Instead of reading the travel in-flight magazine, Carl Francis Moog wrote a draft of his speech during his Manila-bound flight last May. He was in Ho Chi Minh City for an AISEC global internship when he was informed that he is the Valedictorian of UA&P’s graduating class of 2012. Hence, before the plane landed on Philippine territory, the fragments of Carl’s speech came into being.
“A recent study assessed the status of volunteering in UA&P and found that only roughly 30% of the study sample population is involved in any volunteer activities in the University. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.”
The plenary hall of PICC echoed these strong words during the Graduation Rites last June 2. Some may have been surprised to hear a valedictory speech that did not sugarcoat the speaker’s opinion. Carl straightforwardly called the attention of his fellow graduates by making them reflect on getting out of their comfort zones to serve others. He left them a challenge guised as a question —- What have we done?
A SCHOLAR’S HARD WORK
In college, Carl was admittedly a usual guest of the peaceful and quiet library. As most would expect from an achiever, Carl was typically the diligent student who took his studies rather seriously. However, his reason for being such is not the typical. “My goal was to get 1.75 to get the scholarship…and eventually to maintain it,” recalls Carl who was a consistent recipient of the UA&P Merit Scholarship.
With the many distractions that go with college life, maintaining a scholarship is surely far from being easy. But with discipline and hard work, Carl was able to hold on to the scholarship to the end. Even at his young age, he managed to set straight his priorities as a student and as a scholar.
In their simple home in Binangonan, Rizal was where Carl first learned the concept of hard work and discipline. His father who worked as a school principal and his mother, a businesswoman, inculcated in him and in his siblings a lesson that will never lose value. “My parents did not come from an affluent family, and they really strived hard to be where we are now. That really inspired me to work hard in everything that I do, in every endeavor that I take,” Carl proudly shares.
FINDING ENCOURAGEMENT IN A HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE PROJECT
Carl was one of the few who qualified to study at Rizal National Science High School, but this scholar wasn’t really studious to begin with. At first, he was actually one of those high school boys who spent many hours playing computer games. Like other teens, he also had his share of “Battle of the Bands” experience — spending his free time rehearsing with his band, playing the bass guitar.
Ironically, his aspiration to excel in his studies sprung from one high school disappointment. “When I was in 3rd year, we had to make this science investigatory project and then my teacher rejected mine. I was really depressed at that time,” Carl recalls. But instead of losing heart, he was challenged to work hard on something he believed in. “I wanted to prove that my project was really worthwhile so I worked on it,” says Carl.
The science project, inspired by his mother’s love for orchids, was a computerized irrigation device. Determined to prove his project’s value, Carl worked hard on the research and patiently created a program for his proposed apparatus. His computerized irrigation device, which was once rejected, eventually worked and won second place in the national level of the Department of Education’s Science Fair. Until today, his computerized irrigation device still works wonders for his mother’s pretty orchids.
The confidence he gained from the success of his science project encouraged Carl to spend more time on his studies. With good grades and his participation in different school activities, Carl was awarded First Honorable Mention on his high school graduation.
DEVELOPMENT + EDUCATION
Though his father used to be a principal and head teacher, Carl did not imagine himself taking the path educators take. He wanted to be a lawyer until he attended the orientation at UA&P. “When I applied at UA&P, I applied for Political Economy because I was considering law back then, but after the orientation and after knowing my strengths, I’ve realized that I don’t like to pursue law and that I wanted to do something else that will have more impact on other people. So I chose education,” he says. Upon realizing that engaging in development work and education is a way for him to make a positive difference in the lives of others, Carl decided to pursue Development Education.
HEART OF A VOLUNTEER
5 years later, Carl graduated on top of his class. But this Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian has more than just books and brains. He has the heart of a true volunteer. After class, Carl spent his remaining hours on various volunteer works in the University such as being a UA&P Peer Counselor (UA&P Guidance Center), being a volunteer teacher and coach for BIGGKAS (Basa, Isip, Galing, Gawa, Katesismo, Arte, at Sports) and being a Student Ambassador to UA&P guests (Junior Networking Society). He also became the President of Pharos, Student Government of UA&P School of Education.
Even his valedictory speech says a lot about Carl’s passion for volunteer work. It was his response to his thesis concerning the volunteering motivations of students in UA&P. “I’ve been engaged with people who are really active volunteers. I myself am a student volunteer. And I really wondered kung ano ba talaga ang motivation nila kung bakit nila ginagawa ito,” he explains. Though his study reveals that only 30% of the respondents are involved in volunteer works, Carl says that the study also shows that the motivation of the respondents is very good. “Altruism. They really want to help other people. That’s why they want to volunteer. It’s not because they want to put it on their resume, but because they have this desire to help other people,” he says.
GAINING FROM A VOLUNTEER WORK IN HO CHI MINH
Since Carl belonged to the student category where 30% of his thesis respondents belong, he decided to extend the scope of his volunteer work and joined AIESEC, the world’s largest student‐run organization that offers young people the opportunity to be global citizens. “I want to see what UA&P students are truly made of. I have always believed that UA&P students have the potential to be on par with students from other nations,” Carl says.So when he was informed that he is the Valedictorian of UA&P’s graduating class of 2012, he was in Ho Chi Minh City, and teaching English to young children and assisting in the execution of AIESEC’s seminars that aim to prepare college students choose the right career.
Carl believes that one actually helps himself when he commits to helping others. “You have to serve other people. You have to get out of yourself and be able to contribute to the lives of others. In doing that, you also develop yourself,” he shares. His 2-month volunteer experience in Ho Chi Minh City definitely helped a lot of people, and it exposed Carl to people of different cultural backgrounds – an advantage he can bring to his future career. “I worked with people from different countries. I worked with people from Switzerland, Netherlands, Singapore, China, Japan, Norway and Canada,” Carl recalls.
“Education manifests itself and goes beyond oneself towards the service of others. As we look forward to a new phase of our life, we carry with us the principles of our beloved University. Her beacon of light will continue to guide us as we sail across the vast sea called life.”
People may not be able to remember these exact words from the Class Valedictorian, but at one point in their lives, his sentiments will surely be recalled. As Carl enters the University now as a teacher, the valedictory speech he made inside an airplane will help him face the new challenges in the next chapter of his story.