Valedictory Address

by Jeff Keiser A. Siason

 Presuming that I am well acquainted with the school calendar and the activities thereof, it is again by this time that the students who muscled through the challenges in school have already proceeded to their graduation rites. For many, it is an expressed consummation to the long period of fundamental structuring, conformity with academic prerequisites, and youthful delights, among many things. I am no class valedictorian, become an expert witness to how events rally to the fore every year in most academic institutions. And the normalcy of them in the ordinary person’s eyes suggests tolerance of what seems to be an imperfect exercise.

Under the normal circumstances, the class valedictorian and the brightest of them all would take to the podium, recount his or her success story, and leave the crowd in supreme awe. It is like marveling at the somehow identical recollection of Odysseus of his rich narrative compounded with evocative details. With just a single account heard, we then attach our conclusive appraisal of the kind of education one school offers, let alone the stories of those that comprise the indispensable majority of the population. The practice has always been this, and I am speaking in general. We confer extra interest to what the great say and do and rarely give chance to the average people and their, perhaps, much incandescent stories.

By average I meant those who did not meet head-on the expectation of others, those who were not “Latin awardees” but still mastered their fears and reservation. By average I meant those who were not good at regurgitating information the way others wanted them to, but are not necessarily dumb-witted and stupid. By average I meant those who are also intelligent, creative, have the emotional capabilities and the likeliness to succeed; but are not just as opportune. I recall the case of Anthony Corvino from Binghamton University was an exact antithesis. He was chosen to give the commencement speech because of one qualification-he was an average student. And this extolled all virtues of typicality.

This is not to assault those who may have transmuted nights into days just to overmatch the hard challenges and to breast the tape with flying colors. more importantly, this is to send a rational message that by casting notice to what the average have to say and by looking at how they are in school, we obtain a sharp precedent of the things we need to improve on as a learning community. Students develop at varying rates. Some may be average today but ought to be “exceptional” tomorrow. We just need to handle them individually as they are. “Average is knowing you don’t receive respect, you earn it; average knows you don’t get opportunity, you fight for it. Maybe average is the new exceptional”, Corvino said.

In addition, logic dictates that we cannot mine significant patterns from the brilliant few alone. We need to look into the majority is a vivid storytelling of the kind of school they are all in. If we take this by heart, and not just pretend to be aware of it, we will be able to see more effective teaching-learning strategies on the table. Education shall then, in effect, be an overarching tool for students to be successful at their respective times. We do not want to see schools feeding on their random top-notchers. We want to see schools whose graduates are all competent professionals, and this is the real deal.

I still want to hear how the averages are and be inspired with their uphill climb in school. I want to venerate them for their intrinsic gallantry despite not being noticed by others. I want to witness how “average” becomes the superlative form, because “average” does not mean less but more. This proves I always go for the “underdogs”, because they give the best success stories. Congratulations dear average graduates and welcome to reality! Know that idealism only works in an ideal environment. Be dynamics ones. May the hand of the Almighty guide you in your dealings and may you be where you want to be.

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