VALEDICTORY ADDRESS

Good afternoon,

To our president, Tita Marlyn, esteemed members of the Academic Council, and Board of Trustees, our commencement speaker, Dr. Tom Roxas, faculty, staff, parents, friends, and the Class of 2018, greetings to all.

My name is Ezekiel Dela Fuente, graduate under the program of Integrated Communications and Public Relations.

First and foremost, I’d like to give thanks and glory to our Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom all things were through Him, by Him, and for Him alone.

Next, I’d like to give thanks and honor to my parents, who have sent me here in Messiah, and have supported me in all my endeavors. Every morning, gigising nang mas maaga sakin si Nanay para lang i-prepare ang breakfast and baon ko. And Tatay would always provide whatever I would need, and would always encourage me. I do hope they are proud of the product of their hard work and sacrifice.

Also to my Lola. Mommy, finally may unang apo ka na naka-graduate.

I stand before you today as not someone with the best speaking skills, or the most eloquent, or even the funniest.

Actually, I didn’t even know why I was chosen to be here. Probably si Josh kasi, nag-procrastinate sa Christian Home assignment niya kaya di siya yung pinag-speak dito. Sorry Josh.

I’m not at all a speaker, nor a front-man. For those who know me, my place is down there, with a camera, as the docu guy.

But today is a special day for a group of young students (excluding Kuya Jay, not young anymore) who will be opening a new chapter in their lives, and another hallmark for Messiah as it produces another fresh batch of graduates.

Each batch of graduates for Messiah is a miracle.

We survived every paper, quiz, group project, and of course thesis. And for the parents here today, you survived four years of tuition, a close to Php. 50,000 each semester, doubling that per year, for four years, that makes it around Php. 400,000 in total.

Wow!

But just think of the total cost it took to take you to be able to wear that toga today.

Think of the sleepless nights finishing that thesis.

Think of the struggles in Ministry week, when the bathroom looked like it was God-forsaken. Think of how lost you were when you didn’t know where to raise your funds for Cross-Cultural.

Think of the many people that sacrificed and rooted for you to finish today.

And think of how few we are here today.

You may look at it from a reductionist perspective, but I see it as prestige.

What comes to mind when you hear the word prestige?

Do we associate prestige with Messiah?

Why do you think that prestige is not a word stapled to Messiah? Is that word only for “exclusive” universities?

But what does prestige confer? Prestige is not only about exclusivity, but prestige is the honor that comes with it.

With prestige comes privilege.

Privilege for a chosen few. And aren’t we just a few sitting here in this room?

Not many are called to study here in Messiah; not many are given a chance to go to Ministry Week, or called to go to Cross Cultural missions trip at our age. Not many has the privilege to have a discipleship group like GReG in college. Not many.

But we are, you are.

Prestige is privilege.

And if we have this mindset in Messiah, our actions and attitude towards ourselves and towards the school will be different. Our words will no longer be, “Ay kase, no choice ako kaya sa Messiah ako bumagsak.” or “Sa Messiah lang ako nag-aral, maliit lang kami.”

But recognizing privilege is that we will have a sense of pride. And along comes that pride comes a sense of responsibility that we carry the name of Messiah towards our workplace.

And yes, we are geared to go outside. Geared to become ambassadors of Christ the most High. Isn’t that a privilege to be called as representatives of God?

I implore you brothers and sisters that you may walk in a manner worthy of your calling

The facilities or the campus won’t bring prestige to Messiah.

It is the significance of each one of us as we carry ourselves with honor as we walk outside; that will bring prestige to Messiah.

PRESTIGE DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE SMALL HUMBLE PLACES; YOU ARE CHOSEN THEREFORE, BECOME THE PRESTIGE

How do we become that? Two things how we live out the prestige:

1. Firstly is EXCELLENCE

Excellence precedes prestige. The hunger to become above reproach begets honor.

There are two things I realized about excellence:

First thing I realized is that you don’t have to be the smartest or the best to validate yourself in the pursuit of excellence.

Just show up.

Your presence is more important than any other perfect paper or quiz you could ever do.

Even if attendance only accounts for 10% of your total grade, think of the class participation, quizzes, and reporting grade you will miss. That in turn will affect more than 10% of your grade.

Which is why there is excellence in presence. Show up to meetings, in your job interview, in field works. Not matter how boring they may be. Just show up.

That is why it was said that Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.

Yung pagka-inspire kay crush, 1% lang pala yun. Dapat din daw ume-effort.

Kaya kay Rara, hindi lang naman yung pangarap makapag asawa, pero she is now gearing up to be able to become a teacher abroad one day.

Speaking of effort, I remember when Phil walked from Boni to Nova for 6 hours. I don’t know about you, pero more than 99% perspiration na yun. Hindi ko lang alam kung genius yun.

Second thing I realized is that that obedience is a key to excellence.

We each have our own calling out there. But how can God bless you in the place where He calls you to be if you are not there?

For others like Ella and Kath, as they will be going to Zambales for missions, I’m sure God will be with them there. Same with those that are called to be in the office, like Yanisce, or in government like Gen, or those called in the corporate world like Ana, or those that will pursue an MA like An. I know God will be with them there, and that He will bless them there.

And for those that will prepare for the board review, like Dana, I know that God will be with them there, too.

Also, the pursuit of excellence must not be limited to the system you are in. I mean, let’s admit it, Messiah does have its limitations, but that should not mean it should hinder our pursuit of our own excellence. It is not the system that limits your learning but only yourself.

During our Media Writing class, part of our requirement was to create and maintain a blog throughout the semester. And that, folks, was where ChibogChai was born. Eventually becoming a vlogging channel in YouTube, Chai wasn’t limited on what she could only do in class, but she made it her own, and she pursued excellence the way she knows how.

Passion turning into reality through hard-work. Just like Metch, where she started her business from her passion in clothing.

2. The second thing is that THE LOVE WE HAVE WILL DISTINGUISH OUR PRESTIGE

In Messiah, what do we describe our environment that we are most proud of?

“family environment”

But I feel like we may have been overdoing the “family environment” in our ideals and have undervalued what it really means to be a family. Because in the insinuation of the notion that we brand ourselves as family lies beneath is love.

But being a family means more than Coffee Bean hangouts, or inside jokes. Our love should be more than applause and affirmation.

In a family, there will be disagreements which is to fuel greatness in one another, the hard conversations towards reconciliation, and the heart to keep forgiving as forgiven.

May we have that kind of love.

May we be each one’s refining fire.

For four years I’ve shared joys, tears, and fights with my course-mates. I remember when Anj and I had a sharp miscommunication, and that was when I was at school and she was somewhere else. We disagreed on the phone, and we both were furious with each other. But thank God, we settled our argument a few days later; though it was hard, it increased our understanding threshold for one another.

We are a collection of different people from different backgrounds, brought together for one vision, and that is to impact the workplace for Christ.

And what a privilege it is to be chosen to love and be loved in a diverse community.

We are brought together to bring out the best in each one to make an impact in a world bigger than ourselves, so let’s make it count.

And as we go out, we will discover that the world out there may not be as loving or as forgiving as here, but if we practice what it really means to be family here, may it overflow there.

As I close, I hope that excellence and love will be a mark of Messiah. A mark of our prestige.

Refined and ready as we go out towards the mission field, may it be ministry, church, or office, they will know the privilege we have kept here in Messiah.

Not everyone gets to be in a position you are in. Cherish that. I hope everyone here in Messiah will recognize that.

Let us not bash ourselves, that we are just a small school, that we don’t have that much money, or facilities, or acclaim, and that our dreams or expectations matches the size of our school.

Yes, we are only but a few, but we are a chosen few. Be proud of where you came from, and back it up with excellence and love.

The expectations should be high ladies and gentlemen, so it should be; our calling is from the King.

Prestige does not come cheap, nor does honor rests on just anyone.

May we pour out our excellence into whatever we are called to do

May we love one another that it may overflow towards others

May we be each one’s refining fire

And may our recognition of our privilege define our prestige here in Messiah, and may it be God-honoring.

Ezekiel V. Dela Fuente
A.B. Integrated Communications and Public Relations
Magna Cum Laude
June 22, 2018

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