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A commencement speech for Class of 2022 - FEU Roosevelt Marikina


My high school teacher, Mrs. Nina Ramo, invited me to deliver an inspirational speech to the Grade 12 graduates of FEU Roosevelt - Marikina (formerly Roosevelt College Marikina) last 21 July 2022. Quick back story -- I studied in Roosevelt College Marikina from Kinder to Grade 6, spent the first two years of high school in Marikina Science High School, then transferred back to Roosevelt. I spent ten (10) years in Roosevelt, so it holds a very special place in my heart. I was delighted and honoured to join them on this beautiful occasion!

It felt like I was graduating too!
Fun (or lack thereof) fact: It was my first time writing and delivering a speech (I still haven't overcome my fear of writing speeches (or writing in general) because I know I have difficulties in expressing myself) so the anxious level is too high!
My teachers in highschool -- Mrs. Fasoy, Mrs. Ramo, [me], Mrs. Royol, and Mrs. Caperlac! It seems they stopped aging the second I graduated! I was so happy seeing them!
I even saw Kuya RNG!! He's the official photographer of Roosevelt since we were kids! Grabe, legendary talaga! Deserve nya rin ng loyaltee award!!
Appreciating this plaque of recognition! Thank you for this!

Again, Congratulations to all the graduates, parents, families, and teachers of FEU Roosevelt Marikina! Padayon, Tamaraws Class of 2022!

Read my short speech below:

"Pursuing Dreams and Fostering Resilience in the Face of Adversity"

Good afternoon graduates, parents, teachers, and all guests present here.

I would like to thank FEU-Roosevelt Marikina for inviting me to speak today. I am pleased to be here before you and join you on this beautiful occasion.

We are all gathered here today to celebrate a significant milestone in your lives. First of all, congratulations to all of you. You should be very proud of yourselves for reaching this goal. To parents and families of those graduating, congratulations also. Your unending support contributed to the success of our graduates. I am sure that you are incredibly proud of your graduates as they embark on a new journey in their lives. To the teachers who tirelessly build and hone our students’ lives, thank you very much for your dedication and patience.

I know that you waited for this day to happen. The past two years have been tough and unforgiving. We’ve lost lives, we’ve lost connections, and we’ve been deprived of physical learning opportunities. We are not only reeling from our grief and outrage over different kinds of losses, but we are also trying to survive as the pandemic continues to leave its mark on our lives. I want you to know that learning while fighting the COVID-19 challenges is an exceptional accomplishment. So pat yourselves on the back, and be proud that you made it through. Today is the day we recognize your milestones and breakthroughs. Today is also a remarkable turning point in your life, as you will enter new adventures in your academic journey.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made our lives more complicated and has built more uncertainties ahead of us, I hope you remain determined to chase your dreams and pursue your goals. Even I was not spared from the harsh effects of this pandemic. If there are things that I learned in these trying times, it is to be kind to yourself, compassionate toward others, and comfortable asking for help.

Last year, I was in a similar situation as you. I was forced to finish my Master's studies at UP since it was the final year of my residency. Completing my thesis while being socially isolated alone brought enormous stress to my well-being. Not to mention the societal pressure of being expected to be more productive as we work and study from the comfort of our homes. On top of that, I buried myself with a massive workload as I tried to prove to myself that I am capable of being productive while also trying to survive a global pandemic. All the stress and pressure I put on myself eventually took a toll on my mental health. I even had to seek professional help after graduation and undergo regular talk therapy sessions to alleviate my stress and overcome depression. But I am glad and proud that I did.

That was when I realized I was too hard on myself; I strived and worked so hard until it has become unhealthy for my well-being that I lost control over my life entirely. It is difficult to unlearn this mindset and habit as we grew up in an environment where academic and professional achievement is a measure of success (you know, for me it is nice when your parents and your family flex you on social media, it is somehow validating, but I think there has to be some limitations as it puts pressure to our children.) I hope one day we slowly learn that our success can be measured beyond the awards, achievements, and recognition. While excelling in class and being productive is good and fulfilling, we should never forget to put ourselves and our well-being first. It is okay to pause, reflect, and check in with yourself about everything you do for yourself and others at this challenging time.

Every one of us is fighting a battle. Our society made us believe that courage is a marker of moral excellence, but sometimes, kindness to ourselves and others is much more important. To our graduating class, I hope we offer ourselves the same respect and compassion we provide to others. Our true success is about choosing kindness and compassion.

Yet, reaching out to others for help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a revelation of strength and confidence. Asking for help is deeply rooted in fear of being a burden, a fear of imposing, or even a fear of being too needy and dependent. Asking for help is a sign of being a normal human being. Don’t be afraid to take the step and reach out to others. As my mentor told me, people are happy to help you, and you will help them feel validated as they have the opportunity to share their gifts with others.

My pieces of advice may sound too basic and cliche, but this considerably changed the way I perceive life and appreciate myself more, especially during this time of uncertainty. I hope everyone finds the courage to be kind and compassionate as you take the next big step in your life.

Before I end this speech, I would like to take this opportunity to honor my beloved teachers. They have inspired and molded me into the strong and independent woman I am today. Thank you, Ma’am Lauraya, Ma’am Ramo, Ma’am Mabini, Ma’am Caperlac, Ma’am Royol, Ma’am Luci, Ma’am Manuel, and everyone else; thank you very much. And last but not least, thanks to our almighty God for blessing us every day and providing us with wisdom.

Again, my name is Dinnah Feye Andal, Batch 2009 - Roosevelt College Marikina, Iskolar ng Bayan, binabati kayong lahat. Congratulations, graduates! Padayon! Thank you very much.