Renz Reyes: 'A life of service is a life that I have lived and a life I willfully choose to keep living.'
What follows is the speech delivered by Renz Reyes (12-A) on behalf of all the awardees at the ASHS Recognition Day ceremony held last Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the AGS Singson Hall. Renz received three awards during the ceremony: the champion team award as a member of the ASHS Debaters, the award for Distinguished Individual Achievement and the Magis Award for exemplary servant leadership.
Today is a day where we honor the service people have done for this school. However, today I would like to honor what service to this school has done for me.
I took on the role of being the Vice Chairman of the Assembly of Class Officers. This is a job that requires you to handle all the class officers in the student body and to be the bridge between the school admin and the student body. To say it was difficult is an understatement. I had to handle going on at least seven meetings on a five-day school week, regularly sleeping at 2am to ensure projects are properly prepared and waking up at 5:30am in order to make it to a 7am meeting the day after. I had to balance these responsibilities while being an active member of the debate team as well as being first and foremost, a student.
The difficulty of this position is the very reason I am thankful to have had the opportunity to hold it. Being the ACO Vice Chairman gave me three very important things – purpose, passion, and self-worth.
The first thing that serving as ACO Vice Chairman gave me is purpose. In a world where it is hard to stand out, we often struggle to find what is unique about us. The quest for purpose is driven by a desire within us to find the profound meaning of life because we believe this will give us happiness. Through this position, I realized that I was good at being able to plan projects and execute them. I believed this was my talent but what made it my purpose is a personal realization that your talents mean absolutely nothing if you don’t share them with other people. This is because being given talents puts you in a position of privilege. Being in a position of privilege creates a life long responsibility for you to give back. I believe it is beautiful to reach a point in your life where you can give back because it is a testament to how much you have been given. It was through this consciousness that made me realize that the purpose of my life is to live a life of purpose.
The second thing that serving as ACO Vice Chairman gave me is passion. While purpose is the reason you do something, passion is why you keep on doing it. Given how difficult this job was, I had three reasons why I kept going. The first was that I had a vision to create a student council that students would take seriously. I wanted the Sanggu to be a place where students would feel like they are being listened to and a place that encourages its students to be involved in the issues the country was facing. This vision was something I made so clear to myself that the fear and hesitation that usually comes along with it just vanished.
The second reason I kept on going is that I had an obligation to the student body who trusted me to champion their concerns. I honestly just didn’t want to let those who believed in me down. It was through knowing who I did all of this for that kept me passionate about why I did it.
Lastly, I remained passionate about this job because I saw how passionate those around me were. I had a Student Activities Coordinator who shared the vision of making this a student council that pushed its students to care about the issues of the country. I had an ACO moderator who worked so hard because she believed in the vision of making this a student council that truly represented the students. I had colleagues who took their job to heart so much that they are here with me as the three other Magis Awardees.
Passion was the norm in this year’s Sanggu. It was here where I learned that to work hard for something you don’t see value in is called stress, while working hard for something you do believe in is called passion.
The last and most important thing this position gave me was self-worth. Despite your hardest efforts, you can and will never please everyone. There are people who will still call you useless, incompetent and treat your projects as a joke.
It is unavoidable to let these get to you. You will feel like you are drowning in your responsibilities. You will feel like you are failure. You will feel like you are one pathetic mistake. This is when you question your own worth as a human being.
Thankfully, if your intentions are genuine, your heart always point you to the right answer of why you do what you do. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. This position made me grow into a person who did not hang my self-worth on the judgment of other people but rather on how true I have stayed true to my purpose and how passionate I was in being able to achieve it.
This school year, I was on the hunt for who I have not yet become. At the end of this journey, I found myself to be a person who found self-worth in embarking on a journey of service because it gave my life direction and meaning.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have made this journey worthwhile. Firstly, to God who blessed me with all of what I was able to offer. Next, to my parents and friends, who never let me succumb to the feeling of self-doubt. To the school administration for believing in my abilities. Next, to Sir Bok, Sir Ian and Coach Mike for serving as examples of purpose and passion to me. Last but not the least, my partner, Mrs. Lacson, who I consider a second mom for all the love and support she has given throughout this journey.
Dedicating my last year in high school to service has given me fulfillment that I cannot give enough justice to through words. It made me realize what I was good at doing and why I kept on doing it, which made me find self worth.
A life of service is a life that I have lived and a life I willfully choose to keep living.
Thank you and may you all have a great evening.
-Renz Reyes (12-A)