Embracing Change and Empowerment: Atty. Kimberly W. Palma’s Message to WMSU Graduates

In a ceremony filled with pride, hope, and the promise of new beginnings, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) marked the culmination of years of academic perseverance for its latest batch of graduates in the External Studies Units (ESU) last May 21, 2024. The commencement event, held in the Municipal Gymnasium of Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay, featured a motivating speech by the commencement speaker, Atty. Kimberly Wee Palma, whose words resonated deeply with the graduating class and their loved ones.

Atty. Palma, a recent law school graduate and a rising star in the legal field, is the Chief of Staff of the Office of Hon. Wilter Yap Palma, Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. She brought a unique blend of relatability and inspiration to her address. Her speech was not just a recounting of her own journey but a call to action for the graduates to harness their potential and embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

“With utmost humility and excitement, I address you today, filled with pride and admiration for the incredible journey each of you has undertaken to reach this pivotal moment,” Atty. Palma said. Her words struck a chord with the audience, as she recounted her own experiences as a student. Having recently walked the path that the graduates are now embarking upon, she spoke from a place of genuine understanding and empathy. “As someone who has walked a similar path, having recently graduated from law school, I offer not only words of encouragement but also a heartfelt reminder of the incredible potential within each of you.”

Atty. Palma emphasized the transformative power of the education provided by WMSU. “As proud products of this esteemed institution, WMSU has equipped you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experiences,” she said. “Armed with these tools, you are poised not only to navigate the challenges of the world but also to effect positive change,” she added.

Her words served as a reminder that the degrees conferred were not just pieces of paper but symbols of the graduates’ readiness to make significant contributions to society. She urged them to carry forward the lessons learned and to use their education as a foundation for lifelong growth and service.

“Life as working adults will get hard, but do not let these hardships stop you from dreaming and achieving more,” she advised. “Walk through every opportunity and never be afraid to take risks. As you step into the realm of professionals, stand tall and proud.”

Atty. Palma’s message was clear: challenges are inevitable, but it is through facing and overcoming them that one grows stronger and more capable. She encouraged the graduates to view obstacles not as deterrents but as opportunities to demonstrate their resilience and determination.

One of the most touching moments of her speech came when she acknowledged the indispensable role of the graduates’ support systems. “Today, as we gather to celebrate your achievements, know that you do not walk alone. Your parents, family members, friends, and alma mater stand as pillars of unwavering support, cheering you on every step of the way.”

Turning to the families and friends in the audience, she expressed deep gratitude on behalf of the graduates. “To the parents, guardians, friends, family, and mentors who are here with us today, I sincerely believe that I can speak on behalf of our graduates from the bottom of our hearts — we thank you,” the young lawyer said.

Atty. Palma also offered a piece of advice that encapsulated her entire message. She reminded them that “Life is not a race. It does not matter who crosses the finish line first. What matters more is that you do better than who you were yesterday. Your biggest competitor, graduates, will be and should be yourself. Never try to compete with others. Once you learn this, you will know the true meaning of success.”

Her words left the audience with a profound sense of purpose and clarity. The applause that followed was not just a celebration of the graduates’ achievements but a collective acknowledgment of the wisdom imparted by Atty. Palma. Her speech, rooted in personal experience and profound insight, serves as a guiding light for these new professionals. It reminds them that they are not alone, that their education has prepared them well, and that their true competition lies within themselves.

The ceremony concluded with an atmosphere of optimism and excitement, as the graduates, their families, and the entire WMSU community looked forward to the bright futures that lie ahead. (LMP, PAO)

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