Rev. Oscar P. Manalastas, our School President and Elementary Principal; Sir Richard Manalastas, our High School Principal; Ma’am Sally Manalastas, our school registrar, to our beloved guest speaker; the faculty and staff; parents and guests; my fellow graduates; good afternoon to all of you! According to Ralph Marston, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. ” No man ever reached to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation (Horace). If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.

Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude (Collin Powell). Excellence should be exhibited in everything that we do. Excellence is an attitude, an unconscious desire to accomplish things excellently that would make us not meet the expectations but surpass it. Today, I have mixed feelings of delight and sorrow. Delighted because I can see how happy my fellow graduates are. After the seemingly endless homework, quizzes, long tests and stress, we managed to survive without any casualties. Seeing each of my batch mates’ faces somehow gives me a little flashback of the many different memories with every one of you.

I know we have all shared amazing memories with each other. I also see eyes slowly tearing up, which makes me feel sad because we must say our temporary goodbyes. We have grown up together and have come to know each other as siblings. But just like in most families, one way or another, siblings must say their goodbye eventually. Being able to talk to all of you and share my thoughts is really a great privilege. I worked hard and probably a bit harder than some of you for many reasons. One of these is because I want to show the school that allowing me to study here in Galmi Christian Academy was not a waste.

I wanted them to know that I can be a model student and one does not have to have so much money to be able to achieve success. My fellow graduates, this proves that the future will depend on what we do with our lives today. We may depend on many other people like our parents and teachers but at the end of the day, the one who would “adjust the sails” would be us. Doing bad things may hurt your loved ones but they would haunt you even more. Likewise, doing great things and knowing that you worked very hard for them makes an achievement even sweeter because you know those are the fruits of your labor.

I feel very fulfilled because I know I worked hard for this and I always aimed for excellence. Getting here was a bumpy ride but thanks to all the lessons, the guidance, the knowledge and the joy that everyone shared with me combined with the values I have learned to develop, I was able to reach where I am now. When I was elected as a leader of the student by our principal Sir Richard, I had more fun experiences, the group works together and sees to it that things are accomplished, not just accomplished but accomplished beautifully. We had so many problems along the way and sometimes we need to be creative in finding solutions.

My fellow graduates, don’t let the solutions come to you, go and find it. Having a high position was even tougher because I had to show everyone that I am a role model. This was not hard to do since I was raised in an environment that taught me good values and manners. I learned many different values from many people and situations. At the earliest part of my stay here in GALMI, I remember so well a well defined voice that was so full of enthusiasm and joy, it influenced me to be enthusiastic in everything I do. To all my High school teachers, thank you for believing that I could do better.

You are all so approachable and always willing to give me pieces of advice that helped me become more responsible and open to new things. I learned that opening up to new ideas and new experiences intensify the knowledge that I gain in the classroom and for that I thank you very much. Thank you to our teacher who gave us mental exercises every session to help develop our intellect and gave us difficult challenges to show how much we are capable of, thank you for showing us to be able to excel, one must learn to challenge one’s capabilities to experience growth.

Now, to those who I owe the greatest thanks of all, mom, dad, and my sisters, you were always there for me when I felt like I wanted to give up. You always have a way to put a smile on my face and you instill lessons in my head that continuously develop me into a fine young man. Thank you for supporting me morally and financially and most of all, thank you for bringing me into this world. Lastly, to the One above all of us- our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for all the blessings you have given me and everyone else.

Independence is one of the most important values to have in order to become a good decision maker and being a good decision maker helps one become a good leader and person. We cannot just have fun all the time but at the same time, we cannot just study all the time. I think that if my life was a short story, my mom would be the cheerful character because it was her who would push me to go out, socialize, make friends, have fun and enjoy, while my dad would be the serious character. It was him who reminds me to focus on my studies and give as much effort in studying as when I’m playing.

What I am trying to say is that we should find a balance. Balancing fun and work creates an even better individual and I suggest that everyone should learn to do this. Lastly, enjoying something that you do makes achieving things effortless. Sometimes it pays not to worry so much about where you ranked but rather think about the joy you get with what you do. I know that everyone feels extremely happy and our parents are proud that we are able to secure a diploma after all these years. Always aim for excellence.

Even if you enjoy what you’re doing, the hardships will still be present. I know a lot who strive hard for success and a lot as well who, unfortunately, just settle for mediocrity. Now, I would like to challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so, you will be successful. My fellow graduates always remember this famous quote by David Frost, “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. ” Thank you all, good luck and congratulations!

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