March 24, 2012
Honored Guests, Teachers, Parents, Students, Friends, and Graduates:
Good morning to all of you! Welcome to our fifty-second commencement exercises. Today we pay tribute to our seniors by acknowledging all the hard work that they have done for the school. Because they do everything with heart, these seniors are natural standouts. They have brought us much honor by winning various academic competitions, particularly in math and economics. They have displayed confident and effective leadership by assuming key roles in the student council, the newsletter, all our sports teams, and our new PULSE program. They were instrumental to the success of all the special events held in school. But perhaps even more impressive than the brilliance they have displayed during these special occasions is the inspiration they elicit every day from the way they have shown love, respect, and care for their teachers, the school staff, and fellow Uneans. Thank you, Batch 2012, for living up to the idea of what seniors should be, for showing to everyone that Uneans value not only accomplishments but also relationships.
For all that you are, seniors, we will try to give you the best sendoff that we can. But before you go, let me leave you with a few words of counsel. Adlai Stevenson, a great American orator and statesman, once told college graduates the same thing I want to tell you now, and that is “When you leave here, don’t forget why you came.” To simply think of today as the day you leave Uno defeats the very idea of graduation. You must rather think of today as the culmination of the Unean education you have worked so hard to attain. You are obligated not only to remember the essence of this education but more importantly to live it out every day. On your shoulders lies the fulfillment of the Unean ideals. Therefore, you must at all cost continue to pursue excellence in every aspect of your life, in your studies, in your future careers, and most importantly, in the development of your character.
Much has been said about excellence, that it is an attitude and a habit. More than these, excellence is going the extra mile and striving for what is noble. A runner sometimes wins a race by a fraction of a second. The person who goes beyond what is merely asked of him will always do better that one who simply fulfills his responsibility. Be proactive planners and visionaries who dream big and work to benefit the community instead of reactive followers and crammers who churn in mediocre work simply to meet deadlines. The notion that Uneans are crammers who do well is a myth that should be dispelled. A passing mark received on account of a fluke or the teacher’s mercy is nothing much to be proud of. Take pride instead of accomplishments that are the results of hard work and are true reflections of excellence. Lastly, do not measure success just by the high grades or titles you achieve or by the amount of money that you make. Measure success instead by the number of lives that you affect positively. Let the Unean values of love and charity be your constant guide in whatever road you choose to take.
Now go in the direction of your dreams and be the great men and women you are meant to be!