Mary Rose Sarmiento, Coline Ferrer, News, Communication Management Office
After dedicating majority of their study time to a virtual setting, a total of 1,092 students successfully received their senior high school diplomas for Academic Year 2022-2023 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines on July 12. The graduation was held at the University Gymnasium in two clusters.
552 students came from the Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) strand, 337 from Accounting and Business Management (ABM), 67 from Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS), 89 from Information Communication Technology (ICT), and 47 from Arts and Design Track (ADT). The previous three batches of graduation were held virtually, and this is the first in-person gathering after the onset of the pandemic.
Filipino resilience as a virtue and challenge
This year’s commencement exercises focused on the theme, “K–12 Graduates: Molded through a Resilient Educational Foundation,” which emphasized the perseverance and independence of Filipino learners in overcoming challenges and accomplishing academic success, despite the diverse obstacles they face in their personal journeys.
“Truly, the graduates of this batch have lived the ideals of resilience. They were the group of learners who have faced the challenge of the academic shift from the traditional face-to-face classes to the online learning environment,” PUP Senior High School Principal, Associate Professor Michelle B. Sotto shared. She said that this year’s graduates have demonstrated remarkable resilience in adapting to the dynamic learning environment, transitioning seamlessly between in-person and online modes and vice versa.
Chester Andrew C. Coronado the batch representative from the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), expressed that resilience was the key factor that enabled him and other graduates to endure the hardships of the pandemic successfully.
“Undoubtedly, the pandemic brought upon us immense difficulties and suffering. While its peak may be behind us, its lingering effects and the “New normal” It introduced continue to shape our lives today. It is through our resilience, my fellow graduates, that we, PUP Senior High Learners, were able to overcome all challenges that were thrown at us,” Coronado expounded.
However, he further emphasized the importance of not forgetting to question the fundamental reasons behind these challenges.
“We have become accustomed to facing hardships and we no longer question the underlying reasons behind these challenges. This is where the trait of resilience becomes fatal to us. Romanticizing resiliency becomes a double-edged sword that can cut both ways.”
Nathaniel Gabriel D. Escueta, another batch representative from the Humanities and Social Sciences, also addressed the same circumstance.
“I don’t want to glorify our success solely based on our perseverance. We survived because we had to. While it is true that we have overcome everything through resilience, this is not a reason to glorify it; rather, it serves as a catalyst for recognizing the need for change,” Escueta shared.
Both top graduates acknowledge that poverty is the root cause of the challenges and difficulties everyone must endure. Being underprivileged themselves, they rely solely on their perseverance and determination to conquer these obstacles. Rather than letting these hardships overwhelm them, they utilize them as constant reminders to remain catalysts for change, embracing their role as iskolar ng bayan.
Commitment to nation-building
“To remain relentless, regardless, is one of the greatest challenges we encounter as we fulfill our role as future nation-builders. We bear the heavy burden of becoming catalysts for transformation, vanguards of progress, and advocates for genuine change. However, rather than allowing our worries about our responsibilities to consume us, we must embrace them wholeheartedly and with unwavering determination. These responsibilities should serve as our key to unlocking the limitless possibilities that life has to offer,” Escueta expressed.
They ended their valedictory address by consistently reminding the graduates to perpetually dedicate themselves to serving the nation.
“Graduation is not just an end, but also a beginning. It is an opportunity for us to reimagine ourselves, to establish new goals, and to embrace the challenges that lie ahead. We must be prepared to step out of our comfort zones, to take risks, and to overcome obstacles. Success is not guaranteed, but it is within our reach if we remain resilient, adaptable, and committed to our dreams. As we move forward to this day, let us carry the memories, friendships, and lessons of high school with us. Let us be bold, determined, and unafraid to chase our dreams. Let us make a difference in the world, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of others. Mga kapwa ko Iskolar ng Bayan, laging tandaan, gamitin ang karunungan, mula sa’yo, para sa bayan,” Coronado said.
“Mga humanista, teknolohista, artista ng bayan, at maging ang intangibles ng ABM strand; mga isko at iska, hinihimok ko na ang bawat isa ay maging aktibo, maging matalino at mapanuring mamamayan, at patuloy na lumaban para sa makatarungang lipunan. Bawat iskolar ng bayan ay may itinatagong tapang at talino, at ito ang ating magiging susi upang maabot natin ang pagbabago at pag-unlad ng ating bayan. Maaari ba nating sabay-sabay banggitin ang mga katagang “Mula sa’yo, para sa bayan, Iskolar ng Bayan”, patuloy na lalaban,” Escueta concluded.
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