Ateneo Class of 2019. Photograph from Ateneo de Manila University's Facebook page

I’m here as reminder that the unseen poor are real,” says Ateneo scholar’s grad speech

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Not making poverty as an excuse to become educated. It will not be easy, but there is a way if you will it. Read about this year’s Atenean valedictorian who rose to the occasion.


Generosity means inequality. Inequality means that there is a hill, and the rest is down from the hill,” said Reycel Hyacenth Bendanayesterday during her valedictory speech at the commencement exercises of Ateneo de Manila University’s Class of 2019. Earlier this week, the Bachelor of Arts in Management and Economics graduate, became an online sensation when her essay for her application as valedictorian was picked up by media and shared many times over by netizens. In the essay, she spoke about her gratitude to her alma mater, but also that the institution could hope and work for more. “Ateneo should not be content to sit proudly on its hill and invite others into its light,” Bendana wrote. “It must shine its light to the darkness far beyond its borders.”

In yesterday’s speech, the 20-year old student activist echoed some of the sentiments in her essay, but also she spoke about the many barriers that prevent many Filipino children today from getting and completing their education. Not just kids from poor families like hers but children in places where there are conflicts, and young people who struggle with mental health issues and other health concerns. She also congratulated her co-graduates not only for having survived their academic challenges but for fighting for what they believe is right. “This is the batch that does not forget,” Bendana said. In closing, she enjoined her co-graduates to strive to help build a just society where stories like hers, the daughter of a jeepney driver who had to work as a barker and sell rags in the streets to help fund her studies, is not an exception but an achievable reality for many.


Original Article from : ANC and  full copy  of speech



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