You came into my lives during the second year of my teaching profession.
Though you were not the first class of Freshmen I handled, you most certainly were the largest (ALL four sections, heterogeneous pa na! whew!)
And it was in your batch that I had my first - and only - class advisership. (ST. THOMAS OF VILLANOVA - 1C! YAHOOOOO!)
And now you are poised to leave the portals of your dear Alma Mater in search of new horizons...
First off, I must apologize for not being present as a witness to this momentous event - one of many that will come in your lives - but based on my personal experience, high school life has always been the most meaningful of all "lives" that you must live in this world. It was a time of curiosity and wonder leading to many realizations; the loss of childlike innocence paving the way to the unfolding consciousness of young men and women on the verge of realizing their potential. As the cliche goes: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
I am sure that you have trodden on your own meaningful paths during the four years you were cloistered in the halls of UNO-R High School. And whatever "lessons" you have learned most surely do not confine themselves to the academic realm alone. I am not sure if you could still recall the capitals of the provinces of the Philippines, and to which region they belong; recite the lines to "Go, and Be Like the Molave" from memory; factor a polynomial equation - or expand - I forget which is which (hehe); but I am certain that for each and every year you have gone through, you and your peers have grown. And I do not mean only the physical aspect. Know that you have taken a journey through your four years, and that journey was - and will continue to be - a journey of wonder.
Each step that you took in your journey, though the path has been laid out, was taken in your own pace, to your own beat, following the rhythm of your soul. Again, the journey could be summarized in another cliche: "To each his own."
And now you have reached journey's end. For now. Though this may be the end in your viewpoint, you also know in your heart that it is also another beginning. (there's a cliche somewhere in this statement, but whatever...) Thus this moment where you bid goodbye to your hallowed halls, and raucuous classrooms, the familiar faces, the beloved comrades, the respected elders (naks), the comforts of the routine and the expected, is met with sadness, resignation, and even fear.
But be not afraid. Treasure this moment. When you go up that stage and claim that piece of paper, take a moment to take in the scenery, take a minute to scan the crowd of faces, pause and savor the emotions filling the air. Know that in this moment you have truy LIVED.
Yes, you have LIVED. You have experienced, you have learned, you have felt loss and triumph, a whole maelstorm of emotions. It would seem that your whole life is flashing before your eyes. But this is not the harbinger of an end, but rather a herald for your rebirth...into a new world you go, on to another journey, a new life to live, a moment of clarity to be achieved...
And thus I break off this reverie to wish you all - my one time children - the best of luck. You have been molded into young ladies and gentlemen truly deserving of the "UNO-Rian" seal (i.e. tatak UNO-Rian gid ah). Face the new world with courage and conviction, let not your spirits waver before the challenges of an uncertain world.
But enough of the future. The stage is yours. Go forth and claim the moment worth treasuring for a lifetime. Stand tall, claim your place.
Now you are truly UNO-Rians.
Congratulations, Batch 2009. Vaya con Dios!