producing equipped batches year after year. The success of KBCAians is also your success.

To you students and graduates whatever you do, give it your best shot. Be the best that you can be. Do not settle for “Okay Na .” go beyond. Learn more. Do more. Be more. Make your parents proud by doing things with a sense of purpose. Step out from your comfort zones and do not be afraid to face new things.

Do not be afraid to face challenges for by being challenged, we realize our potential. We find out how much talent and strength  God has bestowed upon us.  Before, we used to say in school “ Monster jud ni nga teacher”, he would give us exams that are hard but still answerable, he would give us projects with tomorrow as the deadline and he would tell us “ Someday, you will realize why you have to undergo this kind of training” …Now we say “ PAWER jud keo si sir/ma’am” because indeed they had prepared us in facing a  challenging reality.  Train hard and trust the process. Even Manny Pacquaio is not excused in Training hard.

Do not condemn failure. Failure is an opportunity for us to know our weakness, strengthen it and rise up even stronger. I myself had been sort of kicked out from the Accountancy program, lost my scholarship and even got an F mark.  What is important is you get back up and start again. Failure is not a destination. Failure is just an evaluation stage.

Do not compare yourself to other people. Do not underestimate your capability to be the best of what you are and of what you can do. Hindi pwedeng mag eengineer tayong lahat. Or mag lalawyer or mag ti teacher lahat. Someone has to be the dentist, the electrician, the accountant. We would also need pilots, police and nurses. Someone has to be the priest, the technician or the IT.  Each of us has given equal right to contribute in the community and make this world a better place to live in so do not waste the space that is allotted for you to occupy. Unity is different from uniformity.

Do not ever stop dreaming .The future will always be bright for those who have dreams, for those who are hopeful and determined in achieving those dreams. Study hard, if that’s not enough then you study harder. Please please (nanghangyo) please pursue continuing education. When you get to finish college, You get closer to your other dreams ( I know you have many dreams). You get closer to people who can help you. You get closer to many opportunities. You get to do more things easier and you get to make your parents and guardians and your country proud.

Most importantly, Do not stop praying. In whatever era we were and are in, the Lord has never and will never abandon us.  He’s always present, guiding and coaching us in the right path. It just happens that the frontiers of global transformation and unity has prepared a more challenging place to test our skills, faith and values.

 Facing Global transformation and Unity still requires the same basic things:
A working mind, a working heart and a hardworking pair of hands.

As you go up here and claim your certificates, be proud of what you have become. Be excited of what you are becoming . After all ,the word commencement does not mean an end, it means a new beginning . This is a virtual ticket to your dreams. As you journey in life, make good memories and gain new friends and most importantly, may you find your purpose and continue living a good life.

Congratulations graduates. This is your day. Take it all in for you have earned it. I pray for your success in every good thing you do and Godbless you all .

From Galatians chapter 6 verse 9
Let us not be weary in doing good things, for in the future, we shall reap the fruits of our labor if we faint not.

Thank You.

 To the graduates of 2015: Congratulations and hurry to finish school..We are waiting.

To the readers: Please leave your insights, comments and suggestions. I would love to hear everything you have to say. I hope this is not the end of my public speaking stint.

That was the Class Salutatorian Speaking Credits to him for this Picture

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two sights are better than One

Who sees the glass as half-full and who sees the glass half-empty?  

The pros of having a pessimistic friend in the group:

….because the only person you can tolerate for being a pessimist is a friend of yours.

You have a project, and you’re so hyped up with your great ideas and puffed up with all the good things that can happen and they’ll enumerate all the what-ifs that can also happen. They’re not discouraging you. They are just helping you formulate another better idea.

You are gaga all over about this super cute dress or a bag and (yes) they’ll acknowledge it but will go pointing out all the little things that scream big signs of NO-NO. From zippers that get stuck up, materials that are hard to wash, clothes that are itchy and warm to the skin and on how the quality is not so worth your money.

They don’t purposely want to ruin your vibe when you’re happy high up in cloud 9. They just throw a light of truth along your clouded judgment. They’re useful because they prevent you from making decisions that you might regret an hour later, or if you must insist in going for it, they help you see what can go wrong so that you can do your strategic planning in case the worst case scenarios arise in the future.

A pessimist (may) see more of the negative things that is why they need optimistic friends to inspire them. A balancing act, for all to survive,