Words of Gratitude–Student’s Response, HS Graduation 2016

by Rene Antonio S. Tan (H4I)

Last March 18, 2016, the Xavier School High School Graduation Ceremony was held at the Fr. Rafael Cortina, S.J. Sports Center. Rene Antonio Salvador Tan, Student Council President and one of the Xavier Awardees of the batch, delivered the Student’s Response Speech prior to the presentation of the graduating batch of 2016 to Fr. Aristotle Dy, S.J. Below is a copy of Rene Tan’s speech.

“Father Aristotle Dy, our School President, Dr. Robert Louie So, our esteemed guest speaker, Ms. Aimee Apolinario, our High School Principal, administrators, faculty and staff, parents and guests, fellow graduates, good evening!

13 years ago, I was a little boy, clinging to the legs of my mom and dad because I didn’t want to go to school. 13 years later, I’m all grown up, saying good-bye to the institution that I called my second home. I still can’t believe that I’m about to graduate; that I’m standing behind a podium in front of everyone here today. I’m honestly still at a loss for words in this moment, so allow me to share with you the different things I learned through something a bit more familiar to everyone: a game. Let’s look at the past 13 years of our Xavier life like a video game.

Level 1: The Tutorial.

Our early years in Xavier served as the tutorial. This was where we learned what the different buttons on the remote actually do, and maybe even learn a few combos on the way. We were equipped with special abilities like adding numbers and unlocked the basic skill of combining letters to form more complicated words. Introduced to this new world called “Xavier,” special characters named “chers” taught us all we needed to know, and even called a few friends to join along the journey. We meet helpers just as we did in Grade 1, who in their own little ways make the world an easier place to learn about life. The world seems to be a small place for a tiny Xaverian, but fortunately for him, there’s still a whole other side he’s about to discover.

Level 2: The Climb.

Now all of us are equipped with the basic skills; “mini-us” begin our journey through the different levels Xavier the Game has in store. We face long missions of trying to add letters in Math, or adventures of exploring the sea of Chinese we sometimes end up almost drowning in. Luckily, “super cher” is there to save the day, and they even go the extra mile by bringing us to the nearest Pokemon Center to heal up and get ready for the next challenge in the storyline.

Level by level, we go through different situations to hone our skills and talents. Along the way, we meet other co-players like Tyler, as he crosses over the obstacles in the way, with the occasional three pointer to score extra EXP points. Then, when we needed that extra boost of energy as our homework began to pile up, we bump into Super Scientists Ethan and Scott. They’ve created a super potion to boost productivity, allowing you to finish one of the trickiest levels in the game: a 1000-word essay submitted online with a minute to spare.

We also meet a group of ninjas who have been quietly working along. Unfortunately, their identities are still kept a secret because of their masks, but don’t worry Nathan Go, Edrick, Keff, and Aaron, your secret will be safe with me.

And when we thought that we got a little down along the way, we meet a group of highly specialized soldiers whose expertise is to make people smile. Lieutenants Alonzo and Oranga will always have a joke to brighten up your day,  making you laugh at even the most random adventures you have in game along with your other co-players.

At sa likod ng laro, naroon at laging nakaalalay ang mga taong humubog sa ating mundo at tagumpay na ating nakamit sa araw na ito. Sa pangunguna lalong higit ng ating maituturing na “Master Builder,” ang ating mahal na pangulo ng paaralang Xavier, si Fr. Ari Dy. Sa kanyang mahusay na pamumuno katuwang ang lahat ng mga naging tagapagtatag ng matibay na pundasyong ito upang maisabuhay ng bawat Xaverian ang bisyon ng paaralan na “men fully alive endowed with the passion for justice and the skills for development.” Lakip ang kahalagahan ng cura personalis at ang diwa ng magis na siyang naging kabahagi at nagbigay kulay at buhay sa bawat manlalaro o “gamer” sa mundo ng Xavier.

Ang mga aral at pagpapahalagang ating natamo sa loob ng labintatlong taong pananatili sa Xavier ay ang mga bagay na magsisilbing hamon sa atin upang magsilbing halimbawa sa mga nakababata nating mga kapatid. Iyon man ay karanasang maipagmamalaki, o karanasang mapaghuhugutan ng mga aral at inspirasyon, ang mga ito man ay masaya o malungkot, mabuti o masama, ito ang bumuo sa ating pagkatao. Ang mga gintong aral natutuhan natin mula sa Xavier tulad ng magis, cura personalis, at ang 6Cs, ay nawa’y maging gabay natin upang patuloy tayong maging matatag sa pagtugon sa mga hamon ng buhay at buhay sa kolehiyo. Pasasalamat sa iyo, mahal naming paaralang Xavier!

And then there’s Level 3, the Boss Fight.

Now that we are leaving Xavier, the fight does not necessarily mean it’s over. Xavier is only one of those worlds in a giant video game more familiar to us as life. There’s even more to experience outside the walls of the school, and our adventures served as our training to prepare for what the rest of the world has for us. We’ve only just begun a new chapter in our histories, as from boys, we are now men. A man who has the capability to bring about change in the world because of the different lessons that Xavier has made sure to equip us as we go on life’s dark and stony road.  In those times, let our memories here serve as a stronghold to keep us going; to never give up.

To the administrators, teachers, and staff, thank you for the faith you placed in us, that we may be able to learn the knowledge you have imparted in our minds, and in our hearts. We may forget the lessons we learned inside the classroom, but your genuine love and care towards us is something we will never forget.

To our parents and families, thank you for always being there for us. Whether it be in times of celebration or in times of failure, the fact that you always stood by us means the world.

We also take this time to say thank you to the man responsible for all this. To God, this opportunity to become a Xaverian was truly one adventure we will never forget and be always thankful for. May everything we do continue to be for your greater glory.

And to ourselves, batch 2016. Cheers! We’ve made it. This marks the end of our journey in Xavier. Tonight, we celebrate; not because our journey has ended, but because a new one is about to begin. Graduation is not a game-over, as wherever we end up in, whether that be in a university here or abroad, we will always let our light shine and bleed blue and gold all the way.

13 years ago, we were little kids, pressing the start button to begin playing the video game called Xavier School.

13 years later, that same start button will be pressed one more time, to signal the beginning of a new chapter that we will go through in life.

Maraming salamat po, Luceat Lux!”

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