“I know that you will agree with me that the choices one makes shape the journey and, eventually, the people you will become.”
This was the opening line of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Eder Zobel de Ayala’s commencement speech during the graduation rites of Miriam College Nuvali (MC Nuvali) recently. She was speaking before 50 Grade 6 and SHS graduates upon the invitation of Miriam College President Dr. Rosario Oreta Lapus.
“Listen to your heart and make these choices carefully because they must be deeply personal and driven by your own aspirations. Be brave about your choices and know that the paths you choose will require perseverance and discipline but, above all, they will require a sense of responsibility—not just to yourself but toward others,” she continued.
Zobel de Ayala’s speech was originally a letter she wrote to her four children which was published as a part of a collection of letters for a book.
She emphasized on bravery, encouraging the young graduates in the audience to pursue their passion ‘without restraint’. “This requires you to be brave—to take on as many experiences as possible and immerse yourself in those that you find most meaningful.”
She also reminded the 2018 graduates to be appreciative of people who have laid the foundations for them, stressing that they too must do their part.
“We form a part of an extraordinary community that strives to provide us with a sense of possibilities in life. Remember that these possibilities have been made available to you by others who bravely responded to the challenges they faced, and always with a vision towards the future. … Ultimately, you must treasure what has been achieved and do your part to contribute toward a more fair and more just Philippines,” she said.
Zobel de Ayala is a socio-civic entrepreneur and is a co-founder and Chairman of Teach for the Philippines, a non-profit organization that enlists some of the most promising young leaders in the Philippines to teach in the public school system for two years. The Boston College graduate, who is married to Ayala Corporation CEO and Chair Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, is also a strong advocate of responsible family planning in the Philippines and contributed to the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines in 2012.
She ends her speech by saying that bravery with perseverance bears fruits. “There are always solutions and they become more apparent when we realize they are the work of many that will build a nation where possibilities are real, be part of that, be brave. There is no single answer to the issues we face, but in the coming together of efforts that restores hope. Your efforts, sincere and brave, will bear fruit, so do not give up,” she said, ending on a congratulatory note for the graduates and their families.
This year’s valedictorian is Grade 12 graduate Helena Louise P. Rebadulla who left her hometown in Northern Samar to start over in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. She is a daughter of an OFW whose mother could not make it to her graduation because of work and an expensive air fare. “I hope I make you proud,” she says, directing the message to her mother and her siblings. In her speech, Rebadullah emphasized on how the school has taught her and her classmates “to be as true to ourselves as we can be.”
MC Nuvali is Miriam College’s second campus located inside the Nuvali development in Calamba, Laguna. The school opened in 2014 and is home to a growing number of students from pre-school to Senior High School. In its pipeline is a third campus in Porac, Pampanga.