To our beloved parish priest, Rev. Fr. Adalbert Barut, our Directress-Principal Sr. Alfreda Maria Rosario V. Piguing, SPC; Sr. Alicia; Sr. Leah; our scrupulous advisers, Mrs. Teresita Taguba and Mrs. Karen Chan; the Student Affairs Chairperson, Mrs. Ronalyn Agustin; our Student Council President for the school year 2010-2011, Mr. Ryan Esquibil; patient mentors; parents; friends; guests and fellow graduates good afternoon!

A few weeks ago, we were taking up Latent Heat in our Physics class with Mrs. Noemi Sibayan. It is also referred to as Hidden Heat. Why? It is because the heat that was absorbed by an ice cube for instance does not affect its temperature. But a change in its state happened. From a solid ice it turned into liquid ice. Like the ice, we have absorbed some 1,000,000 calories of knowledge from our teachers. We are now going through a phase change at this very moment. We are ending our being solid hard headed people and are travelling in the speed of sound to be more flexible individuals ready to go with the turbulent waves of a more crucial life.

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Yes, I failed several times. I lost hope but eventually I never lost faith. Failure has been and will forever be a part of the cycle. Without it, fluorescent lamps and ballpoint pens couldn’t have been invented.

Our graduation song with the title “The Climb” best describes the journey I went through before I got here. Let me state two lines from its chorus: “…sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there…” It was not really that fast and easy to reach the top for it took me eight long school years. I waited eight years for me to be called ‘First’ once again. The last time I heard people call me the ‘First Honor’ in class was way back 2002 when I was on the 1st grade.

What I humbly prayed for in the past ten months was to simply finish the race with whatever distinction I deserve. But God is good to me and my family for He gave me more than what I prayed and hoped for. I have faced tons of obstacles and jumped hundreds of hurdles or even thousands. Duties on the council and school requirements came like a tsunami day after day drowning me in stress. The zits you see on my face are living proofs.

Those difficult times and depressing moments did not stop me and all of my batch mates from dreaming, claiming and working for it. Nothing, ever, is impossible to get. What you need to do is to stick with that goal and get busy with those special codes in order for your plan to work out like a computer program.

We have been waiting for this day for us to finally escape Catch-22s and dilemmas encountered on the four corners of our classrooms. After this day, the disgust whenever there is an assignment or project, the eye bags during and after examination days, and the trepidation and anxiety we feel after each grading period will be all gone! They are all replaced by euphoria or a feeling of great happiness. At last, our story is in its conclusion part already! Everyone is glad about it for we are now a part of SPSA’s history and SPSA is now a part of our history.

Today, March 30, 2011, we are gathered here to harvest the fruits of our efforts. These recognitions represented by metal medals will soon rust. They will look old and ugly and will not serve their purpose. That is not the matter to be talked about. For the most important thing here is that you recognized our small and simple efforts. We do appreciate every compliment and comment, even criticisms perhaps, before these medals and diplomas were handed down to us. A piece of metal and a piece of paper, could they make another Jose Rizal? Mahatma Gandhi? Or even Ludwig van Beethoven? Definitely, not! Yet there is always a possibility that one or two of these 60 graduates can be like them or be greater than them.

Next semester we would be studying and taking up different courses in different colleges and universities; from Green and Gold to Maroon, Blue, Red or else Black, Gold, White. The next level is eventually more difficult but still is not the hardest. We must not be afraid and just thank St. Paul School of Aparri who equipped us with all the necessary knowledge and virtues needed to win another battle. I say it is not the hardest for the hardest level in life is when you are already earning money to support a family. This institution has prepared us for this final level, inculcating into our innocent minds that whenever we stand on a high platform we must keep our head facing down and never forget the fact that before we got there we were once on the ground.

Graduation day is also a day of gratitude. It is but proper to thank all those who have played their role in making up our short story.

First and foremost, I would like to thank you dear parents for the opportunity to study in the No.1 provider of Quality Catholic Education in the Northeastern part of Cagayan. Thank you for the very day or night that you decided to work on a special biological process to conceive a new baby into the wombs of your wives. Thank you for taking into consideration all the ironic attitudes we staged on the early years of our lives. Thank you for everything, especially the incomparable love you are giving us.

To the SPC Sisters, thank you dear Sisters for understanding us. We tried our best to make you happy and be proud of us. We hope that you will consider our batch as one of the good ones. May the Holy Spirit be with you to help you continue your mission here.

To our mentors, I am glad that you did not reach your elastic limit. Your wrinkles alone proved to us that your profession is quite hard. Thank you for the unending support on all our endeavors. We hope to see you after five years when we finally landed on a specific job. The strong gravitational attraction between us and this school will keep us going back and say ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you who molded us. Ma’am Rona, I thank you for being a shoulder to cry on. May your decisions be for the best. Just keep on praying. I know that one day they will appreciate all our sacrifices especially what we have done which they refer to as “ordinary and little achievements.” Again, to all the teachers, thank you.

To the non-academic personnel: Ate Aida, Ate Mary Ann, Kuya Edmund, Kuya Nelson, Kuya Rey, Kuya Erol, and our three security guards together with Nurse Dianne, Ma’am Nida, Ma’am Roldan and Ma’am Sol, you are special contributors to our success. We thank you for the services you unceasingly offered which made our stay in St. Paul School worthwhile.

To my older sister Regine and Ate Aurea who are both in UST by this time, thank you for inspiring me to just go on with the race. Ate Regine, I now know how hard it is to study here. The experiences you shared gave me distinct ideas on how to go about every individual in this school. You are right. Some tried their best to put my face in the mud but their plans did not work out. I stood mightier.

And to my parents, Mom and Dad thank you for everything. You knew the sacrifices I needed to do and the temptations I needed to resist. This is it! I graduated Valedictorian. Our long lost dream became a reality. My fight was tough. But without you here beside me made it tougher. You urged me to be strong and so I did. You are miles away from us to work. I did not complain because I know you are doing that painful sacrifice to make our lives better. I am not asking anything from you or even let you buy things for me. It is because I know that a single cent costs a thousand drop of sweat. This is my birthday and anniversary gift to the both of you.

Batch mates, I will truly miss our craziness, laziness and also the kilig and sunog kilay moments. We are like Lego pieces. We are of different shapes, sizes and colors. But even though we have physical differences we are classified as one. Cecilians, I’m gonna miss our more than 5 minute morning worship. I will miss all those long prayers and Bible passages that we pray and read every morning. But what I’m gonna miss the most are the moments wherein we get to bond with each other. I hope that you will be able to reach your dreams and pursue your ambitions in life. Thank you for cheering me up during the times when I feel I couldn’t make it. You have made my last year in SPSA memorable.

Finally, to the Creator – I thank you Lord for keeping my faith strong and giving me people like Fr. Diddi who let me realize the importance of claiming and not just dreaming. Thank you for giving me this life, this school, and everything that I am. Whatever and whoever I may be in the future, be it for your glory!

To all of you present in this commencement program, thank you for coming. You have just witnessed one of the important occasions in our lives. Your presence made it more special. God bless you and your families.

One more thing batch mates do not stop believing. We are notes and we make up a harmonious song of love and unity. We are not fortune-tellers, not even prophets, who could read palms and predict what will happen in the forthcoming years. We do not know what lies ahead in our future. But never forget that we are the composers of our lives. Whatever we think and do now will reflect to who we will be later. Make your song – your life – a masterpiece!

Caritas Christi Urget Nos! Thank you and Congratulations to all of us! (Reiner Lorenzo J. Tamayo)


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