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Moving on Towards a Life of Excelllence

7 April 2013

Commencement Address of Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
9th Commencement Exercises
Lyceum of Subic Bay, Inc.
Olongapo Convention Center, Olongapo City

President Alfonso E. Borda
Executive Vice-president Concepcion T. Borda
Dr.Diena B. Oroceo, Vice-President for Academic Affairs
members of the faculty and administration,
beloved parents, distinguished guests,
members of the graduating class of 2013,
ladies and gentlemen good afternoon.

Let me begin by thanking you most sincerely for your invitation to share this special day, joined by your parents and relatives, teachers, mentors and your loved ones.

Faced with task of delivering a memorable commencement speech, the humorist Art Buchwald told one graduating class: “remember, we are leaving you a perfect world. Don’t screw it up.” and then he bade them goodbye. It is, according to some, the shortest and best commencement speech ever delivered. I had thought of following his concise example today but this is too important an event for me to do that.
That is why I welcome this rare but fresh opportunity to share my thoughts with you, your families and school officials on this special day.

My dear graduates, it is often said that graduation is one of the few authentic rites of passage in our society. As a rite of passage, it marks a person’s transition from one status to another. it looks in two directions, one retrospective, looking back to the past, the other prospective, with an eye focused on the future. Today, you are graduating from college, which represents the end of your formal education. But this ceremony is also called a commencement, which means – it is also a beginning, which could point to a new phase of your life!

As in the other milestones of your lives, it is fitting that your parents are here today to witness and celebrate this rite of passage. I know I speak for every parent here today when I say that this graduation is like the very day when you came into this world! For us, the day that you were born was the greatest event in our lives as parents – wonderful blessing from on high. But even more, we consider it a blessing and the fulfilment of many prayers. In deed something for all of us to be thankful for, likewise something to be proud of!

Graduates of 2013, your completion of your college studies is similarly gratifying and fulfilling for four or six long years, you have studied long and labored hard to complete your course requirements. You have sometimes endured the terror ofdealing with difficult and demanding professors. You may also have been touched by the compassion and concern of some great professors and mentors.

Of all the things that you have learned from your parents and your teachers, let us hope that you have learned this - that values count as much as the core knowledge of the courses you have taken and the ones you majored in.

I emphasize this point because deeply-held values are the only true foundations we can build our lives on as individuals and, in a wider and higher plane, as a nation.

If you will permit me to share with you some lessons I learned from my parents and from my grandmother who was a teacher herself and the training I received from my mentors here and abroad, what is most important is that one should never forget the value of hard work and the importance of effort.

As one great writer says, “perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done. Whether you like it or not, it is the first lesson that must be learned, and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson he learns thoroughly.”

A diamond, it has been said, is a piece of coal that stayed on the job until it reached its precious state! Ultimately, those who can stay on the job are the people who become our leaders, the diamonds of our society.

Former US President Calvin Coolidge was not exaggerating when he wrote: “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. The world is full of so-called educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, press on, has been recognized to have solved and always will solve much of the problems of the human race.”

Perhaps the most telling illustration of this is that of Madame Curie and the discovery of radium. After the failure of their 487th experiment in their research for radium, her husband Pierre Curie cried out in despair. “It can’t be done. It can’t be done. Maybe in a hundred years, it can be done, but never in our lifetime”. Madame Curie answered him calmly and simply, “if it takes a hundred years it will be a pity, but I dare not do less than work for it as long as I live.” in their next few experiments radium was discovered.

And talking of perseverance, what Sultan Kiram and his people have been doing these past few weeks is also a lesson in persistence. The Sultunate of Sulu and its people have been pressing their claim to Sabah for over a hundred years now. Someday, somehow, their persistent efforts will bear fruit. Till then; we cannot do less than work for it as long as we live.

Recently, I was encouraged to read the news that some ten Filipinos are now on the new on the Forbes magazine’s annual list of billionaires.

The list is noteworthy because nearly everyone earned their billions through patient toil, ingenious investing and continuous sheer talent and honed skill, not to mention perseverance and hard work, thus raising the image of our people in the international scene.

Manny Pacquiao, is doubtless an outstanding example of this. The eight boxing titles he won in eight different weight divisions will perhaps never be surpassed in the record books. It did not happen in one day, or one fight, but slowly and steadily through the years.

I am also awed and gratified by the way so many Filipinos are making it on the global stage as accomplished theatre and cinema actors and actresses! Then we have our world - renowned performers in the field of music.

It is widely recognized that Filipino singing talent has become so ubiquitous that contest judges now assume that whenever there is a contestant who can really sing, they must be Filipino. Jessica Sanchez, of Filipino descent, is one shinining example when she almost became the american idol.

I have taken the time to talk about the great qualities of these achievers and the qualities that have enabled them to become great, because they are undisputedly the products of our country and our culture, and the values we live by. And there are even many more achievers in the fields of science and academe that to mention them all would take much more time than we have today and I know you are eager to begin your celebrations.

Our country is a community of shared values. Throughout our history, our nation has always been carried forward by our people and our values and led by our forebears and heroes! We have risen many times from the greatest trials and adversities by caring for one another, and holding on with tenacity and fortitude to our deep faith in ourselves and in the Filipino, thus the term-resiliency, referring to the Filipino.

My dear graduates, this century is your time, and it is now your turns to shine for it is still a beautiful and wonderful world!

Soon you will have your own careers, most in the private sector and perhaps some in government or, even in politics like me. Soon you will be parents yourselves, raising children who are gifted, talented and brilliant!

As you move on, you will have to make your own choices and commitments in your respective professions and careers!

As it was for other generations before us, it now falls on you to meet the challenge of passing on a better country to those who will come after you. Seize the moment!

My dear graduates, I sincerely hope and pray that you will carry the torch we will pass on to you proudly, with honor, with pride and with dignity!

After all, you are a Filipino, a child of the universe, a product of creation!

Go forth!

And to your beloved parents go my deepest admiration and highest respects for their in fatigable determination and unwavering commitment to the pursuit of your proper upbringing and successful education as you receive your hard-earned diploma today!

Congratulations once again for passing this rite of passage!

Maraming, maraming salamat at mabuhay kayong lahat!

Magandang hapon!