My niece is celebrating her birthday today. In celebration of her birthday, I want to share her valedictory address when she graduated in high school as the top student.
A valedictory is a farewell speech that is given by the student with the highest marks in their class on their graduation ceremony. This is my niece’s speech:
Our Reverend, (Parish Priest), honorable principal, (state the name), esteemed faculty members, parents, guests, graduates, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to be standing here in front of you. It seems only yesterday when we were having this graduation ceremony in elementary four years ago. We were young then. We were full of hopes and aspirations. We thought that the quest for success would be easy. The viewpoint about life from a 12-year old perspective is really full of innocence and idealism.
Time moves on and so does life.
Now we are in another chapter of our life: Graduation from high school.
I came from a typical family whose dream is to have us children be educated and be able to stand on our own. It all started with my maternal grandfather. When all the people in his community were busy working in their farms, my grandfather was busy working in paid jobs for him to send his children to school. This family tradition of parents sending their children to school is carried until my generation and hopefully until the coming generations. Education and the endless quest for a brighter future are what motivated me to persevere, to be the best of what I can be and to be shaped to the kind of girl that I am now.
Yes, dear batchmates, it is a fact that education is truly the key and the guarantee to achieve greater heights and goals in life. As proven many times over, knowledge is power. Today marks the culmination of ten years in our educational journey. When we think back through the years in our schooling, there were times that our perseverance and endurance were put to test. Many times, we have thought of giving up. However, in the end we were always encouraged by the good results of our struggles to meet the overwhelmingly unending deadlines of loads of school requirements and of the many sleepless nights of studying for our examinations. Today, we reap the fruit of our efforts. Holding our high school diploma gives us a feeling of fulfillment and of pride for doing our best in our own way.
After today comes another challenge for us to hurdle: that is going to college and hopefully finishing a degree. College life will entail more sleepless nights and more challenges. In the meantime, let us enjoy this feeling of elation from our high school graduation. Let us savor this moment for this comes just once in our way.
Teachers play an important role in the lives of the students. Oftentimes, students misinterpret their teachers. Students complain about their teachers being strict, inconsiderate, perfectionist and not understanding. The students do not realize that the actual truth of the matter is that all teachers are selflessly helping and preparing them to fulfill their dream of being successful in life. My batchmates, I firmly believe that it is but proper that before we say our final goodbye to the four portals of our Alma Mater, we should express our sincere gratitude to all our teachers to assure them that their endless efforts are appreciated and are not in vain.
Parents from all walks of life have the same hope and dream for their children. That wishful dream is for their children to have a life that is better and more prosperous than what they are currently experiencing. Parents take all the necessary measures; endure all hardships and difficulties to ensure that their children will succeed. Parents go to great lengths, take the extra mile and set aside their own personal yearnings for their children’s education. They sacrifice because they believe that “uray ayna ti ayan da ket mabiag da nu adda ti adal da”. Believe me, my dear batchmates, when I tell you that our happiness, our achievements and success are our parents’ happiness, achievements and success as well. Looking at us sitting at our places now brings tears of joy and sense of pride to our parents. The years of sacrifices for them just to see us seated in our spots now seem to fade away.
My dear batchmates, let us show our love and appreciation to our parents in every opportunity that we have. Gestures of love like saying thank you, hugging or kissing are not difficult to do considering what our parents go through just to send us to school. Our parents deserve recognition for their achievement in rearing us, the graduates of today. Let us give all our parents a very warm round of applause.
Finally, I say, our future lies in our hands, dear graduates. We will become what we make of ourselves. We will have our ups and downs. We will stumble along the way but I advise you to meet all challenges head on. Do not be contented to just go with the flow of life. Struggle to make a difference. Spread your wings. Aim high. With all our best, let us all find our own spots in this world. Study hard to fulfill the lifelong dreams that you have. Be the best of what you can be to have the life that you have always wanted. Hold on and never lose hope. Be patient. Respect others especially your parents and everyone who is older than you. Be humble and take advice from others. Listen first before complaining. Always believe in yourself. Above all, in everything that we do, let us always seek for God’s guidance and wisdom.
On behalf of my batchmates, I express a great appreciation to our Parish Priest and to our principal, a sincerest gratitude to all our teachers, an acknowledgment of love to all our parents and a thankful farewell to our Alma Mater.
To everyone, I wish you all the best in life. Let us begin again another chapter in our life because true happiness is found along the way!
I found this speech in my old post in Facebook:
Zhen: It’s now 2:47 a.m.,25 March 2010. I haven’t gone to sleep yet. I just finished the speech of my niece who is graduating as the TOP STUDENT(Valedictorian) of her class (4th year high school, year 10). She requested me to make her a speech last night & she needs it in 6 hours’ time. I just sent the speech to her. I am truly proud of you,Mimi. I need to sleep now. Duty done. Yes! Again, congratulations, mi hija!
Happy birthday, my dearest daughter niece Mimi. I pray that all your prayers will be answered this year and that all your plans will succeed. Cheers to more birthdays and more blessings to come! Love and hugs from all of us.