2017 Graduation Speech
Sabay-Sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunland na Kinabukasan
(2017 Graduation Speech Manuscript)
Call me a graduate in a nonsensical fashion, and I will strip off this ceremonial robe, and simply walk out, for the idea of graduation devoid of sense classically implies a good riddance of the daunting EOP recitation in our English class, a surcease of the hundred-page ink-draining notes in Filipino, and a denouement of a treasure-hunt drama in Math (to find the value of x, just because our teacher could not move on from his own past).
Call me then an educated young man. Yes, an educated young man, for I have, by the changing winds and shifting sands, been skillfully (and perhaps, fashionably) redesigned and reprogrammed by the best minds and hearts of this academe. I have been reprogrammed, so updated that I fully understand the change that has yet to start with me.
My dear teachers, Principal X, distinguished guests, parents (my sponsors), and the young educated recruits, my classmates and batch, good morning.
Realistically, this culmination could be nothing more than a semi-formal sharing of novel insights, and an interim happiness brought by another milestone of achievement on the part of our sponsors, our parents may be. Well, the latter, I suppose, was already realized right when the list was released a week ago. So I have the privilege to satisfy you with the first as I am set to discuss three important things— change, character, and contribution.
Change, as hyperlinked hashtags say, is coming. The question lies not on whether it has really come for a few months now, but on our capacity to embrace or adopt what benefits it has to offer. Needless to emphasize the cliché, as it runs now in your heads, change equates to a range of dramatic to drastic transformative attempts that keep on knocking on our walls of conservativeness and complacency. Thanks to the millennials, a cohort of risk takers so tolerant of these intrusions, and better identified by their self-promotion and fostering of connections through online media.
Silently at a corner, I have come to observe that most people around have been in haste, however remained unmindful of their real causes. I would like to emphasize the qualifier that I used or maybe a second thought, because as of this moment, a Facebook page promoting financial literacy has already more than one point five million page likes and half a million [Filipino people] have been talking about this. Likewise, more and more young professionals have been inquisitive about investments and retirements. With these, I must say that we are advancing toward the age of financial literacy, thus an evidence of heuristic targets progressively redefined.
In the academe, educators have been incessantly upgrading their skills and instructional strategies. A rookie in the profession, for instance, has decided to reserve his Saturdays for MA classes; a veteran, as the entire school tags her, has become a tech icon in her class; a language teacher has shifted from grammar prescriptivism to descriptivist approach; and, our physical fitness coach has initiated a five-minute hip hop Wednesday morning routine. Change has really come not just in politics then.
Behind the fifty-shaded gray curtain of change comes the issue of character. We have always been misunderstood, sometimes stigmatized, as the devil-may-care partners. Yes, we may be at times. Have we totally changed appallingly? Inarguably, the web has promised us a vast array of information, hacks and shortcuts to save time and do things in sprint, avenues for self and blatant expressions, actually even multi-sided pieces of advice. So we resort to these privileges, however with critical thinking.
I do not want to sound rude, but just a request — get used to it!
Our thinking could have been evolving from being idealist to realist and pragmatic; however, we remain conservative with our Filipino values and cultural identities. We still uphold the trademark heart of a Filipino. We may have expanded and keep on expanding our networks through the horizons, but we keep our family ties even stronger. We may have failed to communicate and clarify our priorities, but we trust more than anything else our capacity to compensate. We may have become self-centered and covert with our intentions and convictions, but such could be our implicit attempt towards rectifying the mistakes of the past.
Tell me now, what contribution is demanded of us? Don’t get offended. Frankly speaking, one of the least examined culture-related problems confronting the issue of improving the quality of life among most Filipino families is the conveyance of responsibilities and expectations across generations. We, the younger ones have been unfortunately taken as investments by the former generation, and once taking over, must pay back for the profits of such. Is that what we are really demanded of?
With this year’s theme “Sabay-Sabay na Hakbang Tungo sa Maunland na Kinabukasan,” perhaps it is the time that we think and work things out together. What we want is involvement, a fair and regarded share in nation building. We can learn from each other.
Inspiring stories about young people who have found their passion have been surfacing on social media. At their youngness, two girls have been earning thousands of pesos in uploading their video reviews of the latest kiddie toys in the market. A kid blogger, as regarded by many, has successfully established his micro-SEO company. Perhaps, we can start with these stories and discover how generation gaps are bridged together.
True enough, we are now faced with greater challenges and expectations, but with harmony in adopting change, understanding how character matters, and developing a culture of conscious contribution, we advance each step toward a progressive future. As a parting gift, Henry Ford once said, and I requote, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; and, working together is a success.”
Download the MS Word File of the Speech: 2017 Graduation Speech