Gerry Esquivel

When you graduated from grade school, high school, or college, do you remember who your commencement speaker was and what he or she spoke about? I don’t.

It’s good that nowadays, there’s the internet to document inspiring speeches so that even if we forget, we can always search for it. As they say, “the palest ink is still better than the best memory.”

In the graduation ceremonies of Ateneo High School last March 30, 2008, the commencement speaker was Architect Gerry Esquivel. His speech was called Storeys of Tsamba, Fools, and Silent Walks. Throughout his speech, he shared with the audience and listeners stories from his personal life. Stories, to me, are one of the best ways to connect with people. A story will always beat a lecture anytime.

Why do I like his speech? I like it because it highlights what it means to be a steward. There was an emphasis on thanksgiving, trusting in God’s providence, and in believing that everything we have is by the grace of God. It talks of a giving of one’s self, a focus on relationships, a sharing of time and talent.

We are all who we turned out to be because of the people who cared for us and instructed us — if not by words then by the lives that they lived. Our wise parents. Our selfless teachers. Our caring friends.

The speech likewise reminds us that no matter what happens to us in life, the Lord has the best plan for us and that we can never escape from His tight embrace.

If you wish to read the speech in full, you can read Storeys of Tsamba, Fools, and Silent Walks.

I thought it was quite interesting that Gerry used Storeys (instead of stories) given that he was an architect. I guess if all of us had the right values as emphasized in the speech, then we will have something solid to build our lives on no matter what.

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