(This is the valedictory speech of Gabriel B. Arriola, Class of 2015 Valedictorian, and recipient of the Herman Harrell Horne Highest Award of Distinction. He delivered this address during the 18th Graduation Ceremony and 13th Commencement Exercises held at the SMX Convention Center. We are publishing the full text.)
To our beloved school directress, Mrs. Ma Luz S. Villanueva, our school administrator, Mr. Dante R. Villanueva, our school vice principal, Mr. Jonathan Resterio, to all other administration officers of Harrell Horne Integrated School, our honorable guest, Mr. Bernard Cañaberal, our alumni speaker, Ms. Kristelle Dawn Fernandez, members of the faculty, parents, graduates and friends, a pleasant afternoon.
One of the noblest things that will make the Lord Jesus Christ happy is the word Gratefulness and the magic word, “Thank you”. We must say “Thank you” to everyone who has done things that touched our lives: our school, teachers, parents, classmates, friends, relatives, and most of all to God who made all things possible. We could never be where we are now without them.
We are nothing without God. Our life, our loved ones, they all came from God. We could never make it through our problems without His guidance. Thank you, God for guiding us through.
Once our parents decided to put us in a school, they gave their full trust to the school to become partners in nurturing us to become well-molded individuals. I myself could testify that my parents made a good decision in placing me in the hands of Harrell Horne Integrated School. I was once a shy person especially in talking to a crowd, but the school gave me all the opportunities to improve. I was once a weak and sickly child and the school was considerate until my health became stable. And most of all, I gained more than what I needed to learn. Harrell Horne Integrated School did not only teach me what was inside a book but also all the needed values an individual should have, the humility or kababaang loob for it is the foundation of all the values.
To Harrell Horne Integrated School, thank you for being my second home for thirteen years. I still remember my first day back when I was in nursery. I am wearing a blue uniform and shorts, crying because I was about to be separated from my mother. And now, I am here in front of you as a full grown man, a forward looking individual excited to see the fulfillment of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, the Founder’s vitamins for success that says, “For I know the plans I have in you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a bright future.”
Teachers, my alma mater, Harrell Horne, thank you for bringing the best in us amidst challenges and rough times. Thank you for teaching us the power of faith and not leaning on our own understanding. Thank you for opening our mind to the reality of life na hindi lahat ng ayon sa gusto mo ay mapapasakamay mo. At sa buhay, hindi laging ikaw ang panalo. Dapat tayong matutong tumanggap ng pagkatalo dahil ito ay magsisilbing inspirasyon natin para bumangon at mas abutin ang ating mga pangarap. Thank you for all the scoldings or reminders, making you truly our second parents in school that shows authority for it helped us to become an enlightened person. I personally saw how you struggle to do what is right for us even facing adversities and critics. We are proud to be true blooded Harrellians because our destinies are being confirmed and declared everyday in our creed that we will live a righteous life. Kung may taong mang aapi, lalabanan namin sa pamamaraan ng Diyos at di sa pamamaraan ng tao. To assert your right and seek justice to what has been done to you must be in the righteous way dahil hindi maaring ang maling nagawa ay gagantihan din ng isa pang mali. We will be the beacon of lights to our family and to our country.
I now believe that there is forever. Aside from the love of God, the love of our family is also forever and unconditional especially our parents’ love for us. We must appreciate all their efforts in making us happy. All of the things they are doing are for our sake. Our parents work so hard every day just to fulfill our needs and even gave us our wants. They never get tired in waking us up every morning, preparing us food and reminding us that they will love us whatever happens. All the sacrifices, our parents have already done them. And what can we give them in return? We must all be good sons and daughters to them. It is more than enough.
My parents have always been supportive to me in all aspects. Whenever I cannot fight for myself, my parents stood up for me. Whenever I have problems, the first persons I go to are mama and papa. I am really blessed to have parents like them. They have been my inspiration ever since. I have committed myself in making them happy, making them feel that I am not a headache but rather a blessing. Mama and Papa, thank you for being the greatest mom and dad in the world. Sa lahat ng laban ko, mapa-academic or extra-curricular, laging nandyan sa tabi ko sina mama at papa. Noong panahong gumagawa ako ng thesis, 3:00 am na, di pa rin sila makatulog, tinatanong ko kung bakit, kasi raw di pa ako natutulog. Kaya ganoon ko nalang sila kamahal. Mama, papa, marami pa akong plano para sa inyo, kaya po sana ipangako niyo lang sa akin na alagaan niyo po ang health niyo para sa dulo, kasama ko pa po kayo sa aking tagumpay.
To you our dear parents, don’t get tired of nurturing in our hearts the love so that we may live in peace and harmony with others, because that is the greatest commandment. Love covers the multitude of sin.
Let us also acknowledge our relatives who provided all kinds of love and support to us.
To 4th year batch 2014-2015, thank you for all the memories. Thank you for being my brothers and sisters. We may part ways, but our hearts shall remain as one. Ito na ang oras na magseryoso tayo. Hindi lahat ng pagkakataon ay dapat masaya. Kasi kung puro tayo, kasiyahan at kalokohan, wala tayong mararating sa buhay natin. Sama sama nating lakarin ang tamang daan para sa ating magandang kinabukasan because we, the harrellians, are destined to bring God’s glory.
To end, let me quote Helen Keller, she said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Huwag nating tanggihan ang mga pagsubok at paghihirap dahil yan ang magandang inspirasyon para maabot natin ang ating pangarap.
Good day, magandang buhay sa ating lahat. I am Gabriel Arriola, Thank you and God bless us all.