1st Serye Kabataan
Ateneo de Manila High School
November 30, 2008

I am very happy to be here today because this event – Serye Kabataan – is all about the youth. It is all about YOU.

Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. – This is something I’ve always believed in. In fact, I believe in it so much that I dedicated my life to helping make it come true.

You see, for over thirteen years, our company has been committed to young people, to you. We are committed to helping you achieve better performance in school, preparing you for admission to the best universities, motivating you to enjoy learning, and inspiring you to be the best that you can be.

We are committed to fulfilling the youth’s role in the future of our country, through quality education. We believe that with quality education, a person gains the capacity to achieve great things – great things that will help the country, and maybe even the world.

Our original mission-vision states that every individual, given the proper guidance and the means to employ his talents and energies wisely, can realize his full potential as a student, a person, and a productive member of the community. This goes for each and every one of you.

You can reach your full potential if you pay attention to your studies and try to absorb what you can. Learning is not limited to the four walls of your classroom. Even while you’re outside of school or at home, you are still learning. Apply what you learn in every situation you find yourself in, so that it will become embedded in your mind. For example, if you learn about proper money management, practice it to budget your allowance. Soon, it will become second nature to you and a normal part of your lifestyle.

You can reach your full potential when you practice the right values and attitude. Your principles and attitude build your character. Always work on your character because this is a big part of your success or failure. My favorite values are leadership, excellence, and responsibility. These are the values that we try to develop in our company and in all our students. And these values are part of what this event is teaching you as well.

Responsibility – As the future of the nation, you are taught to have the courage to rise to the challenge of taking the Philippines toward progress.

Excellence – Given the responsibility of helping the country, you must learn to always strive for the best, in order to take the Philippines to progress.

Leadership – If you are consistently pursuing excellence, you will emerge a leader. Leadership is not simply being the best of the best. It is about consistently being the best that you can be.

Your parents work hard to give you the best. This is why the best is also expected of you. Be with classmates and teachers who will inspire you to make your best even better. They can be your guide and model.

When you finish high school, aim for the best universities. Ateneo, La Salle, and UP are not just the best in the Philippines — they are among the best in the world. With a diploma from any of these schools, many opportunities will be opened up to you. But only 10% of the 100,000 who apply to Ateneo, La Salle, and UP get accepted. This is why you have to work hard for a slot.

A bright future awaits you — if you are willing to stay ahead. Make it your mission to do more than you thought you could. Find ways to be more than you first expected to be.

One way is going to a review center even if you are already at the top of your class. This is the mark of a true leader – taking responsibility for your skills and talents, and aiming for excellence by taking advantage of the resources available to you so that you can reach your full potential.

You know, there’s really no limit to learning. The best students still benefit from extra guidance. Even the best basketball players need a coach.

Information is at your fingertips. When you need to learn about something, you can just “google” it. During our time, we had to go through the whole card catalogue before we could find the book that may or, as is the case most of the time, may NOT have the answers to our questions. Take advantage of every chance to learn. Be happy to be ahead.

I really believe that education is our country’s only hope. When I was just a little older than you, I dreamt of improving the country’s education by putting up a teacher training foundation which would give teachers free education. I revised that dream a little bit by focusing on principals—who are really the prime movers of education. I am living that dream now. Through the Educ18 Foundation for School Leadership Excellence, I hope to inspire more people to be educators, to help more principals run their school excellently, and to make others more aware of the school principal’s contribution to society.

This was just a dream before, but it is now becoming a reality. You too can dream and make it real—if you set your heart and mind to it. You have all the reasons to succeed and no excuse to fail.

Much is expected of you. Some day you will be the leaders of this country. You will be making waves in business, in public service, in medicine and science, in law, and hopefully in education as well. Your peers will be following you, looking up to you.

When our company has training programs, I always tell my staff that they should also be at their best because we are serving the future. We are serving you.

And with that, I wish each of you a bright and promising future ahead.