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Balares, during the 64th Commencement Exercises of the Basic Education Department Naga College Foundation, Naga City March 29, 2011
The college president, Mrs. Marguerite Michelle Padua-Hornby; The Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Benjamin P. Villanueva; the Vice President for Administration, Mrs. Ann Villanueva-Hidalgo; the Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Meda D. San Juan; the Vice President for Finance, Mrs. Emerita V. Padua; the Principal of the Basic Education Department, Mr. Ramon H. Nuiz; the Assistant Principals, teachers, graduates, parents, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. HOW DOES ONE START A COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS? This was the question I posted in my status in Facebook, two days ago. A couple of minutes after, somebody posted, start with a joke, then somebody said start with a story... a situational example. My former teacher here in high school said, “sing a song for them”. The suggestions were considered except for the last one. I may have a very good speaking voice but not a singing voice. Another reason is that it may be unfit to a ceremony like a graduation. THANK YOU Twenty two years ago, I had a similar question posed before myself: How does one start a valedictory address? That was my opening statement as the class valedictorian of class 1989. I started my address then and I will do it again this time, by saying thank you. Thank you for our God Almighty for giving us this beautiful and memorable day that marks the end of your high school and elementary days yet just the start of another journey towards a complicated part of your lives. Let us thank our parents for their unconditional support and guidance. They who painstakingly look for so many ways to shoulder everything we need just to finish our studies. Graduates, who among you has parents who are not graduates of this institution? There are a lot of them, maybe half. To those whose parents are not graduates of NCF, good for you, you were sent here for your studies! Thank you my dear Alma Mater for the invitation and trust to talk before the new generation of graduates. This is an honor. Let me share some of my thoughts. As one of the class valedictorians have said before, you have taught us well, I would agree and say: You really
taught us well! To all my former teacher, mentors, whom I still recall, their names, starting from my Kindergarten teacher: Mrs. Genie Orea, then to my elementary teachers, Mrs. Clutario, Mrs. Naty Dizon, Miss Japa, Mrs. Anita J. Ramos, Mrs. Rechilda Velarde, Mrs. Teresita del ValleBarrameda, Ms. Chavez, and Dr. Elizer Caculitan. My high school teachers, include, Mrs. Nomer Endrano, Mrs. Salve Jollado, Mr. Jariel, Ms. Dela Cruz, Mrs. Dory Ceraldino Doringo, Ms. Vista, Mrs. Peñafrancia Vargas, Mrs. Betty Badiola, Mrs. Lorna Caseles, Mr. Clerigo, Mr. Nuiz, now the BED Principal, Mr. Romulo Alarcon, Mrs. Adelita Dela Cruz, Mr. Albino, Mrs. Myrna Tiay, Mrs. Rosario Ordas-Papaya, Mrs. Cecille Ebora and a lot more. Some of them are already retired from teaching, and also some of them have retired from their own roles in this world. I would extend them my sincerest thanks and gratitude, since because of them, I have learned so many things and because of them, I may not stand before you today. I can also even name some of my classmates in high school which include: Roberto Almonte, Pedro Anselmo, Roberto Asis, Vicente Buena, Vladimir Talan, Eugenio Manondo, Augusto Bermillo, German Marsel, Baloro, and Lopez, the girls which include Daisy Mahayhay, Amy Escribano, Josephine Obrero and Elizabeth Hidalgo. These people are the ones who don’t have facebook accounts, and we don’t have any contact on them.
SCHOOL OF LIFE Most students would say their unforgettable memories in school were during their elementary and high school life. I firmly believe it is true. The experiences that you may have while attending school was either rewarding or worth remembering. That is because school is from the Latin word schola, which is used to refer to learning of singing and a mode of writing, or the leisure given to learning, a learned conversation or debate, and so many other activities. But the question is: did you really enjoy attending classes? If I may ask, how do you react when your teacher or the school administrator informed you that classes are suspended? In that case, you did not enjoyed being in school. Because if you do, you should be sad if classes are suspended. If you already have heard the passage: Non scholae, sed vitae discimus is a Latin phrase meaning We do not learn for the school, but for life, meaning that one should not gain knowledge and skill to please a teacher or master, but because of the benefits they will gain in their life. The saying is adapted from a passage in one of Lucius Annaeus Seneca's letters to his friend
Lucilius. Seneca (or Seneca the Younger) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, a tutor and later advisor to Emperor Nero. A starting-point for our reflection is the conception of education that. Education is more than just learning. It is about daring to know, do, relate and become. Education is contextual. To this, one can add only that education is also sharing the teacher's personal experience with the student and sharing the experience of one generation with another. Every generation transmits to those who are younger the fullness of its experience: religious, scientific, technological, social, political, and moral. Why experience? Let me point that experience is the best teacher. You learned from what you are doing. But it is far better to learn from other’s experiences. Let me cite an example. If somebody commits mistake in his life, you don’t have to replicate his mistake just to learn. You don’t even have to be a teacher to reach out. Thus the word "education" implies not only the academic routine of communicating some knowledge, fostering some skills and training specialists for various fields of action, but also a strategic task of the whole culture. Education is the dynamic of culture. As you leave the portals of your Alma Mater, always remember and do not forget your past. Sabi kaiyan sa Tagalog: Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan. To gain the future, you have to honor the past! Graduation ceremonies like this, with us who were ahead of you actually reminisce our pasts. It is a good venue of honoring the past and the present at the same time. The school administration is actually bridging the gap. Awards and citations in graduation ceremonies like this are merely rewards of your accomplishments as a student but that is not really the fruit of your studies. What is rewarding for the part of your Alma Mater is to see you in the next maybe 15 to 20 years, happy and contented in your respective lives. The experiences that you had in your elementary and high school days must stimulate your urge or encourage striving for the betterment of your respective lives. You should have a goal and no matter or whatever gets in the way, you have to realize it. Have focus to realize your ambition. Aram ko gabos kamo, gabos kita, igwa ning kanya kanyang pangiturugan o ambisyon. Poon sa simpleng gamit na gustong mabakal hanggang sa magyaman tanganing magkaigwa nin marhay na buhay para sa sadiri asin sa magiging pamilya. Alagad tibaad mas dakul sa saindo, ang nangingiturugan iyo an saindong mga magurang. Sabi kan si ama sa aki: ika ngaya ta matibay ka sa klase, mag doctor ka o mag engineer o mag abogado! Si ngohod na aki, ang sabi: ika ngaya ta maluya luya ka, mag maestro o maestra ka! Anoman ang pigsasabi ninda, mayong magigibo ang mga aki kundi ang magsunod asin magtubod (ta kung dai ka matubod o magtumang ka: makurikot ang saimong mga muro)
I, for one was not looking to become a teacher during my high school days, my interests was in journalism and inclined to take journalism or political science and to become a lawyer. But, my parents told me you better take education; maybe because, both our parents were educators and principals for that matter. My elder brother and sisters took up business related courses and nobody took education. So I obligingly enrolled in education, which I fortunately finished in 13 years. I started at the University of Nueva Caceres until I quitted in 1995 and came back to NCF in 1999 and finished the course in 2002. Ang dapat lang na giromdomon, dai ka man dadarahon kan saindong mga magurang sa maraot. What I did was just enjoy whatever activities relative to my studies and the profession. That is what you should do too. While you are enjoying what you are doing, you will be rewarded and whatever are your ambitions are, it will be realized. So pay it forward! Today’s graduation has a little of my old school and a little of your new. There is actually a taste of old school in this, which sometimes you have to take it back. In this way, you can lead any and all passionate group of your peers to become a useful part of our society. It is like when you are playing in a band, you have to love the sound of the band and not the sound of your own instrument. You could be the best player in the band, yet you don’t blend with the rest, then you do not deserve to be part of the band. But it is alright, we actually lost of the things sometimes. Remember this: the graduates are the reflections of its school. I would say, you do not need to be well-known and popular, but you should be a useful citizen of this country. Today’s society is fast changing. It converts one person to be fit and qualified to face any and all challenges it bring. If you would not, the latest trends of technology today may be outdated tomorrow. A new version is immediately released. So you have to be abreast with this, because if you don’t you will be left behind. Nevertheless, all kinds of development started from a humble basic things or theory. Whatever you have, should be shared to prove its worthiness. In that way you should be able to make yourself worthy to change our society. Thank you and good evening.
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