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GRADUATION SPEECH: Do not be afraid of failing, as long as you keep learning, you keep winning!

(Words of Gratitude delivered at the Liceo de Cagayan University’s Grade 12 (Words of Gratitude delivered at the Liceo de Cagayan University’s Senior High School graduation on 22 March 2018 by Aubrei Nicole C. Ipulan, 18, one of three who graduated With Highest Honors but who topped overall among 1,454 graduates of the pioneering K-12 Class 2018 of the Cagayan de Oro City-based university.

…University officials, dear parents, beloved teachers, fellow Liceans, good afternoon.

As I am standing here behind this podium, I cannot help but remember all the other times I have been given the privilege to speak on behalf of my batch: two years ago, in tenth grade, I expressed my words of gratitude; in sixth grade, I delivered my Valedictory Speech, and in Kinder 2, I gave my first Welcome Address.

I was standing there at the center and did not know to whom I shall turn my head whenever I greeted the university officials. So young and naive. Now, I am yet again having an exceptional chance to share my insights, personally express my gratefulness, and of course, speak on behalf of you, my fellow graduates.

Aubrei Nicole C. Ipulan graduated on March 22 With Highest Honor from the Liceo de Cagayan’s pioneering K-12 Class 2018. Contributed photo

Albert Einstein, developer of the Quantum Theory and Theory of Relativity. Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the incandescent bulb and phonograph. Bill Gates, founder of the largest software business, Microsoft. Steve Jobs, co-founder of the revolutionary Apple computers. Mark Zuckerburg, creator of the world’s most used social media, Facebook.

What do you think are with these men that made me mention them now? Yes, they all had great contributions in everyone’s lives and they are all school drop outs. But that does not mean that we need to stop schooling in order to succeed. They had their own reasons for their decisions. We all have different ways in building ourselves in accordance with our perception of our own success.

Our journey in our Senior High School life was like a roller coaster ride – not because we had our fair share of ups and downs but because of the plot twists we experienced all throughout these years. May I see a raise of hands: Who among you here tried having failing marks in exams? Who has had days of community service due to extensive number of tardiness? Who has gone crying due to Research? Who has thought of giving up? Who wanted to succeed?

You see, we have faced innumerable challenges and surpassed all of them because of our will to succeed. We may have thought of giving up at the middle of the stormy days, but our dreams were bigger than our problems. We say ayoko na but our action does laban pa. You see, what’s good with us Filipinos is our resiliency. We can easily recover from any mishaps: we stand up after tumbling into hardships bringing with us new lessons we’ve learned. We stand up through challenges stronger than before. Why is that so? Because we see failures as our building blocks towards forming a better version of ourselves.

For one, I’ve also had my fair share of hardships and struggles. If your opinions about me are based on my rank now, thinking that life for me must have been easy, that I do not cram when there’s surprise quiz, that I do not problematize Research, Chemistry, Physics… then you are all wrong.

In Kindergarten, I’d been ashamed of myself because I forgot my lines during the story telling contest I joined. In Grade School, I experienced getting zero in my Math quiz because I subtracted the numbers instead of adding them, but that taught me to be more cautious of my work. In High School, I almost got zero again in a test because I failed to read the instructions which said “answer in all capital letters”. Good thing our teacher gave consideration to all those students who answered in lower cases that time.

Pressure – that is my greatest enemy but it also played an important role in building myself. My teachers expect too much from me. My classmates look up to me. You may think that the feeling must be so great but for me. It is not. My mistakes are easily noticed and they easily judge me based on those mistakes. I get low scores too and even sometimes spend the night crying because I do not know how to balance my responsibilities anymore then end up failing the people who believed in me.

Fellow Liceans, I am openly expressing myself because I want you to realize that anything that happened to us in the previous years, even the smallest of things, has contributed a lot to our humanity. I want you to accept your flaws because that made you who you are today.

As we have come to end of our Senior High School journey, let us not forget to acknowledge the values of gratitude we’ve inculcated and humility coupled with our faith in our Almighty Creator. This paves the way for us to reach this point in our life and achieve these fruits of our labor. So many people had a hand in our success. Let us all thank them and give them a round of applause:

To our classmates for giving us treasure-worthy experiences, for all the uphill battles we’ve overcome together, for the efforts each has exerted for the betterment of the class, and for all the merriment, indulgence, and trips that made us take a break from the stressful process of education; to our friends for flashing a genuine smile on our faces and for not letting us do or face situations alone, for backing us up every time; to our parents for selflessly giving us the support we need, financially and emotionally; to our teachers and advisers who inspire us a lot as they themselves continue to demonstrate integrity in what they do and for being so extra in making this graduation ceremony as perfect as it can be, for extending beyond their working hours just to prepare everything , and personally, I would like to thank them all for bestowing upon me their trust and confidence, for believing in my capabilities even when I doubt myself; to the Maintenance Department for keeping our environment conducive for learning; to our security guards for ensuring our safety inside the campus premises; to Nong Bing and his team for being with us to capture all the momentous events in our lives; to the Liceo Band for patiently practicing with us these previous days and for the past years and to all those remaining others who act truly behind the stage and of course; to Liceo de Cagayan University, for molding us into better citizens of our country and for instilling in our hearts and minds the values of excellence, integrity, loyalty, discipline, and service; and most especially to our Creator, regardless of our religions, for His guidance, understanding, and love. Without Him, we would have not been able to reach this point of our lives.

More importantly, I would like to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude to my family for not pushing me too hard, for their encouragement, and for being sensitive with and understanding of what I feel; to my mother who knows me so well, for standing by my side and defending me in times of need; to my father who reminds me to rest whenever I am bombarded with tasks and for patiently listening to my whines especially when we are stuck in a heavy traffic; to my sisters and their better halves for knowing so well the best way to comfort me; and to my niece and nephew who never fail to wipe away any bad vibes in my system.

To my family, thank you so much for the laughter, tears, comfort, patience, care, and love. I cannot express any further how thankful I am to have you as my example in everything. Above all, I would like to thank God for guiding me all throughout everything, for hearing and answering my prayers, and most especially, for blessing me with superb people who continue to provide me the guidance to do what is just and right.

Despite all the challenges, there are a lot to thank for. Personally and sincerely, thank you all for being part of this wonderful and meaningful journey.

Plants grow better during rainy days. Fellow graduates, let us not forget the struggles we faced and the important lessons in life we learned during our education process no matter how dark and hurtful the past was. Let us bear in mind that these are our foundation in building a sturdier version of ourselves.

This graduation ceremony is a great manifestation of the hard work, sweat, and tears we’ve invested in our education. Let us congratulate each other for overcoming those challenges and for being able to reach this far.

Even the best fall down sometimes. Even the wrong words seem to rhyme. Out of the doubt that fills my mind, I somehow find, you and I collide. Let us not worry ourselves for failing because it is through our failures that we learn better. Failing means having a time to breathe, having a time to rethink things, having a space to grow. It serves as a redirection in our lives.

Everyone fails but not all who fail is a failure for failures are only for those who did not have the courage to stand up after they fall. We will fail… but, we will never give up. Let this be our mantra for the rest of our challenging lives. Do not be afraid of failing,  as long as you keep learning, you keep winning!

Gratuliere alles! Vielen dank und Guten Tag! Congratulations everyone! Thank you very much and good afternoon! May the speed force be with us all!

(Aubrei Nicole C. Ipulan, 18, pursued the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strand among seven strands in Senior High School. She also received six other awards: Mercury Drug Corporation’s Excellence in Science and Excellence in Math, Liceo U Alumni Association Medal of Excellence, Loyalty, Mayor Oscar Moreno Academic Excellence and Manny B. Villar Jr. Award.
Aubrei dreams of pursuing aeronautical engineering in college).



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