Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Graduation Speech to the 32nd Manito High School Commencement Exercises
April 10, 2003 / 4pm / MHS Grounds

>> Read diary

I would like to begin by acknowledging those of you, especially the MHS faculty and my mother who made it possible for me to be your guest speaker in your 32nd Commencement Exercises with the theme “Education for the Strong Filipino Family”. Honestly speaking, it is a very stressful opportunity of speaking at a graduation ceremony of the school that once shaped my destiny and contributed a lot into what I am now. I am very much stressed not only because it is my first-time to be a guest speaker but also because I only came from a simple family so I can’t talk much about how education can build a strong Filipino family. But, have your ever thought why our country – the Philippines is still lagged behind in terms of national development compared to other neighboring countries like Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand. According to a survey in Asia, Philippines ranked 4th in terms of population density, ranked 10th in terms of GDP, ranked 8th in terms of land area, ranked 8th in terms of agriculture, ranked 8th in terms of mobile phone users, ranked 2nd in terms of English literacy, and ranked 1st in unemployment rate.

According to an international study conducted by UNESCO, the three main factors that mainly contribute to national development are namely, education, discipline, and organization. You will notice that education is only one of the keys to national development. I can say that our country has been producing thousands of scientists, inventors, engineers, doctors, and teachers every year. Yes Philippines may have been an educated country. But…. do Philippines have a disciplined people? No! Do Philippines have a stable organization or government? No! So, it is expected to see the Philippines as a poor and undeveloped country unless these three components of national development are met.

January 25, 2003 was a very memorable day in my life. With the help of the Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3) of Japan, I was able to travel to Japan and the United States where I met fellow Asians and Americans alike. This travel gave me a chance to observe and evaluate what makes us Filipinos different from them. What do Japan and USA have in common? As I observed, these two countries are characterized as super powers due to their dynamic people, advanced technologies and active government. As we all know, Japan is only a very small country which is slightly larger than the Philippines. But then Japan ranks on top together with other geographically large countries like China, USA, Australia, and Russia among others. Let me tell you that the development of any country does not depend on how geographically large a country is. Like Japan, Philippines can also be a super power and a developed country provided that we possess the three main components such as proper education, disciplined people, and a stable government. Now, its up to you, batch 2003 graduates, to decide on what to do to contribute to the national development. If we really want our country to improve and progress, every one of us must really make a difference within ourselves and our family which is the foundation of our society.

But making a difference with your life is not as easy as you think. You maybe asking why I am telling you this! Let me tell you my personal experiences and show you how I made a difference…

I can remember when I was still in elementary, I once dreamed of being a teacher when I grew up. But now, I finished more than that. I realized that wishing or dreaming is a very powerful tool. Due to my desire to achieve a specific goal, I always bear it in mind and make sure that it is my focus. I even wrote my dreams in my diary, in my notebooks, and even say it silently and secretly to plants hoping they can hear me and spell a magic wand to make my dreams come true. My dreams have persuaded me to study harder and finish elementary and high school with flying colors. I really believe in the power of dreaming. “I once wished I can be a valedictorian in Manito High School”, and I did became a valedictorian in this school in 1995. “I once wished I can be a teacher”, and I did became more than I ever expected as an Electronics and Communications Engineer. “I once wished I can be a Cum Laude”, and I did became a cum laude in TUP Manila in 2000. “I once wished I can travel to other countries”, and I did crossed the Pacific and stepped into the Japanese and American soil last January 2003. How about you, what is your wish in your life?

Seven years ago, I was also like you feeling excited about receiving a high school diploma and awards in your graduation day. My graduation day then is a mixture of happiness and sadness. I realized that graduating in high school is not the end of your struggle. As I stepped into the stage to receive my diplomas and awards, I thought of how I can proceed to college considering that my family does not have the financial capability. So I prayed and prayed and prayed to God to help me. I said “If God really wants me to help my family; He would send me to college”. Ms. Binalla, my best Math teacher in MHS, gave me a scholarship application form from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Fortunately, I passed! We received a mail from DOST instructing me to enroll for a 5-year engineering course with all expenses shouldered by the government. I was then so happy and very thankful to God that he heard my prayers. Going to Manila, I was thinking of enrolling to Ateneo or La Salle University. But, it wasn’t that easy to enter those private universities because of very high tuition fees. I remember me and my mother went to La Salle University in Manila. When we entered the gate of the university, we were depressed by the very high tuition fee which my family doesn’t have even a fraction of it. But, it doesn’t demoralize me significantly but rather I took it positively. As one of the state universities, TUP have been a breeding ground for the thousands of DOST scholars like me. But let me tell you that your success doesn’t really depend on the name of the school where you came from. The success of an individual depends on his own determination and perseverance to achieve success no matter what. As Albert Einstein said “Success comes only to those who are prepared for it.”

So how do we prepare for our success? Dreaming and desire of what you want to be is one of the ways to prepare and achieve your success. With all the experiences I have gained, I can say that “To be successful in life, you must possess the power of dreaming, the science of praying and the art or perseverance.” If you have the desire to achieve a certain goal in life, that desire, that wanting for success, is the difference between dreaming of it and actually achieving it. Desire will lead to perseverance.

In reality, you can’t always be number one. With every winner, there is a loser. But if your Pride, a positive Attitude, the Desire to be successful and a Sacrifice to achieve a dream, win or lose, you will always walk away the better person.

Today, as you leave with diplomas in hand, remember the encounter, good as well as bad, you’ve experienced here at Manito High School. Remember the promises you made to yourself and others. Keep in contact with those who have touched your lives. Come back and visit! I know teachers love to hear from former students, it gives them a feeling of worth or “a reason for being”. Take time today to thank the people who have helped you make this day possible. Treat them as you would treat fine treasured glass.

Finally, I would like to end with a quote that really helped me achieve my goals despite of poverty and simple life. It says “Don’t worry about the persons not knowing you but strive to be worth knowing.”

Congratulations graduates! Good luck!

By Edwin D. Viñas
Science Research Specialist I
Advanced Science and Technology Institute


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