Speeh of a Teacher Essay
My fellow graduates, how shall we live up for a noble expectation? How could we prove our worth? Young as we are, we have a vision, as we have to be aware of the share we must do for good. Not only for ourselves, neither for our family, for our institution, but also for our community and country as a whole. Varied problems and issues arise which have been alarming.
Many cases of rape, killings, kidnappings, robbery, white slavery, destruction of our national wealth and resources, pollution, tenancy problem, malnutrition, child abuse, drug trafficking, and other heinous crimes remain unsolved, especially those committed by influential people, high ranking officials, and persons in authority.
This is a disheartening scenario. Kaya, mga kapwa ko magsisipagtapos, maging bukas ang ating isipan para sa makabuluhang pakikialam at pakikibaka sa malaking hamong ito.
Magsikap tayo, magsipag sa pagtuklas pa ng karunungan upang makatulong tayo sa pinapangarap na Pilipinas 2010 ng ating pangulo. Matindi ang hamon sa atin — kapayapaan at kasipagan — kaunlaran sa taong 2010.
Tayong mga bukod na pinagpala na pinagkalooban ng karunungan bagamat nasa murang isipan pa lamang ay hindi dapat magsawalang bahala sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon. Kaya nating labanan at lutasin ang anumang suliranin kung magtutulung-tulong tayo — sapagkat tayo ang mga batang mamamayan na may mahalagang papel sa kaganapan ng pangarap ng ating pangulo.
Lagi nating isaisip na ang kapayapaan at kasipagan ay siyang sandigan tungo sa makabuluhang edukasyon sa taong 2010. Some may be wondering why graduation ceremonies are also called commencement exercises. Graduation marks the end of a course, while commencement means the beginning. Is it possible that the end means the beginning? Is it contingent that the two antithetical words could mean the same thing? The explanation is quite simple. For graduation is the end of a course and a commencement the start of either another course or of something else — perhaps a career.
It is like twilight that marks the end of day and the beginning of night, or like the dawn that marks the end of night and the beginning of the day. For life and everything material around us begin and end, and the beginning of one, marks the end of another in the ceaseless march of time. In our studies, the end of the elementary course is the beginning of high school, and the end of one’s elementary life is the beginning of a more complex world of high school life.
Sad we may be, but there is one graduation, one commencement exercise that must come to every one of us. Hence, all graduations in this life are leading to and are preparations for a last and final commencement, just as every step of the stairs leads up to the threshold, or like curtains that open as we walk through them, one after the other, until the final one is reached, which opens to a magnificent vista of unending horizon.
We now stand at the threshold of a new world, a world of competition and cooperation, failures and success. With undaunted courage, we take another step toward our improvement. Nothing is left of the past four years except a memory of days bygone. Soon, the memory will be just a blurred vision of something wonderful in our past. The unselfish effort of our Alma Mater served as our inspiration in pursuit of our elementary school diploma — our stepping stone to a higher education of every chosen career.
For all of these, we are indebted to our hardworking and devoted teachers, who are the masters of their own field in the teaching profession, imparted to us are the priceless knowledge and the valuable experiences, we’ll cherish, we’ll keep and we’ll bring as our shield and weapon in pursuing our endevors. Ilang taon na nga ang ginugol natin — sa ilan — ng buong pagsisikap — nakalulungkot mang isipin — sa marami — ng walang pagsasaalang-alang. At ngayon, sa di nalalayong hinaharap — kanya-kanya na nating tatahakin ang bawat landas na ating pinili. Tama, ito nga ang itinakdang araw ng ating paglisan — paglisan sa mga pambatang katuwaan — paglisan sa mga murang kaisipan — paglisan sa isang bagong mundong huhulma sa bawat guhit ng ating palad — mundong hindi tumatanggap ng pagbabakasali’t pagwawalang bahala — isang mundong walang biro. ” “Punong-puno tayo ng mga pangarap. Maraming gustong makamtan — maraming gustong maabot. ” Whatever we become — our achievements — our victory — the future we dream to have — we offer them to these people, who many times — we hurt and fail.
Sa maraming pagkakataong ating pinalampas, sa mga luhang ating pinaagos sa kanilang mga mata dahil sa pagbabalewala — at sa mga pasakit nilang ating pinagwalang-bahala — sila na walang hinagad kundi ang mga bagay na makapagdudulot ng saya at gaan para sa ating maganda’t maluwalhating kinabuikasan, na walang araw at gabing pinalampas para lamang tustusan ang ating pag-aaral — puhunan nila ay pawis at dugong nais ipunla maibsan lamang ang ating mga pangangailangan — sila ang ating pinakamamahal na magulang. ” I myself witnessed the very noble deed that lives within each and every parent .
The place where I could always go home to – my sister, my brother, my family. To you I am indebted as well. To my best friend, who in so many ways had uplifted the fearful wanderer that I was and from there triumphed. You added meaning to my being. To my true friends, who stood beside me all throughout — not only in fair weathers but in the worst times as well, I could never have a day without you. To you my fellow graduates, as we finally leave the premises of this elementary school, time has come to step up for the second challenge in our pursuit of education.
For I firmly believe, only proper and higher learning can uplift each and everyone of us to be a better citizen, to be an asset in the community and to be the envisioned leaders of our country and our fellowmen. We expect to pass through this life only once. What the future holds we cannot tell. Time is a vital factor. “Marami tayong mga pagkukulang — una as ating sarili at higit sa lahat, sa ating mga magulang. Ngunit hindi pa huli ang lahat upang punan ang mga ito. Let us not defer therefore nor neglect this challenge we are about to face for we may never have this same opportunity we behold in our hands and we shall never pass this way again. Fear we should not for god has given us this achievement to start with and had been with us in our journey since the very beginning and all throughout until the very end. To him we give back this splendor. In closing, may I say farewell after six long years of sweet and memorable association, but go we must, for our stay in this institution is over, though more rewarding adventure in life.
To our beloved mentors, a grateful heart now bids adieu; to our Alma Mater, whose fountain of knowledge we have imbibed deeply, a found farewell. We shall go our different ways but wherever we are, the memory of our great Alma Mater will spur us to greater achievement. ROSELLE AMBUBUYOG, Summa cum laud and valedictorian of her class. BEING No. 1 was the least of her dreams when she entered the Ateneo in June 1997. All she had really wanted was to pass her course and to graduate with decent grades. But this afternoon, Roselle Ambubuyog will cap her remarkable academic life y graduating not just summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree, major in mathematics, but also as valedictorian of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Class of 2001. Ambubuyog is not the first college valedictorian to top her classes in all three academic levels at the Ateneo. Two years ago, Ninoy Aquino’s nephew, Paulo Benigno “Bambam” Aquino, was lustily cheered for having accomplished the same feat. The difference between him and Ambubuyog, as those who have been following her story, which was first established in the Inquirer, know only too well, is what makes the latter’s achievement incredible.
Twenty-one-year-old Roselle has been blind for the past 15 years. She had graduated valedictorian from her elementary school and, four years later, was again valedictorian of her high school batch. It would have been too much to hope that in a more competitive school environment she could still finish college with soaring colors. In an interview after her selection as batch valedictorian, she said: “I wasn’t really planning to excel, but just to pass. All I really intended was to get good grades so as to convince the school that anybody with a disability who deserves to receive an Ateneo education could survive. Her grades turned out to be more than good. Except for the first semester of her freshman year, when she was still adjusting to the demands of college life, her name was consistently in the first honors ranking on the Dean’s List from first to fourth year. No one was surprised that when the deliberations for batch valedictorian started, Ambubuyog was among the leading contenders. Two weeks ago, the Ateneo’s standards committee interviewed the six candidates. Asked why she thought she should be chosen, Ambubuyog replied: “All of us have our own disabilities.
Mine is just more obvious. I can represent what it means to go beyond one’s limitations, with determination, perseverance, the help of others and the grace of God. ” The candidates had been asked to write an essay on what their Ateneo education meant to them. Deviating from the topic, another summa cum laude candidate instead wrote about why she believed Ambubuyog should be valedictorian. The standard committee’s choice of Ambubuyog has been well-received in the Loyola campus. Even the school janitors, Roselle said, had been betting on her since they saw the list of candidates.
Brickbats She has not, however, been spared the brickbats thrown at her by cynics and critics. But these are hardly new to Ambubuyog. Back at the Batino Elementary School in Quezon City, when she won one math contest after another, she was sometimes accused of cheating because she was using an abacus. As a college freshman, she was suspected of having secret tutorial sessions after math class, and of getting A’s for her essays only because teachers rated her work using a different system. Now, envious tongues are wagging that pity is the main reason she became valedictorian.
Her reaction to such talk is simple: “Some students don’t really know me. If one thrives only on pity, there’s a limit to what one can do. ” With Ambubuyog, there is no such thing as limits, or impossible goals. She does have special equipment such as a note-taker (the notebook computer translates into Braille–a system of writing for the blind–anything she types into it) and a synthesizer. The Ateneo acquired a Braille printer and scanner so her teachers’ test papers could be translated for her use.
But Ambubuyog also learned to develop her own system for faster writing and reading, and devised methods for solving long equations and visualizing three-dimensional illustrations. She has won all the other awards possible for a graduating Ateneo student: the president’s award for service and excellence as most outstanding individual; the St. Ignatius Award for Outstanding Scholar, and the departmental award for mathematics. Outside the university she has received the Jose Rizal Model Student award from the Knights of Rizal Supreme Council and one of the science awards from Bank of the Philippine Islands.
Last year, as one of six Ateneans and other high-achieving students nationwide tapped to participate in the Ayala Young Leaders Congress in Tagaytay, she plunged with gusto into every activity–from the discussions to the sports events. She told Ayala executives during her pre-congress interview, “Given a tool, nobody’s handicapped. ” With her partner, she won the low-V rappeling competition (which required crossing an above-ground, V-shaped cable wire together at first but separately as they moved upward along the sides of the V). Fellow participants were incredulous, as was Ambubuyog herself.
The three-day Tagaytay congress marked the first time that Ambubuyog had traveled on her own and with people she did not know. Her mother, Deanna, kept worrying about her youngest child and only daughter. Articulate, insightful Dr. Leovino Garcia, dean of Ateneo’s School of Humanities and Ambubuyog’s philosophy teacher in her junior year, described his “A” student as “very articulate and insightful. ” She was, he recalled, an intense listener and an active participant in discussions and even in the video project he required of her class in the philosophy of being human.
In the essay she submitted when she applied for acceptance in the Ateneo, she had written that she wanted to be an inspiration to others. That she has certainly been. To her classmates the click-click-click of her brailling during written tests became a gauge of their own pace–once the clicking stopped, they knew she had completed her answers and they had to work faster. Her excellent grades, despite her disability, challenged them to aim higher. Recently, the Resources for the Blind asked her to help convince the parents of a 12-year-old blind girl to allow their child to go to school.
The girl is now in school and, as of last report, was doing well. In her own valedictory speech today, she wants to impart this message: “One needs determination, perseverance and courage to overcome all limitations and weaknesses. Without the help of others, this could be difficult. Strong will power is not enough, for one always needs support from loved ones and friends, and the grace of God, in order to succeed. ” Like any college graduate, she looks forward to a bright future; in her case, even if it has to be spent in continued darkness. Although she is hopeful about future eye surgery, she has not given it much thought.
MA, Ph. D What she is certain about is more study (a computer course and a master’s degree in actuarial science, maybe a Ph. D. ) and work that will include part-time teaching at the Ateneo and a corporate job. Why actuarial science? Because, she said, “there aren’t any policies being offered to the blind. ” Her long-term plan is to “establish myself in the business sector so I can provide equipment more readily for the vision-impaired or for those with other disabilities,” or “form foundations or support groups for schools that will accept students with special needs,” or maybe even “start a paper manufacturing company. Do you know, she exclaimed, that a piece of regular bond-size Braille paper costs 75 centavos, and that one mathematical equation takes up all of half a page when written in Braille? Ambubuyog is aware that teaching will present problems, but she is unfazed. “I’m sure there are ways. A lot of blind people are teaching in the US, even at the college level. I have to develop a method. ” “People just give up trying,” she said with a sigh. “If we recognize that some of the disappointments we have are actually stepping stones, there’s no reason for us to lose.
We’re bound to win. ” Any way one looks at her, Roselle Ambubuyog is a winner. It shouldn’t be too hard to see that. ROSELLE’S VALEDICTORY ADDRESS: This is the Valedictory address delivered by Roselle R. Ambubuyog on the occasion of the Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo Manila University – Loyola Schools on Saturday, 24 of March 2001, 3:30 p. m. , at the Ateneo High School Covered Courts. Remember, she has been blind since age 6. SEEING IN THE DARK BY THE LIGHT OF THE STARS Honorable Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. , Fr. Provincial Romeo Intengan, S. J. , Mr. Octavio Espiritu, Chairman of the Board, Fr. President Bienvenido Nebres, S. J. , honored guests, Vice Presidents, Deans, administrators, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, fellow graduates, and friends: Some of you may wonder why I was guided up this stage, and why I wear dark glasses. You see, I am totally blind. I have been blind for fifteen years now. Yet God did not leave me groping in the dark; but has actually given me stars to light my way. Four years ago, I took the Entrance Test, after the Office of Admission and Aid, then headed by Dr.
Manny Dy, hired a special education teacher from the Philippine National School for the Blind to Braille the test. When I passed, Fr. Ben Nebres encouraged me to major in mathematics, since he had met blind students in Stanford University who were able to do so. I hesitated, thinking that although I loved numbers, math seemed a course too “visual” for me to handle. To my delight, the Ateneo offered to purchase special equipment: Translator software to convert text from print to Braille, and a printer to produce exams and reading materials in Braille format.
Thus I enrolled here, half dreading the problems and changes which teachers and I would inevitably confront. From the start, however, all the teachers were willing to adjust their teaching methods to meet my needs. Dr. Queena Lee-Chua and Dr. Flor Francisco surfed the Net for appropriate technology and approaches. Soon we were able to solve inconveniences, like making Braille versions of long and complicated tables such as those of statistical data and probability values, even the Periodic Table of chemical elements. Moreover, we had to improvise laboratory apparatus to enable me to perform experiments.
Dr. Toby Dayrit, Dr. Noreen Gonzales, and my father placed Braille labels on the triple beam balance to mark its calibrations so that I could measure masses. Also, for measuring liquid volumes, they made indentations along the side of a syringe plunger, where the distance between consecutive slits corresponded to a milliliter of liquid. It was the combined creative imagination of my family and teachers that allowed me to visualize the things I needed to see. Since I had lost my sight only at the age of six, I was capable of sketching a mental picture of something being described to me in exquisite detail.
For instance, Dr. Cathy Vistro-Yu used her little daughter’s toys of various shapes to explain to me what hyperbolic paraboloids, ellipsoids, and other quadric surfaces looked like. I was not exempt from regular requirements. Just like any ordinary student, I had to take physical education courses. My instructor in ballroom dancing, Ms. Weena Lorenzo, painstakingly directed me through the steps of cha-cha, boogie, and swing. She paid meticulous attention to how my hands and feet should move, to every twist of the body, and to the shifting of my weight from one foot to the other.
We thank our mentors for being good teachers from whom we learn a lot. But I am certain that each of us has encountered teachers who helped us best by becoming students themselves: open to learning new things, developing better methods, nurturing our true potentials. Other students also supported me in my determined quest to excel. One dearest to me who shares part of my success is Ria Beth Cuevas, a fellow math major. During class hours, when my father would not be with me, Ria would be my guide, accompanying me as I moved from one building to another.
Sitting beside me in every class, she would read to me the writing on the blackboard, or printed materials. She would trace graphs on my palm with her finger so that I could feel and imagine them. Whenever I had to do research, get something photocopied, have lunch at the cafeteria, listen to films and plays, Ria was always there to help me SEE. Other friends have been similarly kind, and I am equally grateful to them. I believe everyone’s life is blessed to have a Ria Beth, a person whose genuine kindness is a human miracle that eases the pain of suffering.
My experiences were not limited to the campus. In February of last year, I attended the National Ayala Young Leaders Congress in Tagaytay as one of 70 student delegates from all over the country. Part of our leadership-training activities were challenges to physical strength and courage. In one event, teams of three delegates wearing safety harnesses climbed a 50-foot wall. The one in the middle was blindfolded, and the other two were responsible for indicating hand- and foot-holds. Two students volunteered to be my teammates, and though it was not necessary, I was blindfolded.
We slowly progressed in our climb, my feet slipping sometimes off footholds and my hands groping for protruding stones on the wall. But we reached the top! Exhausted, we completed the activity by rappelling. I realized then how much more we could do if we dared go beyond what appear to be our limits. Even if fears persist to hinder us from achieving something, what really matters is the shift from “I can’t do it,” to “I can try”. I went beyond my impairment by doing not only what sighted people can do, but also what they sometimes are too frightened to try.
Yet, the real highlights of my college life were the moments when I explored the worlds of other people whose needs were far greater than mine. We Ateneans were not kept in shells of comfort and bliss, but were often drawn out to experience a life of suffering with and for others. I had close encounters with disabled students, particularly blind children who had lost their sight due to the radiation in chemotherapy. I wanted to let them see in me the hope that lies for them and for all those whose fate seems to have taken a bad turn. A grade school boy, Martin Afable, is particularly dear to me.
Aside from helping him and his family accept his blindness, I shared with them the ways by which a visually impaired person not born with disability, could cope. Martin and I would go to the movies together to watch Titanic or Godzilla. I would watch the film first with my family, and remember how my brother described the scenes I could not visualize by just listening to the conversations between characters. Then, I showed the Afables, how Martin could watch a movie through them, demonstrating as I described the events for him the way my brother did. Spending time with them, I have witnessed how graciously Martin’s family loved him.
More clearly, because of these experiences, I see how much my own family love and inspire me. Much of my life is a result of the great sacrifices my family has made and continues to make. My father left the job he held for 23 years just to concentrate on me when I lost my sight in 1986. He drives me to school, picks me up at the end of the day, accompanies me to competitions, and always gives me moral support in the various activities in which I participate, although most of the time, all this prevents him from going to PHIVOLCS, where he is now a consultant. At home, my mother and brothers read o me textbooks and references, since they are not always available in Braille. Therefore, whenever I have to stay up late to study, the whole family is kept awake all night. In fact, I am not alone in graduating with honors; my family, especially my father, deserves even more the recognition I will receive, because my achievements are theirs as well. I can say that although God took away my sight, He has definitely given me many pairs of eyes and now I see better. Somehow, God has done the same for all of us. Everyone experiences disabilities one way or another; mine is just more obvious than yours.
We are all fortunate to have loved ones, who help us bear the burdens brought about by our weaknesses. We may find ourselves in the dark, but we should not be afraid to move forward, because we have the light of our stars to count on, and to be thankful for. We thank our teachers for seeing in us our God-given gifts, trusting that we can use them to develop ourselves and nurture others. I want to express my deep gratitude to my special education teachers back in grade school and high school, for opening the eyes of my heart to see, despite my physical blindness.
We thank our fellow Ateneans for journeying with us as we went through the process of learning how to soar above the storm, or to bear the painful glare of the sun in our eyes, fearing no blindness, as we confront all challenges. In behalf of all the scholars, I thank our benefactors for showing us the joy in giving out of what we need ourselves, so that the welfare of those with greater need may be promoted. As a scholar of the Ateneo Schools Parents’ Council, I am indebted to the whole Ateneo community, especially to all parents, for giving me the opportunity to receive the best education.
Likewise, we commend the organizations we worked for and with, in order to extend our services to others. I particularly praise the efforts of the Resources for the Blind Inc. , a nonprofit organization that has met the special needs of the visually impaired in different ways: from providing the equipment that we need, to distributing books and magazines in Braille, large print, or audio format, and to spreading the Word of God by giving the blind free Bibles. May our Lord bless you even more.
Finally, words of much love and thanks will never suffice to let our loved ones – immediate family members and relatives – know fully our sincere appreciation for their being here with us. We praise God for choosing them to be the greatest stars shining in our lives. No matter what our weaknesses are, we can most gladly boast about them, for God’s grace is sufficient for us, and His divine power is made manifest through the loving acts of these special people. Congratulations to all of us, and may blessings pour on us in the years to come.