Mr. Vija Jason S/O Devadas (Jason)

Valedictory Speech given during 2023 Graduation Ceremony

Good afternoon,

It is a great privilege to stand on this platform today to deliver the valedictorian speech. My name is Vija Jason, and today marks a very special and memorable occasion for all of us.

Today, we gather here not only to celebrate the end of a significant chapter in our lives but also the beginning of a promising future. As the valedictorian speaker of my incredible class, I am deeply honoured to address you all on this momentous occasion.

The road to this moment was not always easy, especially when we had to juggle our full-time jobs. We faced hurdles, both academic and personal, and overcame them. But our experiences have taught us that success is not solely defined by the destination, but by the journey. It’s about the lessons we’ve learned, the friendships we’ve forged, and the personal growth we’ve undergone.

Personally, I was hospitalized for almost two months just before we embarked on our research project and also in the mid of our first 2 module exams. During this period, I was diagnosed with a chronic and high-risk infection with cancerous characteristics. I am currently on long-term medication, and discontinuing it is not an option at this time. Being in my mid-30s and contending with this health challenge felt overwhelming, especially considering the many goals I still aspire to achieve in my life.

Juggling my full-time job, especially in my key position, was incredibly challenging. Additionally, I had a newborn baby waiting for me at home, part-time studies, and freelance teaching responsibilities as an associate trainer on weekends. These commitments were demanding, but they were also my lifeline, helping me stay mentally fit and ensuring that I didn’t cause undue stress to the people around me.

Each one of us faces unique struggles, and I am confident that you all understand your own limitations. After enduring numerous challenges, I am delighted and proud to share that I am still living my dreams to this day and remain unwavering in my determination not to give up. Our lecturers, mentors, and families have played an essential role in guiding us through this journey. They’ve not only imparted knowledge but also instilled in us values that will serve as a compass for our future. On behalf of my class, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous effort and passion of our lecturers, Professor Poh, Mr. Alex Loo, and Mr. David Tan, who have generously shared their time and experience with our class during this learning journey.

The last hurdles were our research projects, which taught us a great deal. The most exciting part was receiving the color-coding and playing the waiting game to receive the email from Professor Poh. When it came to working on the projects, Professor Poh was very helpful in guiding us, enabling us to focus on doing the right things rather than spending time correcting our mistakes. The research project gave us the opportunity to delve deeply into the topic of our choice and deepen our knowledge and interests.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my entire class as we eventually became one group, transcending the four groups we were originally assigned. I will not forget how we helped each other and made it through together. Home-based learning remained the default mode for schools, and we attended most of our lessons via the Virtual Classroom. During the second term, class participation became part of the grading in the research project with Professor Poh, and most of us started showing our faces in the virtual lessons. At the end of each class, Professor Poh would take a screenshot of us showing our faces and email it to us. As we could not see each other’s faces physically, these screenshots are indeed memorable keepsakes that we will cherish for a lifetime.

We must remember that success is not measured by the grades we receive or the awards we earn, but by our ability to make a positive impact on the world. Each one of us has the power to shape the future, make a difference, and leave a mark that will be remembered long after we are gone.

As we approach the next phase of our lives, let us do so with determination and a commitment to our goals. Let’s be the change-makers, the innovators, and the leaders that this world so desperately needs. Together, we can overcome any challenge, break down any barrier, and achieve greatness.

Congratulations to all, and I have no doubt that each and every one of you will go on to accomplish incredible things. Our future is bright, and I am excited to witness the extraordinary impact you will make.

I would like to conclude my speech with my favourite quote from Ellen DeGeneres. I am careful to mention her name, so I would not be penalized for failing to do so and placing it as a reference:

“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost, and you see a path. Then, by all means, you should follow that.”

Thank you to everyone, and best wishes for future success.