Fidelis Senior High Class of 2023 Valedictorians

To the stars, we soar up high!

It’s often said that real education goes beyond the four walls of a classroom.  In a very literal sense, that’s exactly what the Graduating Class of 2023 experienced, spending a good part of their journey completing studies online and in person as we emerge into a post-pandemic world.  

Thinking about this, and about all the challenges that needed to be overcome, speaks volumes about the character of every graduate. Yet it is in the nature of character to be tested, both frequently and unexpectedly.  

As we open a brand new school year, let us take inspiration from our senior high school students who faced situations that forced them to make hard decisions.  They have done the work.  They have persevered.  They have overcome.   

Here, the voice of FAITH Colleges Senior High Class 2023.

Staying inside the circle

By Samantha Arwen L. Gallivo

FAITH Catholic School, STEM Class 2023

Competence, by definition, is the ability to perform a task successfully and efficiently. Now, if I were to define the word, competence is fulfilling your duty, all the while accepting it with a great sense of responsibility and delivering quality. It is something learned. It is not innate or inherited. Around the start of this school year, I had every confidence that I could ace our specialized subjects with flying colors—especially General Physics. I was humbled when the results of our first summative assessment and final grade in General Physics were released. My test results barely met half of the overall score. To say that I was disappointed with myself during that time is an understatement. That was only the first of the many struggles our batch faced throughout the year.

At one point, I asked myself, “How ironic is it that I’m planning to pursue Chemical Engineering, but I struggle with Physics—an essential topic in my chosen course?” It doesn’t help that I’m a child of an engineer myself. But then I’m reminded of two things: First, I’m no genius or prodigy: I can’t be good at everything on the first try; and second, failure is a learning process. It is human to make mistakes. Failure gives us room to learn, grow, and improve our competence. To accept failure is to go forward.

From there, I decided to come to terms with my shortcomings and started exerting more effort in improving my performance not only in that specialized subject but in general as well. It was arduous, having to understand all these theories and laws. Then again, every journey is not without its share of troubles and setbacks. We mustn’t avoid these hardships, rather, we should face and accept them as they are.

As we embark on newer journeys, keep in mind these words from Warren Buffett: “Everybody’s got a different circle of competence. The important thing is not how big the circle is. The important thing is staying inside the circle.” I hope that everyone will strive hard to stay inside the circle.  I know we can do it because we were built on strong foundations of competence this school has provided us. When small things make the biggest difference.

When small things make the biggest difference

By Cyra Lyn T. Gonzaga

Fidelis Senior High, STEM Class 2023

The small things in life make the biggest differences. 

This means that all actions we take, or do not take—including the smallest ones—can lead to another thing.  Graduating senior high did not happen overnight, it is the culmination of all efforts we did, all the all-nighters we had to pull, and all the live streams of our K-pop idols we had to miss because of a project or exam.  The crucial foundation of our future is each of the actions we do. In our two years here in FAITH Fidelis Senior High, every action we took was shaped by the core values of competence, commitment, and compassion. These are gifts that we must bring with us until the next chapter of our lives. In the two years of our stay in Fidelis, we were instilled with the values of hard work and dedication to the path we seek to pursue; taught to respect our peers; and led to continuously aim to be our best selves.

It may be true that there is a seemingly infinite number of things we cannot control, but there are also a limitless amount of things we can control if we put action into the equation. People around us also have a ripple effect on us, for without them we will not be who we are today. We may feel lost at the start of another new journey, but take heart in the fact that we can redirect our own life.

Be relentless in the pursuit of your goals

By Maria Kristine T. Codizal

FAITH Catholic School, ABM Class 2023

Our senior high school journey was not easy at all. We had to adapt to the various learning modalities. Can you still remember the online mode of learning? How slow our internet connection was back then, and how we heard the crow of chickens and the bark of dogs whenever someone opens their microphone. It was tough. But we made it through, remaining committed to attending our online classes on time. 

We conquered all the barriers that we had to face. We made it because of the culture of commitment that our school cultivated in each of us.

Our graduation day is the culmination of our hard work, discipline, and persistence. And as we embark on our collegiate life, let us continue to be committed to our dreams and aspirations and aspire for excellence despite failures. 

We are still far from our goals. We have just started turning our dreams into realities. There are still many challenges ahead of us that we need to face and overcome but believe and always look back on how our dear alma mater prepared and shaped us into what we are now. It will not be easy but as Mario Andretti says, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal—a commitment to excellence—that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”

Making decisions based on opportunity costs

By Blessie Joyce T. Lansang

Fidelis Senior High, ABM Class 2023

As an ABM student, I learned early on in my economics classes the concept of opportunity costs. Every decision we make has a cost; even deciding not to make one would still require us to give up something.

Here in FAITH Fidelis Senior High, we learned the value of committing to our choices. We learned to devote ourselves to our chosen strands and showed competence in fulfilling our responsibilities as Bravehearts. We have poured our time and effort and used our skills effectively to complete this academic year. We constantly pushed ourselves forward and never gave up. 

As we move forward, I believe that we can overcome the challenges we will face because we have learned by heart the core values of competence, commitment, and compassion. Competence in showing dedication to our chosen path. Commitment to our choices and pursuing them with honesty and integrity. And Compassion towards one another to attain harmony in reaching our goals. 

I hope that all of us will continue to make wise judgments. For those who have regrets about the choices that you made, I wish for you to make better choices in the future. 

As Charlie Munger once said, “Intelligent people make decisions based on opportunity costs.” We should choose a path that would cost us the least but will benefit us the most.

There is power in compassion

By Jelyn Marinel V. De Jesus

FAITH Catholic School, HUMSS Class 2023

Senior high school is over. We reached this point because God sent us compassionate people—those who became our source of encouragement during the times we almost gave up, those who encouraged us to be the main character, those who believe we can make it, and those who have loved and cared for us. 

This isn’t the end of our journey; we are just opening another chapter of our life. As we open the next pages of our educational journey, let us create a culture of compassion, the way our alma mater has cultivated it in us. In a society where competition is highly encouraged, be compassionate. It is what makes us human and real First Asians! Finally, always remember, there is power in compassion as Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Building a strong foundation using everything that you have in you

By Denise Rose C. Tapay

Fidelis Senior High, HUMMS Class 2023

What events in my life shaped who I am today? Ano nga ba ‘yung mga nagpapatatag sa akin bilang isang indibidwal? 

I would like to answer that by walking you through my journey not just as a student of FAITH Fidelis Senior High, but also as an individual in all aspects of my life, especially with how I transformed myself over the years.

For the record, I studied junior high in a Catholic school in Lipa as a full scholar. There I have met tons of amazing people. My school was just the right place for who I was at the time I entered it, but I am no longer the same person when I left. I would compare it to a sweater that I really, really love but have sadly outgrown so I need to find a new one. In August 2021, without my mom knowing it, I applied in Fidelis. I told myself, “Lord, kapag walang naging aberya sa enrollment ko, ibig sabihin para talaga ako dito.” Guess what? I was enrolled in no less than 30 minutes! 

Enrolling in Fidelis was the first major turning point in my life. I couldn’t be any happier for finally listening to myself when I felt that I needed to grow in a new environment. FAITH has offered me a lot of opportunities to grow—more than I could ever imagine. The staff, the administration, and the teachers here are experts in their own fields, hence the effective delivery of knowledge and wisdom to the students, molding them towards true competence. My circle of friends taught me the importance of commitment and compassion even in the smallest of things like showing up on time, committing to plans you’ve previously made with your friends, and showing sympathy when someone is going through a difficult time. All of these lessons and memories I will keep forever in my heart.

The journey has never been easy. The second turning point in my life came when my mom died of heart failure in 2021, three weeks after the online classes have started. It was a very difficult time for me but eventually, my mom’s death began to be one of my strongest foundations not just in school, but also in life. I did not know it can be the worst and best thing to have ever happened to me. Her passing made me stronger. Her death inspired me to be a well-rounded student who shows up to fulfill her responsibilities no matter the circumstance.

I hope you will all realize that trials and challenges are what make us stronger individuals. As they say, straight roads do not make skillful drivers. Should I had lived an easy life, would I be the strong and wise person that I am today? Definitely not. So I pray that even in the hardest of situations, we stay resilient and hopeful, keeping our eyes fixed on the good Lord and trusting that He is in control. I am a living proof of God’s goodness. I have overcome a lot because God is on my side. I am honored to have shared two wonderful years with all of you. I wish you a blissful journey in college and the years to come. As said by Alicia Keys, “You already have everything you need inside of you right now, today.”

Every challenge is a stair to success

By Maybell Grace V. Polidario

Fidelis Senior High, Arts+Design Class 2023

Being an artist and a student was hard. Making a masterpiece cannot be done in just hours or a few days but as a student, I needed to create and comply on time. I experienced stress, burnout, pressure, and art block that affected not only my academic performance but also my well-being. I cried at night. But I did think of giving up. Through all these, I realized that the strong foundation is myself. The foundation I built within me is made up of all the hardships and learnings I have gathered for myself.

First is having a set of strong values that will aid us in making better decisions in life. One of my core values is courage; having the courage to take responsibility and being accountable for your decisions and actions. And taking a risk is indeed scary as you never know how it will turn out. 

Second, having a good mindset. A learning mindset that even if you make mistakes, you will not give up there. It is where you will never regret a thing, even your past decisions and actions. Having a good mindset helped me to accept everything that could happen to me but still use it to learn and improve.

It may not be easy to build a strong foundation as we encounter hardships and obstacles. We all have different ways of building our strong foundation. It will take a lot of time, but I am sure we will get to build it as strong as we need it to be to achieve the highest and most successful life we dreamed of. As we continue with our lives, remember that “every challenge is a stair to success.”

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