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Passionate dreamers never quit

(Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from the speech delivered by Ms. Delos Santos, valedictorian of the Class of 2011, Sisters of Mary Girlstown.)

Our graduation is a dream come true for me, my fellow graduates and most especially our parents.

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Finishing secondary education was a big dream, even an impossible dream for all of us. Big dreams are always accompanied by seemingly insurmountable challenges but the difficulties cannot stop us from reaching the finish line.

Passionate dreamers never quit! I never quit!

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I was born poor—always worried about tomorrow, thinking God was so far, and no one cared. I got tired of hearing fights over money and other things.

I was the second child. My family had a happy and comfortable life that did not last long. The week I was born in 1995, Father lost his job, our only source of livelihood. He tried to look for another job, but failed.

My very good and religious father changed. Several times, I heard him say I was born a week before he lost his job. I was hurt because I thought I caused the family’s misfortune. I wished I had not been born.

When our life reached its lowest point, I started to hate my father. Anger filled my heart. I had to help put food on the table and earn money for school supplies and allowance by doing laundry for our neighbors.

I missed precious days in school. What I was happy about while washing clothes was I got enough time to dream. In one of my daydreams I would be operating a washing machine.

I took the examination for the Sisters of Mary School, which I passed, but I dreamt of going to the Regional Science High School in Isabela, where we lived after my parents separated. I also passed the entrance exam there.

Unfortunately, the uncle who promised to support my studies died in a car accident. I was left with no choice but to enroll at the Sisters of Mary School.

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Now I realize that everything was planned.

This school changed me a lot, not just in the physical aspects but my whole being. It made me realize what I had been trying to figure out in life. The school provided me skills and abilities. It gave me the will to reach my goals no matter how difficult the road might be.

I was so insecure before, but now I have the confidence to do tasks even in front of many people. I felt so weak to face many trials before but now I can face them squarely and smartly find ways to overcome them.

I had lost hope that I could achieve my dreams but now I can stand firmly, determined to reach beyond my dreams. I discovered my capabilities and realized that, when I fall, I should pick myself up and just keep going.

Thus I can say, I am much better than yesterday. I am now ready for the future. I am not yet great … but someday I will be!

No words can express the gratitude I and my fellow graduates feel. All of our being we owe to the motherly touch of the Sisters of Mary family.

To our Heavenly Father, thank you for showing Your unconditional love and for nurturing us through your instruments.

To our beloved founder, Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz, thank you for being the author of this great story of miracle.

To Sr. Maria Cho, thank you for continuing the work of Mother Michaela; to Sr. Zeniola, our local superior; to our very dynamic principal, Sr. Amelia Luces; to our mothers, the sisters who patiently guide us; to our teachers, who painstakingly honed our knowledge, skills and attitude; to our spiritual friends—thank you for your guidance through your homilies; to Sr. Elena for bringing innovations in the school, to all our benefactors, thank you for your generosity.

And to everyone, who in one way or another contributed to our development, we pray for your good health so that you can continue being God’s instruments in showing His love.

To my fellow graduates, continue being the living witnesses of Fr. Al.

To our little sisters and brothers, may your presence here inspire you to study more seriously, grab every opportunity to learn, and always try to bring out the best in you.

Do not settle for mediocrity but aim for excellence. Take advantage of this paradise because everything you need to become good children of God and good citizens is here. Use them properly and take good care of all the facilities for the next generation.

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TAGS: Darren Danielle Q. Delos Santos, Education, Philippines, Sisters of Mary Girlstown, speech, valedictorian
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