Back in the day, our commencement exercises were held mid-March. After that was playtime, with a lot of denizens opting to fly kites of myriads of sizes and configurations. For the less audacious, there was play house, hide-and seek, get-in, tumbang preso, pitiw, softball, high jumping, swimming in the irrigation canals. In other words, it was time to forget school.
Nowadays, because of lost time due to weather disturbances, graduation exercises fall in April. Also, because of the super typhoon, which destroyed a lot of schools, this time the commencement air is somber, austere, simple and bare. Hoopla and showing off are out of the question.
What is important is that the essence of graduation is there, namely, that it is a milestone, a completion of a phase in a never-ending process of learning. For learning never ends. It is even said that there is also learning in the afterlife.
The commencement speaker is chosen based on his professional success, so that he could inspire the students with words of wisdom, to encourage the graduating class to go for the gold, in a manner of speaking. Stupendous is the speaker that would challenge the graduates to “think outside the box,” to be entrepreneurial like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
So much has been said about rote learning as opposed to really thinking and solving problems. Would we rather have graduates who are robotic and seem to drown in trivialities? Development calls for a balance between the two. That is why, in selecting the class valedictorian, academic achievement is only a part of the process.
Would that every one could be valedictorian.