Monday, April 04, 2011

Commencement Speech to the SMSM Class of 2010

It took me a year to post this... Sorry.

Thanks Ms. Mylene for that very generous introduction!

Mrs. Aurelia Ma. S. Hernandez, President, Dr. Mary Ann Covarrubias, VP for Academics, Ms. Aurelia S. Cruz, Principal, St Mary of Woods School Administrators,  faculty and staff, proud parents, relatives and friends and to our dear Marian graduates, Good Afternoon and thank you for letting me share this amazing day with you! 

I’ll begin by sharing everybody a secret… I wrote my speech 3 days ago. Because I know all of the graduates here would forget everything I say in the span of three minutes. Just like me I can’t remember what the speaker told me us during our elementary and high school graduation and even worst, I don’t remember who the speaker was at all. But I’m pretty sure that… that great person said something about success. 

After 6 years, I’m standing at the very same podium where I delivered my graduation speech. It was the very same feeling of mix emotions, excitement, sadness, happiness, and fulfillment. 

Because after today, there is a possibility that you would not cross each other’s road again. There will be a lot of changes especially to the 4th year graduating class. Next school year, they will all face the path of their new life in college. New challenges also come to the preparatory and grade 6 class, life will bring a lot hardships that will result sadness, but remember to play it fun. 

Another feeling that I had when I graduated was happiness. The whole family was very happy, especially the parents, because they can see their hard works getting paid. Every faculty and staff of the school was happy as well because finally the students are OUT… out and ready to face another challenge, bringing all the learning’s they got from the school. 

It’s particularly sweet for me to be here today because when I graduated, I wanted very badly to be the class valedictorian. Unfortunately, during that time, someone was better than me. I graduated salutatorian and I was lucky enough to be the graduating class speaker because I’m awarded the best in English or best in speech award. Although, I spoke for the class I was a bit sad because in me it’s still a step closer to the top.

So after high school, I was in regret and sad that I wasn’t valedictorian but life must go on so I told myself that being salutatorian, second place, rank 2, vice president or any other supporting award wasn’t bad after all and it’s the award that matters. 

I started a new life in college. I remember our 1st day of speech communication class where our professor told us to introduce ourselves. When it’s already my turn… 
I said:
Hi! I’m Jamie Laine S. Meneses. I graduated from the School of Mount St. Mary. I want to be a writer because I want to hold the pen and put the thoughts of other people who cannot write on paper. 

So after my introduction my professor was of course impressed and told me, “You’ve got a very good school…. That St. Mary’s Academy from Baliuag, Bulacan is one of the most popular schools in Bulacan.” Then, I said, “No Sir, it was not the school I went to.” Then, he said, Oh… he paused and continued with “who is the next speaker?”

After that moment, I promised myself that my professor will never again credit another school for my achievements. 

My first term in college went quickly and before I knew it, we were down to our finals week and for our speech comm. class, we are tasked to deliver a piece. I decided to use the same declamation piece I used when I represented the School of Mount St. Mary in BULPRISA. Then after my presentation, my professor asked me where I got my speech, so I told him that it was written by my high school teacher for a competition. Then, he said, you got good mentors at the School of Mount St. Mary.  

The point is that, I was proud of our school. Our school was not the biggest school in San Miguel, our classrooms was not even air-conditioned at all, we don’t even have internet to use back then, even this roof… we don’t have this covered hall before, that every time we need to practice or we have events like this, our skin was barely exposed to the sun getting all the UV rays it gives and always feeling like its summertime. 

What I’m trying to say is that... With the things that we have before, we did not complain with what we don’t have. We use the resources that we have—we research with the books we have in our library, we conduct our cooking presentations at the HELE room, we dissect frogs in our mini science laboratory and do Microsoft excel computation exams in our internet incapable computers. 

In the things that we don’t have, we do something about it. We don’t have a bulletin board so the student council thought of a way to make funds for it and up to this date, you are still using the bulletin board downstairs that we funded. 

Our playground before was very much like this hall before, it was so open to the sun that every time we play, our sweat glands are on its maximum power. Of course, we cannot afford to roof the whole play ground, so we planted trees. Sadly, we did not enjoy those trees but now all of you have enjoyed and experienced it. 

The common ground between us is that I was actually a student here just like you. The School of Mount St. Mary was my training ground. It opened the doors of opportunities. It’s in here were I discovered my speaking and writing skills. If not to Linggo ng Wika, IDD and BULPRISA, I wouldn’t know that my skills are capable of winning competitions. 
After I graduated here, I went to college, finished it for only three years.  I became a newspaper correspondent after. I left the newspaper job to broaden my knowledge and enrolled in graduate school to continue my studies. Then, got a writing job again in a gaming company. I was very thankful to God for all the blessings that were given to me but it’s just not it yet… it was the same feeling of being salutatorian—it feels like it’s still a step away. So I put my MA degree on hold for awhile, with 12 more units to go and tried to find another job, another writing job… I posted my resume at jobstreet and I was invited for an interview. The interview was lethal but I hit it with a bull’s eye with one eye closed. I was accepted and became the Promo and Ads writer of Vibal Publishing for four months. Now, I’m still with Vibal Publishing as their content developer for Interactive Educational CD-ROMs. It was hard, it was challenging but it was fulfilling. 

I’m 22 years old and just like you I’m still learning and relearning, this just the beginning for all of us. The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take that away from you. The world has so many lessons to teach you. Embrace those teachings, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, the classroom is the right place to make mistakes because we have mentors to guide us and learn from those mistakes…………….

Just like how I started my speech earlier, I would end it by sharing a secret as well. The things you need to know in life are the things you do in FarmVille—face book’s phenomenal farming game—plot, plant, fertilize, harvest then do everything all over. 

To start farming, the player must create an avatar first. Like in real life you must create and mold your identity. 
Choose the plot where you will plant your seeds or choose the school that will guide and mold you. 
Then, you have to buy seeds and plants. Would you invest in strawberries? Grapes? Carrots? Or Egg plants? At school, where would you want be good at? Math? Science? Arts? Or English?

Farming is not as easy as buying seeds and planting, remember that you have neighbors who will steal your crops along the way. In life these stealers are the distractions that will lead you to the wrong way, be careful with it. 

To get better harvests, you might want to buy some fertilizers for it will help you with your seeds. In real life, you might want to get tutorial sessions, extra piano lessons, or computer classes, to improve and boost up your learning’s. 

Once your crop is ready to harvest, you simply click on it and let your farmer harvest it. When the school is done, you will get your rewards on graduation. 

But after a harvest, you can plow and plant again. After your graduation, another education is on its way. 

Then, planting and harvesting becomes a cycle. When you get bored and tired of it, the seeds you planted will either be stolen, dry or wilted. If you don’t study well and got tired, you will fail. 

Pay attention to your farm; expand it to earn more coins and experiences. Walk on the right path, more opportunities and experiences will come along the way. Make your dreams happen. 

Remember that you reap what you sow, what you plant is what you harvest.

To conclude my speech, I’d like to share a portion of my speech from 6 years ago, 
“No road is easy to travel for all of us, but when we reach our destination, there is a feeling of accomplishment. Let us not forget that learning and relearning is continuing and applying. Graduation is like a twilight that marks the end of the day and the beginning of the night, like the dawn that marks the end of the night and the beginning of the day. It is a beginning of a more meaningful life for all of us. It is a new dream, a new hope and a new challenge—a new star to conquer. Commencement is not goodbye but gratitude to the experiences we learned.”

May God and Mother Mary carry you in times of trials and guide you in facing your challenges. May they inspire you to become future leaders of the country, exemplifying the true ideals of the school of Mount St. Mary. 

Remember, today is the day to share secrets. And this is the moment to tell it to your secret crush. 

This is your moment. This is it. Thank you. 

love, now and always, 

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