ua&p grad

Got in the mail the valedictory speech of April Lacson, Magna Cum Laude, UA&P batch 2006.

Its starts with such audacity, I was only compelled to read more:

I am not graduating today and neither are you. My graduation came the day I was told that I could finally bind my thesis after 51 revisions. There were no cheers or claps that day. There were no witnesses. Only a quiet sense of fulfillment and a voice within me that said it was done and I had done it. That was my graduation. When was yours?

Reminded me of my own thoughts during my graduation:

During graduation practice we were told that this was a show. And, it is. For today, all the pomp and ceremony only serves to show that the world has finally recognized what you knew and earned long ago. Today, we receive one of the most expensive pieces of paper we will ever buy. Valuable not only because we’ve spent almost half a million on tuition fees, books, and allowance, but more importantly, because we’ve given four or five years of our lives to get it. Years we will never get back.

She gives her own theory on why Philippine society is the way it is:

The history of mankind is the history of individuals. Just as we forget the armies, but treasure the generals that lead them, society forgets those who follow and remembers those who dare to shape the world according to their own vision.

Do you wonder why the Philippines is struggling or why, after millions of dollars in aid and development efforts we remain steeped in poverty? It’s because we lack individuals. Not people, individuals. Because too many of our fellow citizens have thrown away their capacity for independent thought. Because too many have abandoned their creative potential in exchange for a pretense at existence. Because we have become a country of superficial imitators.

Have you ever quoted an author without understanding what he meant? Ever parroted an answer to get the grade? Ever watched a show, bought a dress, or joined a club not because you liked it but because everyone else has seen, admired or joined? Then you’re as guilty as the bum on the street who refuses to work, and just as culpable for our country’s indigence. Perhaps even more so, especially since we have the means and the education to have known better.

Then she goes on with her message, which is a brave message I think, for a 21-year-old to deliver in a roomful of parents and teachers with strong conventional inclinations (UA&P is an Opus Dei university; would expect this kind of healthy aggression on the podium from a UP graduate):

Well, today, I challenge you. To become individuals. To get our brains back and start pursuing a goal that’s entirely our own. I challenge you to start standing on your own feet and on your own judgment. I know it’s scary. And if anything goes wrong, we’ve no one to blame but ourselves. But I think being wrong a thousand times is worth more than living your life based on someone else’s values. Millions are already doing that. They’re everywhere. They’re people who think one way but act another. They’re kids who like fine arts but take up nursing because it’s easier to earn that way. They’re soldiers who die in battle without knowing why the battle was fought. It’s time we started distinguishing ourselves from them.

No one profits from your being ordinary
. Dare to imagine. To think BIG. Then, dare to make it come true. Let us push the limits of what is possible, but most of all, let’s seek to give our lives purpose. Having fun and enjoying life does not necessarily mean pursuing the stupid, the popular, or the meaningless. Don’t look for a job. Look for your calling. Don’t find a hobby. Look for a passion. And if you want to study again, forget the diploma, get an education.

Kudos to her for speaking from the heart. This is the kind of attitudinal change we need to see in our society and in ourselves.

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  • irv

    I must say however that the speech is obviously written from a priviledged standpoint, from a sheltered reality possibly (hopefully not) even from a spoiled upbringing. The valedictorian shouldn’t set kids who like fine arts but take nursing as bad examples, and certainly not the soldiers fighting a battle they do not fully understand. There are harsh realities in the real world that the valedictorian obviously does not understand / know about. People cannot always do what they want, because there are other responsibilities, other priorities, more immediate concerns. What’s so bad about earning the easier way? Isn’t that a great opportunity especially for poor families? There are real consequences in the real world. If you’re poor and you don’t earn, you go hungry, and your loved ones may go hungry.

    Of course it’s sad when people don’t heed their true calling. I’m just saying that in the real world, there are other needs that have real consequences, and if people choose self-sacrifice to bring more food to the table for their loved ones, we have no right to criticize or look down on them.

  • irv

    I must say however that the speech is obviously written from a priviledged standpoint, from a sheltered reality possibly (hopefully not) even from a spoiled upbringing. The valedictorian shouldn’t set kids who like fine arts but take nursing as bad examples, and certainly not the soldiers fighting a battle they do not fully understand. There are harsh realities in the real world that the valedictorian obviously does not understand / know about. People cannot always do what they want, because there are other responsibilities, other priorities, more immediate concerns. What’s so bad about earning the easier way? Isn’t that a great opportunity especially for poor families? There are real consequences in the real world. If you’re poor and you don’t earn, you go hungry, and your loved ones may go hungry.Of course it’s sad when people don’t heed their true calling. I’m just saying that in the real world, there are other needs that have real consequences, and if people choose self-sacrifice to bring more food to the table for their loved ones, we have no right to criticize or look down on them.

  • jo

    Valid points, irv. Idealism or heeding one’s calling, although laudable, does not necessarily put food on the table.

    Fiery speech like this should be taken in proper context: it is given by someone from a position of privilege, yes, but to an audience of young people who are similarly privileged. “To whom more is given, more is asked.” I think the “more” that is asked is in this sense is precisely to go beyond what is easy, to live in possibility not as a luxury but as a must.

  • jo

    Valid points, irv. Idealism or heeding one’s calling, although laudable, does not necessarily put food on the table. Fiery speech like this should be taken in proper context: it is given by someone from a position of privilege, yes, but to an audience of young people who are similarly privileged. “To whom more is given, more is asked.” I think the “more” that is asked is in this sense is precisely to go beyond what is easy, to live in possibility not as a luxury but as a must.

  • di

    April Lacson isn’t actually as ‘priviledeged’ (in material terms if that’s what you mean) as you think. we actually admire her because despite of all that, she has shown us how brilliant we could be as human beings, and that we could really go far despite of our shortcomings. You’re right, idealism can’t feed us but are we all just after material things? do we just go with the flow and forget that we are capable of having our own convictions? By the way, you’re all wrong by thinking that all UA&P students are materially privileged.

  • di

    April Lacson isn’t actually as ‘priviledeged’ (in material terms if that’s what you mean) as you think. we actually admire her because despite of all that, she has shown us how brilliant we could be as human beings, and that we could really go far despite of our shortcomings. You’re right, idealism can’t feed us but are we all just after material things? do we just go with the flow and forget that we are capable of having our own convictions? By the way, you’re all wrong by thinking that all UA&P students are materially privileged.

  • Anonymous

    its not about being rich or poor we are humans,.. we are dignified beings , we just need to discern that these things are possible that thru grace that we can be shakers and movers in our own way, in our own circumstances not needing any wealth or any disposition….
    “we hold the oppurtunity to level ourselves to the level of worms or of beings of reason and beauty created in the image and likeness of GOd”

  • Anonymous

    its not about being rich or poor we are humans,.. we are dignified beings , we just need to discern that these things are possible that thru grace that we can be shakers and movers in our own way, in our own circumstances not needing any wealth or any disposition….”we hold the oppurtunity to level ourselves to the level of worms or of beings of reason and beauty created in the image and likeness of GOd”

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. Then there was no need to say this: “I must say however that the speech is obviously written from a priviledged standpoint, from a sheltered reality.” Idealism is a dream a person makes for a better future. It is the guiding light through which one turns to in times of trouble. Even in times of defeat, idealism is the value we hold dear, to do right against wrong; to fight temptation and do better. What she was saying was simple “follow your heart, your dreams, and dare to be you.” And yes, the valedictorian’s not as priviledged as portrayed in the comments above. If I remember correctly, she even came from a public high school and studied at UA&P under scholarship.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. Then there was no need to say this: “I must say however that the speech is obviously written from a priviledged standpoint, from a sheltered reality.” Idealism is a dream a person makes for a better future. It is the guiding light through which one turns to in times of trouble. Even in times of defeat, idealism is the value we hold dear, to do right against wrong; to fight temptation and do better. What she was saying was simple “follow your heart, your dreams, and dare to be you.” And yes, the valedictorian’s not as priviledged as portrayed in the comments above. If I remember correctly, she even came from a public high school and studied at UA&P under scholarship.

  • Anonymous

    I guess the valedictorian’s point was proven when someone automatically assumed a privileged background from someone with a last name like Lacson and graduating from UA&P.

    That’s the way the world operates, and why our country fails. April’s call was to precisely get away from the stereotypes & to be true to one’s calling. Plus, who said idealism and stepping out of the norm cant put food on the table…

  • Anonymous

    I guess the valedictorian’s point was proven when someone automatically assumed a privileged background from someone with a last name like Lacson and graduating from UA&P. That’s the way the world operates, and why our country fails. April’s call was to precisely get away from the stereotypes & to be true to one’s calling. Plus, who said idealism and stepping out of the norm cant put food on the table…

  • Anonymous

    A friend told me about this site and I figured it’s time I commented especially since I hate being misunderstood:

    The contention about this being the real world where there are real consequences is noted. But I knew that when I spoke and I wasnt referring to any imaginary world when I made the speech. I was referring to the here and now and to what could be.

    Our country has been bypassed by other developing countries precisely because most people accept the real world as it is. Immutable. Irv’s contention implies that dreaming, principles, values and the courage to live them are the privilege of the rich. I disagree.

    It also confuses easy as effective/efficient and easy as a means to merely spare oneself from making the effort. The first is meritorious. The second is fatal, precisely because it leads you to complacency, never to be reformers or movers.

    Feeding your family is a beautiful thought. Wont it be more beautiful if you do it while doing the thing you love? Point is, it does not have to come at the expense of oneself. Besides that, it neglects the side of the family. I dont know about you, but I would never accept it if my sibling were to give up fine arts for nursing or whatever course she wanted merely to put food on the table. There are more and greater things worth working for than a full stomach.

    To those who did make the “pragmatic” choice, well,I merely wanted to remind them of what they lost or gave up. And that it’s never too late to try and change that.

    We were not put on this world to be slaves, neither of one another or of circumstance or expediency.

    Finally, yes, I did go to UAP on a scholarship and no, I went to a private high school, albeit small and not so popular. But these facts should have been irrelevant especially since I hold my views to be absolute (i.e. applicable to everyone). Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    A friend told me about this site and I figured it’s time I commented especially since I hate being misunderstood:The contention about this being the real world where there are real consequences is noted. But I knew that when I spoke and I wasnt referring to any imaginary world when I made the speech. I was referring to the here and now and to what could be. Our country has been bypassed by other developing countries precisely because most people accept the real world as it is. Immutable. Irv’s contention implies that dreaming, principles, values and the courage to live them are the privilege of the rich. I disagree. It also confuses easy as effective/efficient and easy as a means to merely spare oneself from making the effort. The first is meritorious. The second is fatal, precisely because it leads you to complacency, never to be reformers or movers. Feeding your family is a beautiful thought. Wont it be more beautiful if you do it while doing the thing you love? Point is, it does not have to come at the expense of oneself. Besides that, it neglects the side of the family. I dont know about you, but I would never accept it if my sibling were to give up fine arts for nursing or whatever course she wanted merely to put food on the table. There are more and greater things worth working for than a full stomach. To those who did make the “pragmatic” choice, well,I merely wanted to remind them of what they lost or gave up. And that it’s never too late to try and change that. We were not put on this world to be slaves, neither of one another or of circumstance or expediency. Finally, yes, I did go to UAP on a scholarship and no, I went to a private high school, albeit small and not so popular. But these facts should have been irrelevant especially since I hold my views to be absolute (i.e. applicable to everyone). Thank you.

  • twiggy

    YOU KNOW WHAT, TO ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID UA&P WAS A DUMPING GROUND FOR SPOILED RICH KIDS FUCK YOU. F-U-C-K YOU! im from uap and you all need to just shut your traps. the valedictory address was witty and bold. obviously of a higher form of intelligence you all could ever exhibit.

  • twiggy

    YOU KNOW WHAT, TO ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID UA&P WAS A DUMPING GROUND FOR SPOILED RICH KIDS FUCK YOU. F-U-C-K YOU! im from uap and you all need to just shut your traps. the valedictory address was witty and bold. obviously of a higher form of intelligence you all could ever exhibit.

  • Anonymous

    im a 3rd year UA&P student… im very happy that thru UA&P CAS curriculum…i learned to make business with a small capital
    im part of the C social strata
    my dad’s working as an ofw
    in my own circusmtance and own events,,,i learned to instill values and meaning in my small business..everytime i finish transaction with a client… im in bliss..that,,in my own way..that certain time i have used the fullest of my faculties,,not just to make money,..but to rekindle
    the reason and light ,, natural to every individual.
    I own a spa…. I have many clients who are sodomites…
    in every visit…i try to explain,, give articles..,
    and theSe clients realize

    im not a fanatic…im not ideal
    its just the right

    that what we are proud in ua&p …
    lets promote the dignity of human person
    -UNIVERSITAS-

  • Anonymous

    im a 3rd year UA&P student… im very happy that thru UA&P CAS curriculum…i learned to make business with a small capital im part of the C social stratamy dad’s working as an ofwin my own circusmtance and own events,,,i learned to instill values and meaning in my small business..everytime i finish transaction with a client… im in bliss..that,,in my own way..that certain time i have used the fullest of my faculties,,not just to make money,..but to rekindlethe reason and light ,, natural to every individual.I own a spa…. I have many clients who are sodomites…in every visit…i try to explain,, give articles..,and theSe clients realizeim not a fanatic…im not ideal its just the rightthat what we are proud in ua&p … lets promote the dignity of human person-UNIVERSITAS-

  • anonymous

    “Then she goes on with her message, which is a brave message I think, for a 21-year-old to deliver in a roomful of parents and teachers with strong conventional inclinations (UA&P is an Opus Dei university; would expect this kind of healthy aggression on the podium from a UP graduate)”

    – I don’t think there’s anything contradicting with what she said and the values being taught in UA&P. If there’s one thing that Opus Dei (since you dragged them into this) teaches is to be aware of one’s own personal freedom, individuality and use it responsibly (which the speech mentioned).