Believe-Execute-Surrender-Trust. Regina Jasmine, In her last speech to her teachers, juniors and friends as she graduated from Ichthus Schools to pursue Political Science in University of Indonesia. Achieving Cambridge Excellence Award in psychology, Jasmine harbors ambitions to be a politician in Indonesia to drive change for her country.
(BTW, This was way before Melania’s Trump’s campaign on “Be Best”)
“Good afternoon Dr. Suparno, Mr. Jonathan, Ibu Wendy, teachers, parents, awardees and of course, my fellow graduates. It is truly an honor and I am humbled to have been chosen as the Valedictorian this year. I have very large shoes to fill considering the past Valedictorians, so please lower your expectations and bear with me.
First and foremost, I would like to thank both of my families, my real family and my Ichthus family. Without all of your endless support and love, I would not be standing here today. I am grateful and so blessed to have such an amazing support system so from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
But above all, I would like to thank my personal savior and God, Jesus Christ, for everything. I am speaking in front of you all today because of Him, because of His grace. He is my driving force and everything I do is for His glory and His only.
Grade 12 was a challenging year. Making big decisions, sitting for exams, applying for universities, the works. But because of those challenges, I went through the process of maturity, self-discovery and personal growth. I’m sure that there will be much more of that in the future but I am proud of my journey thus far and I know that my journey is far from finished.
I mentioned before that there were a lot of big decisions made this year. As some of you might or might not know, I moved from the A level curriculum to take on the national curriculum. It was a huge step that I never thought I would have to take and certainly one that I didn’t see coming. It changed everything, from the medium of instruction, to material and the teachers. What was a class of 5 to 6 students became a class of 2 so it was more like a private lesson rather than a class. The road to that decision was not easy. In the beginning I thought I made the wrong decision, that I would regret it in the future. Fast-forward to the present, I knew that I made the right one.
I had a blast in our little class of 2. For the first time ever in my life, I was actually excited to go to math class. Not because of the material, but because of the teacher. I have to give a big shoutout to Pak Luhut for making math class fun because that is no easy feat, almost miraculous in my opinion. Because it was just the two of us, things were a lot more relaxed and chill. We did things that were irrelevant to the topic or even the subject in general. We sang songs, well Pak Luhut did most of the singing, sometimes we would just be doing our work and he would suddenly go Hey Jude. We even talked about what William will be like as a father in the future. The topics that we discuss were varied, you see. I was able to learn not only the material we were supposed to be studying but also life lessons. The same goes for our other classes with Pak Yunus and Pak Anton. I have a huge amount of respect for them for tolerating William’s and my antics in class because God knows that takes a lot of patience. My teachers are one of the reasons why I do not regret my decision because if I did otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to get to know them like I do now.
As students, we are always told to do our best. But I’ve always wondered, what is best? How do we know we did our best? What if we could have done more? and so on. So I have compiled some words that I thought were essential for us to do our “best”. Remember these four words: Believe, Execute, Surrender and Trust. When you put the first letter of these four words together they spell out BEST.
The first word, Believe. Believe in yourself. I think that students these days lack self-confidence when it comes to their studies or any other thing, I know I do. Let me tell you that you are capable of anything if you just believe that you can do it. You will never discover your full potential unless you try. Please don’t give up. Please don’t underestimate your abilities because I believe in every one of you here. When you have a quiz coming up, study, practice, don’t take it for granted just because it won’t affect your report card that much. Because success is a series of small wins. If you don’t succeed the first time, that’s okay too. Sometimes we need to lose the small battles to win the war.
This, I had to learn the hard way. I doubt myself and my abilities way more than I should. Afterall, it was one of the reasons why I changed courses. I thought I wasn’t good enough for the A-level curriculum, that I wouldn’t be capable of achieving the scores that I wanted. I thought I tried my best and that was still not good enough. So I switched. But I still took the exams. I didn’t think much of it because it was no longer my priority. Then the results came out. I was so surprised and could not believe what I was seeing. Right at that moment I realized that someone was rooting for me even though I wasn’t. God believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. When I saw those results, it was as if I could hear Him say “You are good enough and I believe in you, so why don’t you?”. So I am here to tell you that God believes in you so much and that He is proud of you. Believe in yourself.
After that, you have to Execute the tasks that you are given. Execute your goals and set it in motion. This one is pretty self-explanatory. What is the use of believing in yourself if you don’t do anything about it? Work hard but don’t forget to give yourself a break.
After you’re done with everything, the time is up, you’ve handed in your work, all that’s left for you to do is Surrender. Surrender everything to God. You’ve done your part and now let Him do His. You have no more control over what you have done so what’s the point of worrying. What’s done is done. This too I had to learn the hard way. I am quite the worrywart and tend to overthink and dwell on made-up situations that might never even happen. Take an example from Mother Mary, who said “Be it unto me according to thy word” and surrender, just like she did.
This takes me to my last point, which is Trust. To surrender and to trust are interdependent. You can’t have one without the other. Earlier this Monday, Mr. Kevin Johnson talked about trust and he brought up one of my favorite verses which was Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This verse is very dear to my heart because whenever I am having a hard time or things are not going my way, I always turn to this verse. Sometimes things are the complete opposite to what you thought was best and it did not go your way whatsoever. You prayed every day but still, it didn’t come true. You are disappointed or maybe even angry with God. But this verse tells us exactly what we should do when we get to that point. Trust. God knows best. He is all-knowing and as cliche as it sounds, there is a reason behind everything. His plan will slowly unravel and reveal itself within time. One day, when you look back, you’ll understand why everything happened the way it did and you’ll be grateful that things did not go your way at that time.
I hope some of you are still with me at this point since this speech is probably taking up way too much time.
To my friends, the graduating class of 2019, it has been a privilege to stand alongside you. To the awardees and all the students present here today, keep it up. To each and every teacher and staff here, I can’t thank you enough for everything you all have done for me. I will miss every single one of you and it has been the greatest honour to have been taught by you all. Thank you for believing in me even when I doubted myself. Please continue being a blessing to others just like you all were to me. To Ibu Wendy, you are the best principal I’ve ever known. Anyone can see just how much you love your students. Thank you for always being so supportive and loving to me.
To wrap up, I would like to remind you on how to spell BEST – believe, execute, surrender, and trust. I would like to quote some lyrics of a song sung by one of my favorite artists. Afterall, you can’t spell best without BTS. “The deeper the night, the brighter the starlight”. Stars can’t shine without darkness. The nights of life will allow us to appreciate the lights of life, no matter how small it is. So, shine. Let your darkness bring out the light in you. Let us be each other’s lights. Whatever it is you’re going through, I promise you will get through it. Just do your best and let God take care of the rest. “