By Danilo V. Rogayan Jr.
Delivered during the 19th Commencement Exercises of Balaybay Resettlement
Elementary School, Purok 9, Balaybay Resettlement,
Castillejos, Zambales on March 21, 2013, 10:00 am.
Theme: Building the Nation’s Future Leaders
Through the K to 12 Basic Education Program
(K to 12 Basic Education Program Tungo sa
Paghuhubog ng mga Makabagong Lider ng Bansa)
Highly esteemed guests, Ma’am Florence Falsario, the school officer-in-charge, my former mentor, highly competent members of the faculty, some of them are my former mentors, the graduating batch of 2013, parents, friends, ladies and gentlemen… good morning!
I feel real joy and gladness at this very moment as I see you my dear graduates on this momentous occasion. Added to my delight are your parents, relatives and teachers who are also here today to celebrate with you this wonderful achievement. Each one of you should feel very proud of yourself for after six long years of struggles, sacrifices and efforts, you have come this far and reached the summit of the first ladder of your education – your elementary graduation. This is indeed a moment of jubilation, a moment of triumph and a moment of elation. My warmest congratulations to all of you and for this ladies and gentlemen, let’s give our graduates a rounding applause. Thanks everyone.
I was surprised one morning when I received a phone call. I was at the midst of cheering my students as they were playing volleyball because we were having our Sportsfest in Bacoor City. I didn’t answer the phone right away until I found myself talking to a former teacher. She was inviting me for a special event and she needed my response at that very moment. Without thinking too long, I gave my answer. And you know what my response was, yes! How could I say no to Ma’am Sylvia Cambe, a great mentor in my elementary years and who has contributed a lot for what I have become. And so, I am here today ladies and gentlemen on this occasion of your 19th Commencement Exercises as your guest speaker.
Today is a very special day not only for you, my dear graduates, but for me as well. After nine years of graduating here in my alma mater, Balaybay Resettlement Elementary School, I am here again to look back from where I came from, to reminisce the good memories, to give thanks to my former mentors and to express my gratitude to this institution which shaped me into a better student, a great leader, a responsible citizen and a value-laden individual.
I remembered so well that afternoon of April 2004 when I was sitting there together with my classmates. I tried my best to capture everything. I witnessed carefully all what was happening that day. I listened attentively to each word from the speakers because that day like today is a moment to cherish.
My dear graduates, today is a moment that will last a lifetime so I invite you to open your minds, your hearts and your ears and try your best to capture every moment. Each word can change your perspective, each story can inspire you and each gesture can provoke you to become better persons.
The theme of your commencement exercises, “Building the Nation’s Future Leaders through the K to 12 Basic Education Program,” is very timely and very appropriate as the Department of Education has started implementing the new educational reform across the country.
Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III said, “Naninindigan pa rin po tayo sa ipinangako nating pagbabago sa edukasyon: ang gawin itong sentral na estratehiya sa pamumuhunan sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman: ang mamamayang Pilipino. Sa K to 12, tiwala tayong mabibigyang-lakas si Juan dela Cruz upang mapaunlad—hindi lamang ang kanyang sarili at pamilya—kundi maging ang buong bansa.” The President is really supportive of this change in our basic education cycle and he believes that this will make a substantial difference in the lives of every Filipino and eventually transform our nation into a progressive one. I hope that we share the same point of view to that of the president.
Ang maghubog ng mga makabagong lider ng ating bansa ay hindi ganoon kadali. Mahirap, komplikado at nangangailangan ng mahabang proseso. Dala na rin ito marahil ng maraming pagbabago, hindi lamang sa ating klima, kundi maging ng mga pagbabago sa ating lipunan, sa teknolohiya at sa iba’t ibang larangan gaya ng ekonomiya, industriya, pulitika at ng ating edukasyon.
Isa sa mga pagbabago sa larangan ng edukasyon natin ngayon ang istandardisasyon ng bilang ng taon ng ating basic education. Mula sa sampung taon, ito ay ginawang 12 taon sa pamamagitan nga ng K+12 Basic Education Program. The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School) to provide su¬fficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Layunin ng programang ito na maging angkop ang ating sistema ng edukasyon sa pandaigdigang pamantayan. Dahil ang Pilipinas na lamang ang natatanging bansa sa Timog Silangang Asya at isa sa tatlong bansa sa daigdig na may sampung taon sa basic education. Sa pamamagitan po ng K to 12, kayong mga mag-aaral nating Pilipino ay makapagtataglay ng mga kasanayan, kahusayan at pananaw na angkop sa 21st Century.
Tandang-tanda ko pa ang mga unang taon ko rito sa BRES, punong-puno ako ng takot noon. Hindi ko alam kung kakayanin ko ang mga hamong naghihintay sa akin bilang isang mag-aaral dito. Lumipas ang mga taon at nakasanayan ko ang kapaligirang meron ang paaralang ito. Sa aking pananatili dito, natutunan kong makibahagi, makialam at makihalubilo sa aking mga kapwa mag-aaral at maging sa aking mga guro. And I have found myself joining several organizations such as the Pupil Government and the student publication, The Hills and Ang Parola. These organizations, with the guidance of my advisers, really helped me a lot in developing my skills in management and leadership and so my passion for campus journalism. Sa mga samahang ito, nakita ko sa sarili ko na kaya kong mamuno at kaya kong maging isang lider. Ang paaralang ito ang naging saksi kung paano ako lumago hindi lamang bilang isang simpleng mag-aaral kundi maging isang lider-estudyante at mamamahayag pangkampus. That’s why I am very grateful to all my former teachers, most of them are present today, who have inspired me to become what I am today.
Sa paaralan ding ito nakita ko ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon. Nasaksihan ko ang dedikasyon at pagtitiyaga ng aming mga guro upang kami ay matuto, hindi lamang ng mga konseptong meron ang mga aklat kundi ng mga aral ng buhay. I have learned in this institution that education is not all about acquiring knowledge and skills but more than that, education is about learning good values and good attitude.
My dear graduates, now that you are leaving the portals of our alma mater, may you keep all what you have learned especially the good values that you have obtained throughout your schooling. Isa yan sa mga sikreto ko sa patuloy na tagumpay na nakakamit ko, kinakailangan na bilang isang tao, hindi lamang tayo dapat magkaroon ng sapat na karunungan o talino kundi kinakailangan ding maganda ang ating kaasalan at pag-uugali. People will always look at us not only in our intellectual capacity or our achievements in life but in the beauty of our character. Always take note of that.
Hindi ko rin makakalimutan sa eskwelahang ito kung paano nagtiyaga ang aking mga guro na hubugin pa lalo ang aking kahusayan. I remembered those times that I was representing the school in several competitions in the district and in the division levels. It only proves my dear graduates that our school, even before, is aiming for greater excellence. Hindi basta-basta ang mga mga mag-aaral sa eskwelahang ito. Kahit maituturing na nasa bundok tayo, hinding-hindi tayo nagpapahuli sa mga mag-aaral na nagsipagtapos sa ibang eskwelahan. Kaya kapag tinanong kayo kung saan kayo nagtapos ng elementarya, ipagmalaki ninyo na kayo ay produkto ng BRES. You have to be proud of where you came from and you have to learn to learn how to look back.
I am proud to say that I am an alumnus of this institution. My mentors inspired me so much that I also like to become one of them. Yes, my dream of becoming a teacher started here because I really have a high regard for them. Teaching is indeed the noblest profession of all because our job is molding human persons.
Nagtapos ako bilang valedictorian sa eskwelahang ito at ito ay hindi madali para sa akin. Kaakibat ng parangal na ito ang mas mabigat na pananagutan na kailangang mas paghusayan ko pa ang aking pag-aaral. Lahat ng aking mga natutunan dito ang nagsilbing lakas ko sa pag-abot pa ng aking mga pangarap.
Just like what your commencement theme speaks about, education specifically the K to 12 Basic Education Program is believed to be an instrument of building the nation’s future leaders. And I could attest to this.
In October 2007, I entered into the realm of politics and because of the staunch support of the youth of this community, believing in my leadership potentials and my capacity to govern, I was elected as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairman. I know without strong education, I wouldn’t be able to make it. Alam ko na ang edukasyong meron ako ang nagbigay sa akin ng pagkakataon na pagsilbihan ang aking mga kapwa kabataan dito. At dahil sa pambihirang pagkakataong iyon, binigyang prayoridad ko sa aking administrasyon ang edukasyon. Isinulong namin kasama ng aking mga SK Kagawad ang proyektong Brigada Gamit Eskwela kung saan nagbigay kami ng mga libreng school supplies sa mga mag-aaral ng elementarya na hindi ganoon kariwasa sa buhay. Alam ko na sa maliit na paraang ito, we made a difference in the lives of these pupils. You, too, can make a difference, my dear graduates. You just have to believe in yourself that you can contribute something to others and to your community as a whole. There is no such thing as small when it comes to service.
After graduating from high school where I also received the highest honors, I pursued my College education with the help of several scholarship grants. Noong una, nag-aalinlangan ako kung magka-College pa ba ako, mahirap ang buhay, at naisip ko, bakit hindi na lang ako magtrabaho agad? Pero nanaig pa rin sa akin ang natutunan ko sa aking mga guro dito sa BRES, value your education. Kaya ipinagpatuloy ko ang aking pag-aaral hanggang sa makapagtapos ako ng kolehiyo with an Academic Excellence award. Gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, suki ako ng mga scholarship grants. Kaya kayo, mga mahal kong mga magsisipagtapos, if you think you have nothing, try to find a way to have something. Walang mawawala sa inyo kung susubok kayo. Sabi nga nila, failure is possible to those who never try. Malayo ang mararating ninyo kung pipiliin ninyo ang tamang daan. Huwag na huwag kayong patatalo sa mga tukso na meron ngayon ang ating lipunan. At your age, I know you know what I mean. Temptations are everywhere – illegal drugs, smoking, alcohol drinking, early pregnancy. I really hope you can resist all these temptations. You are the future leaders of our nation, my dear graduates, I hope you won’t fail us. Makakaasa ba kami sa inyo? Thank you.
I told you that you are the nation’s future leaders. Sa inyo magmumula ang mga susunod na lider ng iba’t ibang sektor ng ating lipunan. Hindi malayong mangyari na isa sa inyo ang susunod na presidente ng ating bansa o susunod na alkalde ng ating bayan. Walang makapagsasabi kung hindi kayo mismo. If you continue to value your education and imbibe good values, everything is possible. Because education is your passport for a better life. You just have to believe in the power of your dreams!
In a more personal note, I would like also to share with you my leadership journey as I see each one of you as successors of our present leaders. After my term in Sangguniang Kabataan, I did not stop from serving my fellows and my community. The challenge to serve is endless. That’s why, I joined and pioneered several organizations in both the academe and in the community. I worked with my fellow leaders and harmonized our efforts in spearheading worthwhile projects, programs and activities. My colleagues would always ask me, “Dan, hindi ka ba napapagod? Parang hindi uso sa iyo ang pahinga.” And this I always tell them, “Para sa Diyos at sa bayan, lagi tayong may oras.”
Hindi madali ang maging lider pero kung tapat at masaya tayo sa ginagawa natin, hindi tayo mapapagod. At lahat ng ating sakripisyo ay masusuklian sa tamang panahon. At tama nga ako dahil lahat ng aking mga paghihirap bilang lider-kabataan ay nasuklian nang maparangalan ako ng iba’t ibang organisasyon sa ating bansa kamakailan. These rewards I dedicate to all those who molded me into who I am today. Isa na rito ang Outstanding Ayala Young Leader of the Philippines noong February 2011, Outstanding Youth Leader Awardee for Environment noong August 2011, University Excellence in Student Achievement Award noong April 2012, isa sa Ten Outstanding Students of Central Luzon noong April 2012 at isa sa National Finalists ng Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines na ginanap sa Malacanang Palace noong August 2012. I owe all of these achievements of course to God, to my family, to my alma mater and to my mentors. I hope in the near future, my dear graduates, you would also find your trail and be successful in your chosen field.
I am now enjoying my niche as a teacher. And I know, even if I am still young in this profession, I could say that I am already successful because I am able to touch my students’ lives and inspire them to love their passion, to do things in excellence and to be the best they can be.
My dear graduates, you are now well-equipped in facing the next struggles that await you in your next academic journey. You will now be under the K to 12 program as Grade 7 and I believe that you are all ready now as this school has prepared you well enough with the help of course of your untiring and dedicated teachers and the guidance and support of your loving parents. Be grateful to all the people who have contributed in your success most especially to our Almighty God. Always keep reaching your stars as you keep your feet on the ground. Follow excellence and success will chase you. And most importantly, keep your faith and always put God in the center of all your endeavors!
Congratulations my dear graduates and Godspeed!