Valedictorian explains 'why you shouldn't aim to be a valedictorian'

MANILA, Philippines – A summa cum laude delivered her speech and explained why we shouldn't aim to be valedictorian.

Bea Gonzales who was a graduate from Enderun College’s Batch 2018 gave her “NOT a valedictory speech.” She shared how her ideas of success have changed, her motivations and her struggle with mental health.

Summa cum laude says not to aim for valedictorian
Don’t focus so much on grades, focus on being kind and inspire others | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Bea Gonzales

While growing up, Gonzales said she was an achiever and she wanted to be a valedictorian, an astronaut or a doctor. “I wanted to be great,” Gonzales added. The top graduate soon realized that being valedictorian is someone “perfect.” Gonzales started to aspire for more. She said,"But why aim for perfection, when you can instead aim to serve as an inspiration?”

At 10 years old, Gonzales started being a “little fighter” when she was diagnosed with congenital intestinal malrotation. Then at age 14, she had depression followed by a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar II disorder.

It was then that the “fighter” got lost. Gonzales said, “I lost my way, and lost the heart that once aimed to make an impact to a soulless version of myself that I didn’t recognize.”

“I hope to inspire you to overcome your own challenges, learn from life, and be brave enough to share yours too,” the proud graduate told her class.

Gonzales, who tutors college students, continued to thank everyone who made her “choose life.” More than achieving good grades, the summa cum laude instead hopes everyone to “aim to inspire, to be kind, and to spread greatness and lift each other up.”

Kindness more than grades

Gonzales shared in an interview the motivation why she applied as valedictorian. According to her, this is to celebrate the achievement with people around her.

Enderun Colleges may have several cum laude awardees for each academic year but only one valedictorian will have the chance to deliver speech. She was lucky as the panelists favored her.

The graduate also gave advice to those who are still in school about the value of kindness over grades. Gonzales said, “Grades matter, but they’re not the most important. People will forget your grades two or three years from now, but they'll never forget your kindness.”

— Sally, The Summit Express

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