My eldest sister, Maritez, called me the previous day asking me to write a valedictory address for her second child, Gigi, who will be graduating Valedictorian from grade school. It was such a great moment for me. Suddenly I was a proud uncle, I believe she feels double the joy and pride I felt. Hearing my nephews’ and nieces’ accomplishments and achievements are always inspiring. It feels like I’m showered with so much positive energies, and I feel a certain feeling of high every time.
And then, I begun the composition of the speech in my mind that brought me back to the sweet memories of my early education from elementary days. It all became fresh again. All the elements came back, and I was there when it happened and the speech I wrote should have been the message I told my classmates back then, only I was not the valedictorian.
My Education: My Contribution To The Future
A Valedictory Address : Angelie Jamora Escrupulo
I arrive today to this moment, standing facing a new frontier. Before this moment pass me by, let me take each detail, each piece of memories, each body of thoughts, the knowledge, the wisdom, the important life’s lessons, all the gifts and blessings that this moment is giving me so I could take them with me to my travel to the future.
My dear classmates, are you taking the memories like me?
Do you still remember the first time we stepped to the grounds of this school, the Elementary School we will forever carry wherever the future takes us from here. Did you keep our shared laughters? The laughter forever sweet in our memories. Engrave them in your hearts, they are the laughter so pure we could always go back whenever we face the bitter taste of life that we are sure to stumble upon as we face the consequences of growing. Value the friendship we built here, they hold the purest elements of camaraderie and partnership that we need as we befriend the world.
Feel the comfort of the chairs where you are seated now, the floor where your feet are rested, breath the air, the scent of our dear school ~
If you could hold the hands of our classmates beside you, feel that gentle yet strong grip . . . .
(Note : Invite everybody at this point to hold hands and please allow some time for seatmates to enjoy the moment)
The memory of their grips will remind us that we will be forever safe wherever our futures would take us when we leave this grounds and get out of the gates of this campus that will forever hold the moments when we took our baby steps taking in the knowledge that helped form the young muscles of our minds so we would be ready.
Listen to the sounds of triumph that we all hear at this moment.
Capture all the elements that we could possibly get from here -
The scents of our notepads and erasers, of our bags, of the pencils and scented pens, when we were just learning to form the first letters, write our first words and draw our first flowers.
The many rains that showered us in our way to school and back home, and its sound as the rainfalls hit the roof of our classroom when we were just learning to count and pronounce our ABC’s
The sunlights that lit our faces, the sunshine that’s forever bright in our memories, and will forever remind us of the first exercise and dance steps we learn from our PE.
The feel of our desk, the colors of our classroom, the taste of the hundred snacks we shared.
Memorize the faces that helped pave the way for us to arrive to this victory, that made our first triumphs possible :
Our parents ~ God’s angels that built our homes and sent us to school.
Our families that supported us so we learn the basic lessons of how it is to stand and to take steps in our first walk in our journeys with life.
Our classmates and friends, who made us feel for the first time that we belong outside our homes in the safety of their company.
Our dear Teachers, our second parents in school, who fed us with all the knowledge every step of the way, from kindergarten, to grade one, to grade six, and now that this journey is about to end, as we are about to take a leap to next stage. We fear not because we are ready, they prepared us for this, to face the many battles we will face as we step to the roads to our future. Remember their voices that equipped us with the weapons and armour, these are the voices that will remind us of the power of knowledge they ingrained our young minds.
Remember our dear Principal, who helped us build our backbones in education, wherever the paths of the academe will take us, we would always trace back our beginnings from here. We should always be grateful to our principal for designing and sending us the most basic and complete, yet non-complicated map so we would not get lost no matter how blurry the visibilities of the terrains in the forest, and deserts, and jungles, and ocean, and prairies, and mountains, and skyscrapers of the cities of whatever profession that we will fly in our pursuits for knowledge to make the difference and make our corners of the world a better place to live.
We hold in our minds that map and if we uphold what we have learned, we will be sure to reach our destinations safe.
Remember that our parents, our teachers, our principal are once like you and I, too. They have arrived to where they are right now, and we their children, their pupils and the knowledge that they nourished us are their contribution to the the future they only thought about when they were our age dreaming about this very moment where we are now. Our triumphs and our achievements are their victories, too.
Let us thank them with our prayers, may our little voices would reach God’s ears to bless them. Let us pay them tribute and pass on their kindness by becoming the best versions of ourselves that they wanted all of us to become, nothing less. Wherever our journeys will take us, we will always trace our roots in this grounds, we are always anchored in their arms, in their hearts. Like kites we are safe in our flights because our strings are in the safety of their caring hands.
Let me read to you a poem written by my uncle, let this poem be my message to everybody who once were children, too.
Child Once, Too
Let the child run free, uphills or down plains
Like a gazelle that gallops in prairies.
Let him swim in lakes, bathe in rains
And coquette like the mystical fairies.
Censor him not for he is free from stains
Trust not the filthy mind of the gentries.
Free the child from the restraining chains
And from the customs’ narrow boundaries.
Let him be for his generations’ gains ~
Allow the children to weave their stories.
And now, as we celebrate this milestones in our young life, let us celebrate this moment with grateful hearts. Our graduation today is our contribution to the future – from the seeds that we are now, will spring bright citizens of our country that will help sustain and make the difference. We will be taking different highways from this little road, we will explore the wide skies from this runway as we take off, we will reach distant shores as we leave this harbour of our elementary school as proud graduates ready to help build the future for the generations to come.
For our friends, until we meet again.
For our guest of honor, thank you for the inspiration, may our little victory will serve as an inspiration for you, too, that you could take and share the next time you are invited to speak for a graduation ceremony.
For our Teachers and Principal, this is not goodbye, this is just asking your permission, and for your blessings as we take off – please wish us well.
For our parents and family, we offer to you our first accomplishment of the many triumphs and honors we will bring home from now.
For my dear classmates, let us open our minds and our hearts for growth. The future promises unlimited possibilities that are in our hands and are for us to seize and to hold. Always take the bright routes to the future, when the roads are seem dark in some days, take refuge and find the guidance of the little lamp post of the memories from this moment and we will never get lost.
Let us thank God for this moment. Let us thank Him for all the people, the extension of His love, His angels that He sent to make sure all that we have now and our future will happen. It is written.
And when we reach our destinations please let us not forget to look back and send signals to our dear school, that we have reached our destinations and that we have arrived.