“If there is a generation that could make the impossible possible, it would be yours,” Minority Floor Leader MP Atty. Laisa Alamia told a captive audience of graduates in the recently held 68th Commencement Exercises of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University’s Higher Education Unit on Saturday, May 21.

MP Alamia attended the event as this year’s commencement speaker, addressing a graduating class that is a “class of firsts,” as recounted by batch valedictorian Yves Joey P. Flores – “first in K-12, first in new grading system, first in pandemic, first in online learning, first in limited OUT.” 

Acknowledging the unique circumstances the graduates have gone through in the past few years, MP Alamia tells the graduates that “optimism has always been a difficult pursuit, especially given the realities of the times we live in.” That being said, she also reminded the graduates that they are part of a shared struggle to change the world for the better. 

“While we may be from different generations, the lives we all live are inextricably linked to each other because our worlds are one and the same,” Alamia tells the graduates. “We learn from each other’s mistakes and find joy in each other’s triumphs. The sooner we understand the extent of our connections, the stronger we become as a community and as a nation.”

She also reminds them to be kind towards themselves, saying that “we are not saviors whose strength is enough to bear the pain and suffering of mankind on our own.”

“Our efforts merely build upon the work of those who came before us and that we already stand on the shoulders of giants, even if sometimes it feels like we are alone and drowning in grief and loss that is often too heavy for our hearts to bear,” Alamia said.

In the same breath, she reminds the graduates to be kind towards others, saying that “we are not each other’s enemies, rather we are each other’s first and last line of defense” 

“We cannot afford to fail each other,” Alamia tells them.

In closing, Alamia said that “optimism may sometimes be difficult, but I hope that doing the right thing will always be second nature to all of you, regardless of how the odds may be stacked against you and your generation.” Echoing the Atenean value of magis, she encouraged the graduates to “always work for the greater good,” and “for the greater glory of God.”