XAVIER SCHOOL GRADE SCHOOL GRADUATION CEREMONIES
San Juan, Metro Manila
March 20, 2019
Grade School Sports Center
By: Chris Tiu (XS Batch 2003)
March 20, 2019
Grade School Sports Center
By: Chris Tiu (XS Batch 2003)
Fr. Aristotle Dy, Mrs. Jane Cacacho, Mrs. Flora Ann Alfonso, Ms. Joanne Pusta, families, faculty and staff, a shout out to my former teachers and last but definitely not the least, to our dearest graduates, good morning to you all!
Firstly, a big congratulations to our graduates! Thank you for having me this morning. What an honor and privilege it is to be speaking to you. I must admit, I have been to a few of these gatherings before, but it is always special coming home to my alma matter, Xavier School. Being part of the “outside world” as you would call it, I have really developed a great appreciation of being a Xaverian. As students, we sometimes take for granted the privilege it is to be a part of the Xavier community. Many outsiders aspire to have the level of education, esteemed faculty, religious formation, and unique brotherhood that we have as Xaverians. I for a fact know that it is some of my friends’ dream to send their boys to Xavier School, because of the camaraderie they see amongst us. So always remember that each of you are ambassadors of this esteemed institution, and that your actions reflect not just yourselves, but on our community as a whole.
GO OUT AND EXPLORE!
Since you are graduating from grade school, it’s customary for me to offer some form of wisdom or advice. I was told I only have 8 minutes, so let me get right into it. The first thing I would advise is to explore! Try out new things even if it means going out of your comfort zones, even if it scares you a bit.
When I was in Grade 3, I loved playing basketball with my friends during recess and lunch breaks. Every time the bell sounded, we would literally sprint through the corridors and down the stairs just to be able to reserve a basketball court in the quadrangle. The coach of the SBP team, Mr. Ronnie Mutuc, saw me play and asked if I wanted to try-out for the school team. I said I’d ask my moms permission. So I asked my mom and she said NO, since she didn’t want my grades to be compromised. Truth be told, I was kinda relieved because I also didn’t want to go through the try-outs since those things really make me nervous. So I told that to Coach Mutuc. The next thing I knew, the Prefect of Discipline was calling my house, wanting to speak to my mom. Gosh, I was so worried. Later on I learned that the Prefect of Discipline, who also happened to be Mr. Mutuc called the house to convince my mom to allow me to try-out for the school team. With his persistence, and since there are no guarantees anyway, my mom finally agreed. Sure enough, I did make the team. But I spent most of my time warming the bench and only got a few minutes of playing time, just because the rule was that each player had to play. And today, the rest of that story is history.
So a word to both you and your parents, take chances and opportunities – whether it be in the arts, music, community service, or sports – you never know where you might be good at, or better yet, you never know where you will find your purpose in life.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO SUCCESS
Secondly, I’d like to tell you that there are no shortcuts to success. You must learn to endure the difficult road. Modern technology certainly makes life easier and more convenient. We get used to this. And many times, we parents tend to overly protect our kids, without us even realizing it.
In my first few years in college playing for the Ateneo Blue Eagles, I was again sitting on the bench most of the time. I was frustrated as I was training so hard every single day, making so many sacrifices and yet I would hardly set foot on the court. Finally I was given a chance to play in an Ateneo vs La Salle match in the UAAP, a game every player dreamed of playing. And to my horror, I embarrassed myself on national television by missing a crucial wide open layup which caused us the game. I became known as the “choker”. I wanted to hibernate, and it only reinforced my feeling of quitting basketball altogether. I took a year off, and with the encouragement of my coaches, family and friends, I decided to dig deep and give it another shot. And I’m glad I did.
That experience humbled me. It made me a stronger person and I gained wisdom from it. But more importantly, it made me more courageous. I became unafraid to face pressure-packed situations where stakes are high. Imagine if I took the short-cut and quit, maybe I wouldn’t be standing in front of you guys today.
Media often champions these 20 or 30-something year old tech billionaires, overnight Youtube stars with millions of followers, young athletes with huge contracts, and the like, and make it seem that there are fast and easy routes to becoming accomplished. But let’s not forget that to get where we want to go, it requires a lot of patience, perseverance and sacrifice.
FOLLOW JESUS AND PUT GOD IN THE CENTER OF YOUR LIVES
My last advise or reminder for you guys is to always put God in the center of your lives and try your best to be like Jesus, kind and forgiving but also holding on to your values in this modern world.
I am not sure if you are aware of the name Fr. Jean Desautels. He is a French-Canadian Jesuit who was expelled from Communist China and came to the Philippines instead to put up a Catholic Chinese-Filipino school. Fr. Desautels founded Xavier school in 1955. I was fortunate to have spent some time with him just a few days before he passed away in 2002. I was a senior HS student then. I still vividly remember what he said: “Grow up, but don’t grow old”. It took me a while to figure it out. What he meant was that we should grow up to become good men. But still remain like a child, completely dependent on and trusting in God our Father, just like a child relies on his parents.
I’m sure most of you know me not as a basketball player, a tv host or a businessman, but rather as that guy in the classroom in the anti-bullying poster. The truth is, I agreed to be the face of the anti-bullying campaign because I was once bullied. I know what it feels like to be cornered, isolated and down. For one, it taught me to stand up and defend myself. But it also taught me a valuable lesson – that I never wanted to be a bully, and that it takes much more of a man to be kind to others, whether it be our classmates, teachers, school and household staff or family members. Bullies may feel powerful and mighty, but this kind of power is fleeting and meaningless. Just like in the outside world, success is often measured by the size of your bank account, the number of followers you have on social media, or being recognized by others. But the true measure of success is doing the ordinary things with a lot of love, with integrity, seeking excellence, and in service of others. I think it is timely that yesterday was the feast day of Saint Joseph – a very ordinary man who dedicated his life to serving and protecting Jesus and Mary. Without him, we would not have the Catholic Church. THAT is MAGIS.
I consider these really, the most important things to remember, as you enter a new phase in your lives. Go explore to find your purpose, put in a lot of love and hard work into it, and don’t forget to offer it all up to God. He will make our ordinary lives extraordinary. Take it from me, that when we are guided by Him, our lives will be filled with so much meaning.
Once again, congratulations to all the graduates and your families who have been with you throughout this journey. Good luck and Luceat Lux!