As the face-to-face graduation rites return in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, 690 Benildeans celebrated this milestone at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Saturday, July 9. The on-site graduation ceremony remains a great triumph for students who have been learning online for the past two years.
Ms. Ophelia R. Bello, the Head of Admissions and Scholarship Office of Benilde Antipolo Campus, graced Benilde’s first face-to-face graduation ceremony as the Master of Ceremonies.
To officially begin the program, Benilde President Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez FSC took to the stage and gave an inspirational message to the graduates. In his opening speech, he expressed that while the graduates may begin to run to different phases and directions of their lives as they leave Benilde, they are still called to give to the Benildean community for all those they have received from years of learning.
Quoting Jesuit writer John Foley in his speech, “Like rivers, we are meant to receive but more importantly we are meant to give. Like rivers, we cannot keep it to ourselves lest we become stagnant.. That is our life. That is our call—to receive love and to give love,” Br. Dodo stated.
He spoke on behalf of the students, administrators, and faculty of the College, highlighting that the struggles of the two-year pandemic have translated into persistence, kindness, generosity, and growth of Benildean-Lasallians. He also sent them off with a hopeful message that real success is not measured with material wealth nor power, but in love.
After the motivational speech, the school deans from Benilde Manila and Benilde Antipolo then presented the graduates of the second term of A.Y. 2021-22 and their accomplishments.
To close the ceremony, Summa Cum Laude Maurene M. Hernandez delivered her inspirational speech to the graduates. She emphasized the challenging transition of face-to-face classes to the full online modality due to “the greatest plot twist of the batch’s student life–the pandemic.”
“It wasn't pure luck. Being here today with all my fellow graduates took us indescribable amounts of hard work including sleepless nights, countless hours of studying, endless sacrifice, courage, and of course, faith,” Hernandez stressed.
“It was not easy breaking the boundaries that go with online classes, but here we are, donning our academic regalia, proving to everyone that education really has no limits,” she further expressed.
In an interview with The Benildean, Chairperson of the College’s Interior Design Program IDr. Katherine Anne Correa expressed that she was excited for the face-to-face graduation ceremony, adding that “[...] There is this feeling of rekindling lost connection, seeing familiar faces once again adds up to the excitement that we feel now.”
“The excitement is shown in all the faces of the attendees, without face masks of course! We feel the connection. The heartfelt goodbyes. The hugs! The usual thing we [did] after graduation was to wait for all our graduates by the stairs in the lobby to have a photo op and to hug each student and congratulate them. These moments were very memorable as this is the last time that we will see them as a student. And this is what we missed during the pandemic,” she shared.
For the third term of A.Y. 2021-2022, the College started conducting limited face-to-face classes for the School for Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management (SHRIM) and selected degree programs from the School of Design and Arts. Following this progression was the resumption of the face-to-face graduation rites.