XS Grade School Presentation and Closing Ceremonies 2024: Beyond Boundaries – Redefining Excellence

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The Grade School Presentation and Closing Ceremonies, held on March 20, 2024, at the Xavier School Sports Center, was filled with inspiring messages, heartfelt reflections, and significant milestones for the graduating class of 2024. The event, marked by moments of gratitude and anticipation, celebrated the journey of the students as they prepared to embark on new chapters in their lives.

The ceremony commenced with an Invocation led by Fr. Felipe Yohan, Jr. S.J., XSSJ Campus Minister, followed by the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, led by Mr. Rafael M. Raza, Music Teacher. Jose Lorenzo L. Capule of 6 – Bl. Rupert Meyer, S.J., extended a warm Word of Welcome to the attendees, setting the tone for the afternoon’s festivities.

Mrs. Jane C. Cacacho, Grade School Principal, then took the stage to present the Class of 2024, while Luis Alfonso M. Tortona of 6 – Bl. Rupert Meyer, S.J., introduced the esteemed Guest Speaker, Mr. Robert C. Yulo, an alumnus of Xavier School (XS ’79).

Mr. Yulo spoke fondly of his own experiences at Xavier School and the invaluable education and formation he received. Addressing the theme “Beyond Boundaries – Redefining Excellence,” Mr. Yulo shared insights on growing up in the world of men and becoming resilient in the face of challenges. He introduced the “I Care Matrix,” a guide he prepared for the students, emphasizing the importance of Choice, Attention, Rest + Reflection, and Empathy in their journey of faith.

Throughout his speech, Mr. Yulo emphasized the significance of each factor in navigating life’s complexities and urged the students to embrace bravery and believe in themselves. He shared anecdotes, wisdom, and encouragement, weaving together personal reflections and universal truths.

Reflecting on the challenges ahead, Mr. Yulo reminded the students of the presence of the Cross of Christ within them, symbolizing courage, belief, and love. He encouraged them to find meaning and purpose in their encounters and experiences, guided by faith and compassion.

As Mr. Yulo concluded his speech, he left the students with a final message: to learn from the past, live in the present, and fight for a good future. He encouraged them to let their light shine always, believing in themselves and embracing bravery as they journey forward.

The full transcript of Mr. Robert C. Yulo’s speech may be found at the end of the article.

Following Mr. Yulo’s address, Mrs. Joal Ria S. Orqueza, the Assistant Principal for Formation, presented the Magis Award. This award is given to a student who has striven for excellence in all that he does, has demonstrated perseverance in school work, and has consistently exerted outstanding effort in improving himself and in developing his full potential. 

The Grade School Magis Awardees for School Year 2023-2024 are as follows:

Jose Lorenzo L. Capule of 6 Bl. Rupert Mayer, SJ

Isaiah Ezekiel M. De Ocampo of 6 St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ

Chad Erico C. Reyes of 6 Bro. Richie Fernando, SJ

Luis Alfonso M. Tortona of 6 Bl. Rupert Mayer, SJ


Isaiah Ezekiel M. De Ocampo, from 6 – St. Alberto Hurtado, S. J., then delivered a heartfelt Word of Gratitude on behalf of the graduating class. This was followed by the presentation of academic awards and distribution of pledges.

The Grade School Presentation and Closing Ceremonies concluded with the Xavier Pledge, led by Chad Erico C. Reyes of 6 – Bro. Richie Fernando, S.J., and the Acceptance of the Pledge and Closing Remarks by Rev. Fr. Aristotle Dy, S.J., School President. The event culminated with the rendition of the Xavier School Song by the Class of 2024. Gavin James C. Chua of 6 – St. Noel Chabanel, S.J., served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. 

As the graduates prepare to embark on new adventures, Xavier School extends its deepest gratitude to the parents, teachers, and mentors who have guided and supported them along the way. Here’s to the bright futures that await the Class of 2024!

I am happy and honored to speak to you today. Proud to be with you as a fellow Xaverian. I am grateful for the EDUCATION and FORMATION that I have received here at Xavier.  I am excited for what you will do with the GIFT of your EDUCATION and FORMATION and  how well you will USE and SHARE these GIFTS to make this WORLD a BETTER PLACE for  all. 
The theme for your graduation today is – “BEYOND BOUNDARIES – REDEFINING EXCELLENCE”
In line with this, I would like to talk to you about growing up in the world of men and how to become RESILIENT and RESONATE with RELEVANCE in your continuing JOURNEY of FAITH
I am going to share with you a simple guide that I prepared which I will call the “I CARE MATRIX”. 
I PROMISE NOT to make this a very long speech with the hope that you will LISTEN ATTENTIVELY and  hopefully pick up some useful INFORMATION and INSIGHTS this morning. 
So, what is the “I CARE MATRIX”? Well, basically it is four factors (words) arranged in a quadrant with  “I” right at the center of it. 
And the four words or factors are: 
  1. CHOICE 
Let me quickly define each of these factors: 
CHOICE is the ability to make conscious and deliberate decisions based on your values, desires, and circumstances. 
It involves acknowledging different options, weighing them critically, and choosing the one that best aligns with your goals, and the well-being of those you love. 
In all things choose to be the BEST. 
Always try to choose to do the RIGHT THING. 
And if it becomes too difficult, choose then to be KIND.
The second factor is ATTENTION. 
ATTENTION refers to the act of being present and mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. 
It encourages you to observe and reserve judgment and respond with KINDNESS and LOVE. To focus on what truly MATTERS. 
To CHOOSE to do what brings you CLOSER to GOD. 
The third factor is REST + REFLECTION. 
REST + REFLECTION is to pause and take time out to physically and mentally rest, allowing yourself to  ponder and reflect with gratitude on the gift of your life. 
It means slowing down, engaging in activities that bring peace and clarity to you. 
And finding and going to a safe place to process your encounters and experiences.
It is a time to PAUSE, PONDER and PRAY and realign with your PURPOSE (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
And finally, we have EMPATHY. 
EMPATHY is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, putting yourself in their shoes  and responding with compassion. 
It can be as simple as patiently listening and being with a FRIEND, being a good brother, son, and student.  Always ready to smile, say a kind word and lend a helping hand without bias or judgment. In the bible, it is said that 3 things will last forever – FAITH, HOPE and LOVE and the greatest of these is  LOVE
Do you know why LOVE is the greatest? Because only LOVE is both a noun and a verb. Saying I faith you or  I hope you does not make sense. RIGHT? But you can say “I LOVE YOU” to someone and it can mean a  heaven of a difference to them. 
Unfortunately, you will find out soon enough that the road ahead WILL NOT BE EASY
There will be DETOURS and TRAFFIC along the way. You will, at times, find yourself LOST and CONFUSED at the  CROSSROADS of your life. 
You will be tested to make tough CHOICES and learn to deal with the CONSEQUENCES
You will be DISTRACTED by so many things like social media, assignments, chores, problems, and many other  commitments. 
You find it difficult to REST and REFLECT on the things that matter most and feel OVERWHELMED with anxiety,  stress, fatigue, and disappointments. 
And there will be bad and selfish people that will try to fool and take advantage of you, making you fearful to love and  be loved. I can constrain you from being a MAN FULLY ALIVE, endowed with the PASSION FOR JUSTICE and the  SKILLS FOR DEVELOPMENT
So, in the MATRIX of CARE who stands at the center of it? It is “YOU”. But what happens when the “I” is no longer just you? What if I tell you that the CROSS of CHRIST lives inside of you. 
At the intersect point between the x and y axis is the cross of Jesus Christ who completes the circle that binds and makes you whole and reminds you to “BELIEVE and BE BRAVE” (Fides Et Virtus).
And my dear boys, at the end of the day, trust me when I say, YOU cannot BE BRAVE if you do not BELIEVE
The CROSS of CHRIST binds and brings together the CHOICE, ATTENTION, REST + REFLECTION, and  EMPATHY of your MATRIX
The ENCOUNTERS and EXPERIENCES in your life will find deeper MEANING and PURPOSE and guide  you in: 
  • HOW YOU GIVE, and 
In all these, find His Holy Presence and Blessed Assurance that “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” and “ALL WILL  BE WELL”. 
Let’s summarize the four elements of the MATRIX. 
  1. CHOICE enables you to face challenges with COURAGE. Choose to do what is RIGHT. If not, choose to  be KIND
  2. ATTENTION helps you observe and be MINDFUL of the details which allows you to respond with love and  kindness. It trains and sharpens your FOCUS on things that truly matter. 
  3. REST + REFLECT is allowing your mind and body to be quiet and HEAL and made WHOLE. So that your  soul finds rest and listen to God with more intent. When you struggle less you will float in the water, and  everything becomes steady and clear. Away from the noise and hustle. You will find that you can solve  your problems faster and plan a better future. 
  4. EMPATHY allows you to listen not just with your ears but also with your HEART. Empathy is  COMPASSION and selfless giving. It happens when you realize it is no longer just about you. It becomes  real to you when you decide that the happiness of the people you love matters more to you. 
And so, we come to the end of my speech. Allow me to leave the following thoughts with you: 
  • LEARN from the PAST. 
  • LIVE the PRESENT. 
  • And FIGHT for a good FUTURE. 
As you CROSS this important MILESTONE in your life, remember to LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE always. LUCEAT LUX! 
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