Today is a happy day for you. Why? Because tomorrow you will have no more classes. Summer vacation has begun. Starting tomorrow, you will not have to worry about homework and tests for a long time. That is reason enough to be happy.
Two months from now, though, you will be moving to that other school, much bigger than this one, not too far from here. You will begin another round of classes, and homework, and tests. You will be going to high school. After high school you will have another graduation like this one. You will be wearing the same funny hats, and the same funny clothes you are wearing now.
I am standing here in front of you to tell you something which you may find useful in your life. You will not be given a test to find out if you remember what I will be telling you. So, relax lang. And see whether what I am telling you is to your liking.
I have three things to tell you.
The first is this:
Have a dream and make that dream come true.
I was like you in grade six, here in Ramon Magsaysay Central Elementary School, when I received a gift that set me dreaming. It was Miss Mansueta Malunar who gave me that gift. The gift was a “gavel”, the wooden hammer which a judge uses when he hears a case in court. I asked Miss Malunar later why she gave me a “gavel”. And she said that she had a strong feeling I would become a judge.
That set me dreaming. I must have done something towards making that dream come true because, though I am not a judge now, I have become a lawyer. You need to be a lawyer first before you can be a judge. So, you might say, I could be on my way to becoming a judge. I am closer today to making my dream come true than I was the day Miss Malunar gave me the “gavel”.
You cannot just keep on “dreaming” without doing anything. If you do, you will be a “day-dreamer”! Your dreams will master you, instead of you being the master of your dreams and making them come true.
The second thing I want to tell you is this:
You succeed only if you try. Failure delays, but it does not prevent, success.
After graduating from high school, I studied to become an accountant. After four years, I graduated. I studied hard and really prepared for the four days of examination for Certified Public Accountants or CPA’s. But when the results came out, I did not find my name among those who passed. I failed. And I cried and cried, and I thought nothing could console me.
But with the support of my parents, the encouragement of friends, I was able to collect myself. I studied again and prepared for the CPA exams. This time I re-doubled my efforts. I also prayed a lot to God for His help. When the results came out, I was in heaven. I passed. I said to myself: “I passed because I kept on trying. Success is won by those who do not give up but keep on trying. Failure merely delays success. Failure does not prevent success!”
The third thing I want to tell you is this:
Parents and family are your best friends.
You may have friends you can laugh with louder than when you are with your parents. You may have friends you can talk to more closely and readily about anything under the sun than you could with your parents or family. You may have friends that you can borrow money more easily than obtaining extra money from your parents or family.
But they can never be your best friends. Your best friends are your parents and your family. They will never give you anything harmful, like drugs. They will never lead you to any harm like pressuring you to smoke cigarettes. They will always encourage you to look, try and do your best. It is your parents and family that always have your good at heart. They may become angry at you when you do something wrong, but they will always be on your side whenever you are in trouble.
That is what I learned throughout my years as a student, and all the way up to the present. Your parents’ love for you has no expiration date. Their love is always there and good up to the last drop. And we should never doubt that. Today, we should thank them for all that they do for us. We should also thank our teachers for their dedication to us their students. We must have a loving God full of goodness and warmth, because all of them come from God!
I wish you all the luck in the world.
Delivered by Atty. Charizma I. Cortez-Catague, C.P.A., R.E.B., R.E.A. during the 54th Commencement Exercises of Ramon Magsaysay Central Elementary School – Digos City, Davao del Sur – on March 29, 2012.