The HS Annual Reading of Honors: Hon. Rep. Dennis C. Laogan’s Message

Photo by Marco Millan (G12E), XS Media Team

Last July 1, 2016, the High School Annual Reading of Honors was held at the high school gymnasium, honoring the awardees from G7 to G11 of SY 2015-16.

The guest speaker for this special event was Hon. Rep. Dennis C. Laogan (XS 2008). After high school, Rep. Laogan pursued a degree in Bachelor of Science Communication Technology at the Ateneo de Manila University while starting and managing his own small businesses. In 2015, he established the Ang Kabuhayan Partylist, an organization that finances and trains small-scale businesses to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining. He is currently the youngest elected Congressman in 17th Congress.

Below is Rep. Dennis C. Laogan’s message to the community.

“First and foremost I would like to acknowledge our school director Father Ari Dy, our principal Ms. Aimee Apolinario, and our vice principals here who are with us today. Also, I want to recognize our dear parents, the parents of the former students that we have, and of course the staff and teachers of Xavier school and the entire student body.

I want to congratulate each and every one of you, from Father Ari Dy to our teachers and the whole Xavier community for the tremendous improvements that we have in this school, like the new building and the canteen. First I would like to start things off by saying that excellence is inherent in the heart of each student here in this institution. I have always believed in that. I never doubted that because I have always known that the heart molded in Xavier school is indeed a heart of a champion and because I am also a Xaverian as well. I have known how each of you dedicated your time, sweat and blood, offering your heart to achieve excellence in different levels and in different opportunities. That is why I congratulate each and every one of you here for a job well done.

But also let me remind you that this is a great responsibility. The honorees of Xavier school, you are a living symbol, an inspiration and representation of the true Xavier school spirit. Your role as a model to all of us on greatness and excellence makes me proud to be a public servant and an alumnus of this institution. Again I would like to greet the honor students and the awardees, congratulations to each and every one of you.

Now, I want to ask the rest of the student body here today a question. Who among you here have grades ranging from 75 to 85? Please raise your hands. Don’t be shy. Come on guys let me see some hands. Don’t be shy as I was once one of you. I was an average student just like you many years ago, almost a decade ago. I always dreaded the day when PNFs (Parent Notification Forms) were given out. I think now you call it Progress Report. I was so scared because my parents would see my somewhat lack-luster grades.

Who among you here have experienced going into an exam scared to death because you knew that you have to get a specific grade just to pass the subject? Before, during my time when we had exams, we had to change classrooms for the exam. We had to move classrooms, which all the more made the exam more traumatic for me. I remember I think that was in a Chinese class or Math class, I think I had to get a grade of 82 or 85 just to pass the subject. As you know, it was very traumatic as I told you but I never backed down. I still took the exam but I won’t tell you my grade. That’s another topic.

Anyway, I am telling you this not because I want you all to slack off or I want you all to settle for the 75 passing mark. I’m here to tell you the exact opposite. I have a story. During the campaign, I was up against political juggernauts because our party list is a newly organized one. I was up against political juggernauts who have built a name for themselves, but the competition never intimidated me, and I never backed down. I just kept on telling myself I had to push and I had to grind and so that’s what I did. To give you all a clearer picture, for the party list system of election, you have to elect only one. Am sure your parents know of that. You have to elect one, and there were 115 parties, I think. So that’s what I did. I never backed down, I kept on doing my job.

Actually there was a funny story, too, during the campaign. If you’ve seen people campaigning, they usually go from house to house to campaign to introduce themselves and shake everybody’s hands. When we campaigned somewhere in Manila, I was shaking the hands of the residents, and then I started to wonder how come I think I shook the hands of I think 5 people and all of them were wearing the same shirt. So I said, “How come everyone is wearing the same shirt?” I did not realize that I was already inside the campaign headquarters of my rival, shaking the hands of their staff and then when I looked to my staff, the staff left me behind and they said, “Sir, baka po bugbugin tayo dyan sa loob kaya lumabas nalang kami.” (Sir, they might hurt us, so we just went out.)

So, anyway, my point is, it does not matter if you are not in the honor roll right now or if you are not a Xavier awardee or a Magis awardee. All that matters is that you continue doing your best. Keep on doing your job, keep on studying, keep on reading books even if it is boring. That is what I did a few years ago when I was in your shoes. That’s what I also did during the campaign. So my advise to you is keep your head down and keep on working despite the circumstances.

As Kobe Bryant once said, we can always kind of be average and just do what is normal but then again I’m not in it to just doing what is normal. My friends you are not quite done yet. There are more roles to take, more challenges to face, bigger dreams to make, more books to read, and more lessons to learn. But I know you will be ready, you will have the memory that we are all making today as proof that you can make it on the top. After all, we are all here for yo — Fr. Ari Dy, the principal, the assistant-principals, your teachers, and of course your family and friends to make sure you get the education that you truly deserve.

Once again, I would like to thank you all for taking me with you during this occasion where we gather and toast to your success. Thank you for making me a part of your victories and also I never told this to anybody this was sort of a dream for me to come back here to Xavier School and talk in front of you so thank you for making my dream come true. In return, I vowed that I will always be with you and support you when you needed. You can come any time.

Again, congratulations to the parents for a job well done and the teachers, can we give them a round of applause. Congratulations to the awardees that we have today and of course congratulations also to the average students who are tirelessly working hard to get that passing mark. Thank you for your hard work and good luck to all your future endeavors.

Again, I am Dennis C. Laogan, Chairman of Ang Kabuhayan Partylist, Xavier School batch 2008, ID number L766 an average student just like one of you and also a member of the House of Representatives. Thank you and good morning.”

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