Graduation 2018: Opening Hearts to Humanity

As people gather around the school campus on a beautiful sunny day, a spirit of festivity and a joyous atmosphere can be felt all around. Everyone looked so stunning wearing lovely formal attires and traditional costumes from various ethnic groups of Myanmar. Everything looked grand and it was clear that it was no normal day for the school. Students who have worked so hard for three challenging years wear huge smiles on their beautiful and handsome faces while proudly wearing their hard-earned togas over striking clothes that put everybody in awe. On the 26th of May 2018, Third Year students from the Integrated Diploma Program of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute of Higher Studies, together with other diploma bearers, marched and graduated with flying colors in front of their teachers, friends, and families.

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The SAG-IHS Graduates of 2018 proudly pose for a picture with diploma in hand in front of all their teachers and loved ones.

The ceremony itself was a beautiful ritual of recognizing all the efforts of the graduating students. It started with a processional march of the candidates for graduation and an interreligious prayer lead by different representatives of Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim faith. The Dean of the School of Education of Ateneo de Davao University, Dr. Annabel Casumpa, delivered an inspirational Keynote Address for the graduates. Fr. Paul Dass, S.J., Director of SAG-IHS, gave out the diplomas to all graduates together with Dr.  Casumpa and Ms. Yi Yi San, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs. As a representative of her class, the Class Valedictorian Ms. Eaindra Nwe delivered a heartfelt Valedictory Speech. “I remember coming to this school as a shy, coward, stupid, and lonely girl who had nothing, no confidence, no self-esteem, no knowledge about the outside world and no value and idea about friendship, unity, and living in a society,” Ms. Eaindra Nwe said, “But thanks to SAG-IHS I am going out of this school as a confident, independent, smart, bold and sociable woman. Thank you SAG-IHS, for changing my whole life and making my future bright and beautiful.”

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Ms. Eaindra Nwe delivers her Valedictory speech.

In addition, students from other year levels and programs, with the leadership of the Tamaga Student Council, gave tribute to their seniors with traditional dances from the Chin, Kayah, Kayan, and Kachin ethnic groups. Overall, there were 35 Integrated Diploma graduates, 10 Teaching Internship and Social Work Case Management graduates, and 3 Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) Diploma graduates of Liberal Studies that were awarded.

Graduating Valedictorian, Ms. Eaindra Nwe in her speech spoke about her recent experience at the Outreach Program. “We went and taught the children to open their hearts to education and the children taught us to open our hearts to humanity. We learned the reality of the poor in Myanmar. Our education in SAG teaches us to become men and women for others. The outreach experiences of SAG not only give us the practice in teaching skills but gives our lives a sense of direction, for the service of others. I believe that this will be the true source of happiness for us in the future.” Ms. Eaindra Nwe ended her speech with such beautiful words. The day was full of joy and bittersweet feeling as students and teachers say their thanks and goodbye’s to each other from morning until the graduation party at the evening.