Marcelo Masilungan Jr. and Justine Calayo led the Grace Christian Academy’s high school Class of 2019 during commencement exercises held in early June at the school’s chapel and auditorium.
Masilungan, who was named class valedictorian, is heading to Cypress College in Cypress, California, where he would be majoring in both computer engineering and electrical engineering.
The class salutatorian, Calayo, would be heading to Temple University and is planning to major in either art or communication studies.
Looking back at his time as a basketball player for GCA, Masilungan shared in his valedictory speech how being a player affected his outlook on life.
“If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories,” he said quoting former U.S. president Richard Nixon.
“Had I not tried out for the team, I would have been spared the injuries and the constant worrying over the possible rejection from that basketball team and the upcoming basketball games,” he said. “However, I would not have experienced the camaraderie of my teammates, the thrill of competition, and the joy that accompanies victory.”
Recalling a painful loss in eighth grade, Masilungan credits that failure and others for helping him improve.
“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it,” he said quoting Mia Hamm, a retired professional soccer player. “After failing to achieve the championship title year in and year out, I cannot say that it is the best feeling in the world or that I am numb to these kinds of situations, but I can say that each shortcoming helped me to understand myself and the lessons that come with it.”
Calayo noted in her speech how comparisons are often toxic. “…I realized that personal success is different from person to person. Someone else’s definition of success will likely be very different from my own—and that’s fine,” she said.
“I have learned that worrying too much is very unproductive. It is very good to plan…But too much planning can lead to overthinking,” she added. “I learned and am still learning that if you stay too much in your head, nothing will get done.”
GCA also honored their elementary valedictorian, Earljean Jonathan Pantaleon, and elementary salutatorian, Beatrice Rayza Fabre, while also awarding high school Eagle awardee Kaley Jean Dilse and elementary Eagle awardee Aasish Dangol during the graduation.