First of all I want to thank you for being able to address you, and represent my course. I felt very honoured upon learning that I was to give this talk. I thought about all that I had experienced over the years and, immersed in memories and prayers, I came to a conclusion: we are candles. The people who are around us, this school, the gatherings, the gymkhana, all the sacrifices and satisfactions we have had here, have filled us with light.
And if we are candles, what other purpose do we have but to illuminate?
This school has left its mark on us, and more importantly, we have left our marks on each other, we have grown together and helped each other grow. Now we leave this place, but we leave more enlightened than ever.
We feel good here. This place has been a source of light for us since we were children, just like our families. And if everything around us shines, are we fulfilling our purpose? A candle does not fulfil its purpose in daylight. When we leave our comfort zone, and go in search of that place where we are called to shine, when we go through the darkness, leading people who could not find a way, carrying truth, or bringing joy to those who had no hope anymore, THERE, where we shine most, we will know that we are fulfilling our purpose. We will know that our life could never have had greater meaning.
Friends, be aware of how valuable you are in this world, don't waste it. If life has given us this school, these friends who have influenced us, and made us so capable of being good leaders... we have what it takes to say that we are key to the transformation of society.
They have taught us that if it is true that studies and constant academic preparation open doors for you, all the more so do goodness and righteousness. And that practicing them daily is how the right doors are open for us. They have helped us to understand that the world does not need more science and knowledge, but rather goodness, firmness to enforce what is right, taking everyone into consideration.
They have formed us to be free young people, with judgment, so as not to be slaves of those who offer illusions and in the end cause disappointment and injustice. We have been trained not to give in to the game of those who see the world as a business, who promise us false happiness. Their concern has been to make us know what leads us to authentic, infallible happiness. And especially, Who.
When you feel that you need help, that your flame is dying out, go to your family or friends, who can share their flame with you. But always remember, the light of God will never be extinguished. And what better light to inflame us than God's love? That is why I take the words of Saint Marie-Eugenie: “To give light, you must be filled with light.”
Do not do things half-way. Take a risk daily to be light where you know it is needed. Ask yourselves at every moment, whether at home, at the university, at work, or in the street, where is my light needed? Where is that extinguished candle that is asking to be re-ignited?
I want to thank all of you, for being light in my life, especially I thank our parents and our teachers because this is everyone’s achievement. You, and each one of us, gave our best so that this day could be realised.
Now I want to ask you something. Do we know what we want to achieve? Before, we only wanted to get a passing grade in our subjects, but now it's up to us to decide where we want to go, what we want to attain, and how we will do it.
Do we want to study, to prepare ourselves well to get very high grades, to fill ourselves with knowledge and skills, to use it only as a source for earning more and more money, and recognition?
I don't think so. We want to prepare ourselves to help more, to be more useful, to put everything at the service of our country, of nature, of those who have less, of the thousands who are dying from diseases that are very difficult to control. To prepare ourselves to make justice prevail, to have a voice that can reach millions of people, to carry out great environmental projects, to save lives.
Our willingness to change the world will be the prime mover that will motivate us to continue on the road that lies ahead. In the measure that we assimilate the fact that we want to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem, and understand that the challenge is not to become great, but to make others great, our path will become clearer. If we propose to do everything with love, it will be enough to achieve success, because everything that is done with love, is well done.
Ana Isabel Reyes
Third year High School student of the Assumption School in Guayaquil, Ecuador