SALUTATORY ADDRESS Kristine Ann Villanueva To our outstanding guest-speaker, Dr. Florentina R. Lizano, firm yet caring director Mr. Antonio Punzalan, ever-calm and patient directress Mrs. Angelita Punzalan, dynamic principal Mrs. Joy Mercado, kind and warm faculty and staff, ever-supportive parents, gratified fellow graduates, Good Evening! A Chinese Proverb goes : To get through the hardest journey, we need to take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping. First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was very helpful along this step in my journey, this step called high school life.
I would like to thank ADT Montessori School, my parents, relatives, and friends, you are the reason why I am here tonight, standing in front of you with much honour and humility. I am grateful for this moment. Second, may I share with you this step in my journey, high school life. As the only girl and the eldest in the family and a stereotyped achiever since childhood, there were a lot of expectations from me. Being the eldest isn’t that easy. You have no ‘ate’ or ‘kuya’ to rely on and you have to handle a lot of pressure at times in school and at home.
I always thought an eldest needed to be very careful with her words and actions as people expect you to be flawless. You have to perform well in all the activities given, always give your best and be competitive because that is what’s expected. I thought I was born to comply with what everyone wanted. In short, I have to please everyone almost at all times. And because of that, I have come to believe that I can stand all by myself and live only for the awards. So I missed out the chance to enjoy life with the people around me; to experience a life other than academics and competitions.
It did get kind of tiring to spend life doing those things. But when I stepped at ADT, I found the better meaning of achievement and learned the greater value of those around me. It was in the month of June 2008 that I first set foot upon this school. I was that girl still stuck with that belief and desire to just ace everything. I had a hard time dealing with others because of that. But as I spent my days being a student here, I slowly transformed. I slowly became a stronger person; open with the values that life and the people around was imparting to me.
A girl ready to face another step in her journey. Who would have known that the days would go by so fast? The next thing I knew I am already in fourth year. I can still remember the days that we had a hard time adjusting to the new system. I can never forget the days too when all of us would have to rush for the deadline of our projects and do all the things we never expected we could do. We have learned to multi-task and do it in short periods of time with much effort and grace. Here I have learned to have grace even under pressure.
There had been moments that tested my strength and almost made me want to drop to my knees and quit; times that I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and say “I give up”, because I thought the problems would never be solved. But I was wrong; there were people around me I hadn’t expected to help who picked me up whenever I fell.
The times that I lost or didn’t reach the top when I knew I really gave my best shot to win but still failed. The time when I hadn’t passed at the school I was dreaming of. If we really want to, we really need to make a way and give more: 99% perspiration and 1 % inspiration as what Albert Einstein has said. Fourth year high school was the greatest part of my high school life. Not only because of the relationships built but also the changes it has brought me. I was made to realize that I cannot have everything and win every time.
It had reminded me that I still have to go through failures and downfalls, be hurt and learn with each pain I experience. What is a life full of happiness given right away, anyway? We are given challenges for us to do better and see the bright side despite problems; to find happiness despite tears and to never quit instead continue and never give up. Take the next step. So much has happened throughout this year. It was just like yesterday when we’d laugh at all the jokes thrown, play all the games we wanted and make crazy experiences to remember.
It was just like yesterday when we all needed to cram for our projects and review at the same time for our finals. It was just like yesterday when we were just all together through thick and thin. Now here we are, dressed in our school uniform that we had learned to love, topped with the toga signifying our graduation—the end of our high school days. We just took that step. Batch mates, ito na! It’s the finish line of our highschool days; the starting line of our college life.
We will be making decisions that may or may not lead us to the fulfillment of the unforgettable class prophecy. Graduation day has finally come; the day we had all been waiting for all these years. After this night, everything might change; everything may not seem the way they used to be. We’ll be moving on to the next chapter of our journeys. Graduation brings mixed feelings. We are happy our hardships will be recognized and awarded with a diploma or medals. We are happy because finally, we are off to the next level. But at the same time, we are sad.
We are sad for the fact that we are going to say goodbye to the people we have learned to love; to the people who have once made us happy and feel invincible; to the people we should be thankful for. To my Alma Mater, thank you for being the medium of my transformation. Thank you for providing excellent teachers to mould us, nurturing our talents and training us to be wholesome citizens. To my family, especially my beloved grandparents and Tita, thank you for giving me the support I need; for being a parent giving advises and moral support.
For fulfilling whatever is missing and for being there whenever I am in need. You have been such good role models who I can look up to and follow the footsteps as I grow. At the same time, you are my biggest fans, cheering for me and telling me always: “You can do it. ” To my parents, who inspired me in different ways and gave me the appetite to pursue and give my best in everything in terms of studies, thank you for guiding me and correcting me whenever I go astray and made mistakes. Thank you for being so patient and forgiving for all the times I have my shortcomings.
Though we have hard times, always remember that I love you and no matter what, even years may pass, even the world turns upside-down, you would always be my parents who will always have a big space in my heart. To all our adorable teachers present here, thank you for not only teaching, but forming us to become better persons and giving us lessons in life as ‘baon’ we can use in college. Mind you, the “baon” are lessons, and not 50 Million pesos. Though we had hard times, you, our teachers, have been contributors of whatever knowledge and convictions we uphold today.
Thank you for investing and believing in us. To my mentor, Ms. Jayla Dela Cruz, thank you for improving my skills in singing and Ms. Ma. Aurene Castillejos, thank you for sharing with us the fun while we were in your care. And last but not the least, to our dearest advisers, who had been mothers and friends to all of us, thank you for molding us to persons who are ready for college. To my friends, a big thanks to all of you. You have played a very big part in my life. Without any blood relations, you have been a family to me.
First buds, Cyra and Maegan, Sisters-like Marygel, Clarissa, Nicole and Rizza, guide-givers Donna and Yayin, partner in crime and in food trip Von, friend who had been an asylum, Paul Joseph, and to those I haven’t mentioned, you know who you are. You have been there during the comedy and drama of my life. You were the ones who joined me whenever I go talkative, silly, dramatic, or funny. Thank you for accepting me for who I am and teaching me to accept things and be thankful for whatever I have. To be contented but still, continue and strive hard to reach for something better.
My fellow graduates, thank you for sharing a part of your high school life with me in different ways. Each one of you is special and unforgettable to me. Each one has a story that I can remember and treasure even as I go on. All of you and what we had is already tattoed in my heart leaving a permanent mark. To all whom I may have offended unconsciously, my sincere apologies. Four years ago, I was also standing on stage and giving a speech. A valedictorian, embracing the moment where the spotlight and the people are all focused on me.
Today, I stand here as a Salutatorian, still enjoying the moment of recognition, even with a different standing. Though I have not attained the highest honor this time, I carry with me the greatest awards I have besides the tangible medal or certificates. These are the friends I have made, the lessons I have learned and the memories I have collected. I realized that success is not all about the medals or the certificates given to you. But it is also the honour and fulfilment you have as a person. I realized that life is not all about competitions. True, life is a jungle as what all grown ups have said.
There are some things or circumstances which are deceiving and these may try to pull you down, but what’s important is we have been equipped to stand strong and firm and stick for what we think is right and just. As we can all see, we are living in a community full of lies and corruption. From the interviews of some government officials on TV, the platforms made by candidates for election, the justice system in our country, the way the news is delivered by the media, up to the simple lies one tells you that can make you believe and be swerved from the truth. But, do we let this system sway us too?
May we not get influenced by the negative things around us. May the values that ADT has given us be etched in our mind and may we have ourselves all gathered up to stand up and fight for what we think is right. Some of the best things that ADT has given me are the people I met along the way and the unforgettable experiences. Experiences that have brought me to what I am and have at this moment. Whether these experiences have been good or bad, I do not regret any of them because they all touched my heart and my mind. I have learned well and will bring these along with me as I go on with life.
I have come to the conclusion that there would always be things that might bring us down, but we have to stand up and pursue our lives with all the courage and faith we have garnered and earned from the people around us. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for being here tonight and for being so kind listening all throughout. As for my fellow graduates, I wish you all the best of luck in your lives and I hope you always live in righteousness and always remember the honor of being truthful. Onwards ADT graduates! May our learnings and experiences guide us in the next step of our journey. Good evening to all, Thank You and God Bless!