Dec 17, 2015

Magna Cum Laude Speech - Dec 2016

This was shared by my nephew, Juan Carlos Ortega at his graduation in Panama City, Republic of Panama, during ceremonies this week. He is now headed to the Wharton School of Business in September of 2016. 

Juan Carlos and his Mom, Maria Elena 

While thinking, what message to share with my classmates, I decided to address the importance of gratitude.  

I have no doubt that in every accomplished goal, there are many significant people that positively contribute to its success.   As human beings, we are surrounded everyday by problems, that we face, and resolve through the support of others, advice and actions.  

My school years have been full of smiles, tears, laughter and most importantly, satisfaction. However, I am certain that this important period of my life would have not ended in the same gratifying way it does, without the influence of specific people.

Thus, I would like to acknowledge those who merit a great part of my love and gratitude due to all their assistance during these last thirteen years.

First, I would like to express my gratitude to specific family members that have stood by my side through all the ups and downs.

Thank You Dad,  for helping me study and taking me to buy all of those last minute materials no matter how tired you might have been, every time I needed you.  Moreover, thanks for all of the useful advice based on your values and Godly principles.  

Thanks to my grandfather Pipo, who has encouraged me to pursue all my dreams, no matter what the obstacles.  You have taught me through your anecdotes that to reach my goals I need to be optimistic and persevere.

To my grandmother, Mima, a cancer survivor, who has shown me how someone can surpass with continued courage, the limits of impossible problems.   I am not capable of describing how brave she is, in the face of any difficulty.

Next, I want to thank my second mother, my nanny Belgica, who was always there to support me in all of my decisions.  She has always believed in my potential.   Also, as most of my classmates know, she has been my mentor in all those beautiful drawings for art projects.

To both my brothers and my sister, who have been my true companions in all the happy and hard times we have been through these many years.   They have been there to count on during difficult situations.

To my stepfather, Uncle Roger, he has provided me with opportunities I thought I would never have.  He has motivated me to become a successful person and has been a clear example of the quote stating: “when life gives you lemons, Smile and grab some tequila and salt.”

To my uncle Fernando, who showed me what one can do with hard work and a clear goal in mind.  He is an example of the kind of self-made man I want to be.

Last in my family, but most importantly, I want to thank my mother Maria Elena who has shown that she cares for me,  more than she cares for herself.  There are no words in existence that can possibly describe all the efforts and sacrifice my mother has put herself through,   to see me graduate.  I will forever be in her debt and she will forever be in my heart.

I want to thank all my classmates who have made these years unforgettable. We have shared together lots of all nighters, parties, sorrows and a vast list of other experiences.   Each of you has some special quality that I will remember and carry forever in my heart.

I want to extend special appreciation to my friends Valeria, *** Estefania, ***Jose Alfredo, ***Luigi, ***Carlos Tulio, ***Laura, ***Rafael  *** and all of the rest  who have made me a better individual throughout this process.

My very,   very,   very,   special Thanks to all of my teachers,   and specially Misses Green who still calls me Jaime, only she knows why my brother left such a great impression on her.    

All of you ! All of you have taught us something that we will constantly apply in our daily lives.  Thanks for every time you gave a helping hand, thanks for changing the date of a test or accepting to explain an entire lesson over and over once again with a happy face, so we could, understand it all ¨.

Most importantly, I want to thank God who has always guided me to the right path.  He,  is my motivation for waking up every day. He is always by my side and I am sure will always be.    Moreover, he has showered me an enormous amount of blessings,  I will strive the rest of my life to repay.

Four days ago,  I received the news that I was accepted into the University which was my first choice.   

I realized at that moment that I owned it to all to you all of you who have walked with me through thick and thin these past thirteen years.

In closing I want to invite all of my classmates to be grateful,  to all who have been supportive in their lives, To take the time to shake their hand, to hug them, to look them in the eye and say Thank you for being there when I most needed you in my life.

So in that line, after this event,  seek out your parents, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, friends, your Teachers and all the individuals who helped you and let them know how important they were for you during all these years.

Remember life is a journey shaped,   not only by your efforts, but also by the people who surround and support you.

Juan Carlos Ortega 
Panama, Republic of Panama