by Kristine Malabanan
Ms. Udani, members of the Management Staff, beloved parents, teachers, guests, and fellow seniors, good evening.
There is a worn-out path on the walkway from the main building to the H.E. building, that has been made distinct by the long parade of students and strollers. Here, the separate stones have been eroded to reveal a light gray trail. We passed it, on the way here. And as we did so, I realized that that would be the last time weíd pass that path again as Woodrose students. Itís hard to believe that we are actually graduating.
The road going here, was a long and sometimes tiring one. Eleven years of dragging heavy wooden props for our plays; of hauling our palangganas and plastic dolls to the H.E. building to learn how to wash a baby; of passing through this path looking forward to another fattening meal in the caf; of rushing back, sweaty from P.E., in order to catch another one of Ms. Frimís dreaded Philo long tests; of simply stopping by to examine our reflection in the glass doors of the H.E. building, and despite the hectic schedule, once in a while, of merry-making. It was as if, when we first stepped into Woodrose, the needle of the phonograph was let down, and the music started playing. Eleven years of music that we shared with the many people who helped bring us here, today.
Eleven years ago, when we were still tiny first graders in tiny plaid uniforms, we were part of a special presentation for Motherís Day. In one number dedicated to our mothers, we found ourselves belting out the words of a song we didnít really understand, but were made to memorize, anyway. Today, weíd like to re-echo these words to you, dear parents, this time, meaning it.
To our parents, thank you for being a steadfast audience to our plays and projects. Thank you for being patient with us, with the changes we had to go through these past few years. Thank you for bravely watching us grow even when we sometimes push you away; for seeing us suffer and letting it happen for our good; for once in awhile being silent so we could learn it on our own; for simply listening. Thank you for always hoping for the best for us; for encouraging us to go on, when we felt we couldnít. And thank you for slowly letting us go, while still watching over us; for the concern you had, that might have come out as anger; and for at times allowing yourselves to be misunderstood. The diploma we will receive tonight is just as much yours as it is ours.
When we were sophomores, we found ourselves singing once more, but this time to a roomful of children diagnosed with leukemia. And just as the words of that song somehow soothed the fears of the patients, we know that that was the underlying message behind all the theorems and principles that our teachers had taught us throughout this whole year.
To our teachers, we are sure that many times, after your forty-minute period, youíd return to the faculty room despondent and frustrated. But believe us, your efforts were not all in vain. Because even in times when you felt you had failed, we still learned from you. Thank you for sharing your jokes, and laughing at ours. Thank you for smiling when youíd rather scold us, or for having the courage to punish us when we needed it. Thank you for drawing out the best in us, while living with the worst of us. You might think that often we donít hear what you are trying to say, but we do listen, we do hear you, we just donít show it. Your simple gestures of concern and affection made our work a little more bearable. Thank you, most especially, for showing us how to see the other side, for sharing with us your experiences with love and life, at a time when we are often confused and unsure of what we really believe in. We all hope you continue to do better in your task of forming chai ns of souls. Because every time you try to teach us something, you are sharing with us, a part of yourselves.
But there is a point, right before the walkway stretches out to the covered court, where the path simply stops. And that is where we, the graduated, are. Dear parents and teachers, you have watched us wear out a familiar path in Woodrose all these years. Now, it is up to us to move on, wherever we may find ourselves after tonight. We know we now have to be brave. But thank you, beloved parents and teachers for the assurance that you will be doubly courageous for us. The path in front of the H.E. Building will branch out to 66 different paths, each spread far, still carried on, now more than ever, by your support and guidance. We may change, gain weight and wisdom, but we can always look back to find the same worn-out path, like a memory frozen in time. And the music of our love for life, our desire to do good, will remain behind us.
Eleven years of music. Just as the path stops at some point, it may seem as if the music shall cease, as well. But, in truth, it will echo in our minds. And anytime we seek it, we will find it as easily as we once did when we were but freshmen,