Thursday, May 10, 2018

Message to the Graduates

I was asked to deliver a message to my daughter's graduating class and thought it's good to publish it here so Zoe will remember my thoughts on this very special day.

Grade 6 Batch 2018 Graduation – MESSAGE TO THE GRADUATES                                   

To the Management Committee, Board of Trustees, dear teachers, proud parents, honored guests, friends and family and, above all, graduates, good morning.

It is my honor to be in front of you as I speak on behalf of the parents present here today. Allow me please to begin with this quote – “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” The person who said this was a man who grew up in a tiny village and was the first member of his family to attend school. His father died when he was young but he was later on adopted by a regent so he was able to continue his education.

He spent 27 years in prison for trying to overthrow the pro-apartheid government. After he left prison, he worked to achieve human rights and a better future for everyone in his country.  He was a defiance symbol of how one man can change the world and make a difference. He moved the world when he became the first Black president in a part of the world engulfed by division. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for his work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa. Now, there’s a global holiday in his honor. Every year on July 18 (his birthday), the world celebrates his legacy and promotes his example for community service. His name was Nelson Mandela.

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

Now why am I bringing up education and changing the world today? Because today, dear graduates, as we all celebrate your success and achievement, moving up to the next level, Grade 6 Class of 2018, you must realize that you have in your hands, through your education, the power to pursue your dreams and make the place within your family, your neighborhood, your nation, the world, a better place to live at. It may not be evident now that you just seem to be another teenage girl who is just trying to figure herself out and trying to fit in. Simple and lowly as you may seem to see yourself, with what you are learn at home, in school and in the environment you move around with, you can be a present-day Nelson Mandela. When you show that kind service for others, that responsibility, honesty, that true friendship with your classmates, that integrity that is brought to life by your upright decisions: you make an impact to the world. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be in small things, just like waking up on the dot every single day or finishing your lunch as a courtesy to the one who prepared it. Those acts can still be big depending on how much love you put into it. 

In your own teenage language, you may be thinking – “OMG”, “IDK”, or “this is so boring” (for those who don’t know what IDK means, it means “I don’t know”. Yes, you may be right. Like many parents, we struggle in understanding you. But we know that between you and your smartphones or tablets, in-between your endless chats, PMs, DMs with your friends, K-pop convos, or as we dare peek into your tweets or IG posts or in the endless near hieroglyphic scroll of emojis you use on a daily basis, we know, your Mommies and Daddies know, that you can discern this. Amidst all the social media and technology surrounding you and in a language that you guys only understand, yes, bit by bit, you can change the world for the better! And you will learn with time and experience.

My dear girls, are all growing up to be fine young adults and your graduation today is a testimony of the many wondrous things you can achieve. The credit to be given is not just for your parents or your teachers but it is truly and mostly yours. Your achievement today is because you trusted your parents, your teachers and your school to guide you as you gave your personal best effort. You have prayed and asked for the grace and the strength from God to tackle each challenge day in and day out and you conquered it. The results may differ from one person to another, for example, grades may differ from student to student, someone may get higher scores than the other, someone may get the first place or award and not the other, but you know that you tried your best in your studies and that is enough.  That is enough because this is not a competition between you and the one sitting beside you. This is a competition between you and own self. Let every new day bring out a better version of yourself. Besides, success is not measured by how many mistakes you’ve avoided but by how you used your mistakes, many as they are, to be a better person. We have nothing to lose by avoiding failures or risking rejection. You either achieve your goals or get smarter.

To my co-parents, keep being that lifelong voice of conscience that will speak to your child’s heart and memory. Later on, when these girls have grown up, for the most part, what they will remember are not the material things we provided them (not in the laptops or cellphones who have given to them) or what we have verbally preached to them but what we have shown to them, how we made them feel and in the end what we have considered as important in this world and beyond: our values and beliefs. So we keep trying. Meantime, we need to understand and accept them as they are. Let’s encourage them along the interest and path of their choosing, (i.e. K-Pop, dramas, bands) J (as long as it’s within moral boundaries) even when you’re not quite into it, don’t understand it or don’t quite agree with it. Because this is love. And this is how we make our relationship with them stronger.

My girls, I also just want to emphasize today that your graduation journey would not have been possible without the support of so many people. I would like to thank all your dedicated teachers, especially to your Class Adviser, your mentors, Level Coordinator, Coordinator for Personnel Formation, the school administration and staff who stood by your side and made Rosehill a happy home away from home. I would like to particularly thank Ms. GR for her 17 years of service and dedication to the RH family. Thank you for all the encouragement you have given our daughters. Your constant smile and words of affirmation have made a big difference and has helped them make it through this journey. We wish you all the best in your new assignment and all hope for your good health and success. We also welcome Ms. TM, incoming Executive Director. On behalf of the family of today’s graduating class, we offer our support to you especially for our future endeavors in the school. 

To end, I would like to again say to the girls that on behalf of your parents and whole family, congratulations! Another #achievementunlocked. We are all so proud of you and we look forward to seeing what else you achieve as you move to the next level. Continue to concentrate on your studies, transforming into a better version of yourselves and changing the world in your own little way, one day at a time.

Thank you.


*masked all names to maintain their privacy


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