Dream Come True: Invited back to be guest speaker at my high school!

One of my secret dreams came true for me this year. I’m posting this speech I gave last March 23 at St. Paul University, Quezon City. 🙂


GREETINGS (1 minute)

Dear sisters, teachers, parents and my fellow Paulinians… magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

Gaya po ng nabanggit ni Ginang Baasis, ako po si Ces Vitan. Nagtapos taong 2002 noong panahong St. Paul College Quezon City pa lamang ang ating paaralan.

Kasalukuyan akong nagtatrabaho sa GMA Network kung saan bahagi ako ng News and Public Affairs. Ang Multimedia Team kung saan ako kabilang, ang naatasang mag-post sa Facebook, mag-tweet, mag-upload sa YouTube at mag-Instagram ng balita at iba pang impormasyong  patungkol sa aming mga programa. Sana’y pamilyar sa inyo ang aming mga palabas sa Public Affairs, kabilang na rito ang I-Witness, Reporter’s Notebook, Born to be Wild, Wish Ko Lang, Imbestigador at marami pang iba.

At oo, ang pagiging social media manager ay hashtag legit na trabaho sa panahon ngayon.


INTRODUCTION (2 minutes)

Grabbing hold of this mic, coming on to the stage gave me a rush of positive emotion.

I’ve been here on this stage numerous times during my high school years.

I recall singing the responsorial psalm during mass on this very podium,  where I could barely reach the notes.

I remember being with my classmates for Sabayang Bigkasan during our 1st year, a contest we won by the way, so that’s a very good memory.

I also proudly watched my younger sister win the Bugtungan contest for Linggo ng Wika on this very stage

One of my most favorite memories of HS would have to be in Senior year, Ms Baasis knows about this, because it was part of  the requirements of her English class. We had to stage the play Oedipus Rex, and we levelled it up, and made it a musical play. Yup, we were singin’ even before GLEE.

I took on the role of Queen Jocasta, and I played it to the hilt!  I sang my heart out along with my classmates.  Until now, I sometimes  find myself humming the round song we wrote for that play. It’s an earworm of a song that I can’t get out of my head. And honestly, I don’t mind it being there.


BODY A (3 minutes)

Standing here on stage… TODAY, will surely be another one of my most treasured memories. Not too long ago, I have been seated just like you, in several similar events, where graduates would be invited to tell their story…what they’ve been up to after life at St. Paul.

I distinctly remember wishing that one day, I too would be given a chance to share the story to a younger generation of Paulinians.  I didn’t think that it would ever happen for me since, throughout high school, I’ve never been in the top 10 of the batch. I’d make my way to the top 10 list of the class, rank 8, 5, 3, 6…it would vary, but I don’t think I’ve ever been  no. 1.

You see, I viewed grades as cherry on top.  A bonus, if you may. As NERDY as it may sound, I was simply “happy” being in school.

I tried to get involved activities. Together with some friends, we established the Forensic’s Club for students interested in current issues and the art of debate. During senior year I revived my love for sports and was fortunate enough to be part of our batch’s volleyball team that year, even just as a B-player.

I gravitated towards activities that entailed creativity and performing. When I was asked to host, even if my knees were shaking, I’d do it. When I was asked to serve alongside the student council and monitor the halls, I’d do it gladly. When my friends who were in the school paper said there was some space and they needed an article, I’d write something up.

As early as HS, I was already drawn to people who were creative: writers, illustrators, and performers.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with other people, I found it so fascinating that other people had talents so different from mine. I couldn’t draw to save my life. So I would look at how my friends could transform little circles into faces, and these faces into warriors, cartoon characters and whatever their imagination dictated.  I found that there was so much to be learned from others as well.

I specifically joined the debate team not because I liked the argumentation and competition with other schools but because I delighted in the whole exercise of researching, refining our ideas together as a team and presenting these ideas to an audience, eliciting a reaction whether favorable or not. If we lost and our strategies didn’t work, we took note of our shortcomings and made sure we didn’t repeat the same mistakes.

NOW…Little did I know that these small, almost seemingly unconnected activities, skills and interests would come together and benefit me after high school and would shape me into the person I am right now.


BODY B (Specific Examples – 2 minutes)

That’s why when they say “HS years are the best years of your life,” I don’t find myself fully agreeing with that statement.

I’d like to take it a step further and say that HS is more than that. Your HS experience can propel you to enjoy fabulous, magnificent, years of your life, yet to come.

In college I took up Broadcast Communication in UP. And at the risk of oversimplifying things, let me say that Broadcasting was pretty much like doing plays and skits for English class… the difference was that, we used cameras and other equipment to record it for TV and radio.

It was also a highly collaborative area of study, because one person cannot mount a TV or radio show alone, and I felt right at home working in a group setting, thanks to my experience here.

After University, I discovered that my love for communication and performing could actually be translated to a career in the field of marketing.  Marketing involves the crafting of stories that consumers could relate to. Using words, images, and sounds, to create experiences that will draw in people to buy products and love brands.

I previously held jobs as Marketing Assistant, Account Manager, you know, different job titles  through the years across different companies, but the work always entailed the same mix of things:  ideation, brainstorming, a lot of research, writing scripts, presenting ideas to clients, and working with  creatives: graphic artists, copywriters, video editors, directors, even toy makers–it’s basically everything I had a chance to be exposed to in high school,  BUT the difference is… NOW I get to do it professionally–meaning, I get paid to do it! So, it doesn’t feel like a job to me at all.


Tips (2 minutes)

Undoubtedly, my experience here at St. Paul has created a big impact on who I am today.

So as your ate, your big sister, please allow me to say this:

Do not just go through the motions. Come to school, listen in class, pass seatworks, take tests. If you’ve been tasked to do a skit, make it a dance musical. If you’ve been required to sew a skirt for T.H.E. make it runway worthy! If you’ve been tasked to read Chapter 11, before class, sit with a few of your classmates and discuss it among yourselves. Prepare yourself for recitation, picture yourselves as soldiers, preparing for battle. Push yourself to the limits.  Challenge yourself.

Why? Why get into all the trouble. I don’t like science. I’m not gonna be a scientist. I don’t need to learn statistics, I’m not planning to be a statistician.

Well ladies, In the end, it’s not the fact that you were able to submit a requirement or pass an exam that counts. When you’re in your late 20’s like me, you’ll realize that schoolwork was never about the grade.  It’s all about the skills and attitude you developed in working to get that grade; pass or fail–no matter what the outcome.

As cliché as it may sound: It’s not the destination, but the journey.

And you know what the great thing about being in school is? It’s that you don’t have to do it alone.  You can seek learning adventures, make mistakes, make memories,  together with other people in the Paulinian community.  Take time to learn from your teachers and classmates outside the confines of the classroom.  Ask questions from people and not just Google. And when you ask, ask even the silly questions.

Live curious. Dig deeper. Find out more through experience. By all means, watch films, documentaries and plays, listen to music, travel. Observe your surroundings.  Be a student of life.

Join after-school activities, even if you think you can’t hack it. Just try.  I tried out for the cheerdancing team one time and didn’t get it. But I earned a new friend in the cheerdancing captain. 🙂 So, I’d also like to encourage you to widen your social circles. Talk to people outside your barkada.  And your life will just be tremendously richer because of that.

Never put yourself in the position of regretting what you did not try to do. I tell you, it’s going to be a fun ride if you just dare to venture out of your comfort zone.

In preparing for this, I asked four of my closest friends, teammates in the class Academic Committee: “Hey, do you remember the cool things we did in HS for class, for acad committee?”

And they were all like: “Wow, we’re old. I can’t recall specifics…but I remember we had a blast. So much laughs. ”

A testament that learning and learning with others can indeed be fun.

Summary and Goodbye (1 minute)

To wrap this up, I urge you to embrace every learning opportunity that comes your way.

Make every single day a platform for you to be better than you were yesterday.

If you do what you love, what you’re interested in, it will change you for the better.

It will reveal aspects of “who you are,” your skills and personality, in ways that may even surprise you.

It will open your eyes, show you a whole new perspective and help you develop inner strength.

It shakes up what is routine or boring in your life.

Ultimately, it will make you one heck of an interesting person.

Now, wouldn’t you like that?

When I got asked to deliver a 10-minute speech today. I grabbed the opportunity, no questions asked. I dreamed about this moment. So, I just embraced it, and worked to give it my best shot.  I sincerely hope, that it was a worthwhile 10 minutes. I’m so totally posting this on Instagram with the caption “livin’ the dream, baby!” So, thank you for making a girl’s dream come true by listening to my story.

On that note…congratulations! Maligayang bati sa lahat. Lalung-lalo na sa mga magtatapos ngayong araw. Nawa’y baon-baon ninyo hindi lamang ang kaalamang mula sa libro at silid-aralan, kundi maging ang mga aral na napulot ninyo sa labas nito sa inyong pakikisalamuha sa inyong mga guro, kaklase at iba pang miyembro ng St. Paul community.

Muli’t muli po, maraming salamat sa inyong pakikinig at magandang araw sa ating lahat.




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