Hontiveros inspires ‘Iskolars ng Bayan’; CSS produces 2 summa cum laude grads

Hontiveros inspires ‘Iskolars ng Bayan’; CSS produces 2 summa cum laude grads
COMMENCEMENT. Students of University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu gather at the UP Cebu grounds, dressed in their finest barongs and Filipinianas, proudly wearing their sablay—the university’s official regalia—during the 85th Commencement Exercises on Friday, July 5, 2024. Ryan Monungolh, HNU intern

Senator Risa Hontiveros reminded the more than 300 “Iskolars ng Bayan” that everything they learned at the University of the Philippines (UP) is not just for themselves, but for others and the country.

Meanwhile, marking a historic first, UP Cebu’s College of Social Sciences (CSS) has produced summa cum laude graduates—two Political Science graduates achieved a remarkable general weighted average of 1.15.

Hontiveros was the guest speaker for the 85th commencement exercises of the university held at UP Cebu’s open grounds on Friday, July 5, 2024.

UP Cebu on Friday granted degrees and titles to 329 graduates for bachelor’s degrees and 57 graduates for master’s degrees, with five summa cum laude honors, 71 magna cum laude honors, and 166 cum laude honors.

Hontiveros described the graduates of UP Cebu as having a strong foundation in critical thinking, idealism, and discipline, while also understanding the importance of striving for a just and equitable society.

She advised the graduates not to be afraid of making mistakes, while also acknowledging the pressures and responsibilities placed on the scholar-graduates of UP.

“Sometimes, the more we worry about getting right the first time, the more we are limiting ourselves from thinking creatively. What if we start seeing mistakes as steps we need to take to learn and grow,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros reminded the graduates to prioritize oneself as it is key to emotional, physical and mental capacity to serve and give back to the community and country.

She also spoke about redirections, reflecting on her journey. Hontiveros, despite her love for performing arts, ended up in a different field—politics.

‘Redirection, not rejection’

One testament to redirection is John Ryan Jacot, one of the two first-ever summa cum laude graduates of the UP Cebu CSS.

In an interview, Jacot shared his experience of rejection. Initially accepted at UP Diliman, he appealed to be transferred to UP Cebu but was denied.

Despite initially accepting the rejection, he later received an email offering him a slot at UP Cebu.

“For a time, I accepted that rejection, but later on, eight hours after I received their email offer again; it was at 3 a.m., I decided to accept the offer,” Jacot said.

Jacot, four years later, graduated summa cum laude, with his best friend Christofer Roch Mendoza. / CDF, with reports from Kenneth King Gonzales, UP Cebu intern, and Ryan Monungolh, HNU intern


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