A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by an old schoolmate, now the Guidance Counselor of St. Mary’s Academy of Sta. Ana, Manila, to give the inspirational message to the graduating high school students. It was a surprise since it was only three days before the Friday graduation. I was scheduled to speak next 2015 but something came up and this year’s speaker couldn’t make it.
But like any true ‘Marian’ graduate, I agreed. This year’s theme was “Demonstrating the Filipino’s Resiliency and Selfless Service”. With only two days to prepare, I was anxious at first but I believe everything happens for a purpose. I’ve always imagined being able to speak before my Alma Mater but I thought the invitation four years ago at a Career Talk was it.
I was happy about the invitation and I felt God wanted me to send a message and inspire the youth. Fifteen years have passed and a lot of things have happened to me. Preparing for my speech turned out to be a good way for me to reflect on my successes, my failures, and how God worked in my life. My hours of preparation turned out to be yet another ‘worship time’.
I prayed really hard as I prepared for this that God may be glorified and that His light will shine through me.
I received praise for the speech. The Directress and my old teachers commended me as well but the best I heard were from my husband when he said “I’m so proud of you” as I came down from the stage.
Allow me to share the speech I prepared. It’s a bit long, took me 17 minutes to deliver it, so I deleted a few sentences and paragraphs. Edited for reading. Hopefully you won’t get bored. May you be blessed.
No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.
(1 Corinthians 2:7, NLT)
I graduated high school, stood on this same stage, delivered my Valedictory speech 15 years ago. I could still vividly remember that day, March 25, 1999, when I shared a short speech, choked on the part when I had to thank my parents who have always been there since the day I was born — I said those words exactly.
Students of St. Mary’s Academy of Sta. Ana class of 2014, 15 years ago I sat there with tears in my eyes, thinking “this is it”. It’s over. Another chapter is about to start a couple of months from now. Right then, I was scared. Will I become that CPA Accountant I want to be? Will I become successful? How am I going to survive college? Will I survive UP? I had so many questions. Looking back, most of them, have been answered. I did survive college. I didn’t become the CPA Accountant and newscaster like I planned but I am living the life God has planned for me.
I wonder what your valedictorian right now is thinking. I guess she’s thinking “Will I still be on Top of the class when I get to college?” I can’t answer your questions right now but I want to tell you…..
You’re No. 1 right now but you will not always be.
I’m not saying this to discourage you, but I want you and the rest of your class to know that your present, which will be your past a few months from now, doesn’t dictate your future. Your success in the future will depend on hard work, grace, and a lot of faith.
You’re no. 1 but that’s not just it. You can still be the no. 1 among all the top students when you get to college or when you finally enter the corporate world.
But when you get to college, you’ll have to start from scratch. You will start from the beginning again so be humble. Practice true humility. That is, thinking of yourself not above others, so you can be ready to serve your family, your church, your community— be selfless. Continue reading A Message to Inspire