Celebrating the Power of Creative Minds


[Fourteenth in a series: Valedictory addresses from the different colleges of the University of Northern Philippines are here featured as excellent graduates reflect on the journey behind them and as they forward to the next.]

In the halls of the University of Northern Philippines College of Fine Arts and Design, a new generation of creative visionaries has emerged, ready to leave an indelible mark on the world. At the forefront of this celebrated class is Jesrael Alonzo, magna cum laude graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Painting and the valedictorian of the Class of 2024 of the College of Fine Arts and Design.

He proudly proclaimed his chosen field of study, Fine Arts, and shared how this phrase has become synonymous with his identity, a badge of honor he wears with unwavering pride.

However, Jesrael’s journey was not without its challenges. He recounted the disappointment and skepticism he and his fellow graduates faced from relatives and friends, who questioned their decision to pursue the arts over more “practical” or “respectable” fields of study. Undeterred, Jesrael emphasized the importance of their role as graduates of Fine Arts and Design, highlighting the recent study that ranked Filipino students second to last in creative thinking globally.

“This statistic is a clear reminder of our challenges and the importance of our role as graduates of the Fine Arts and Design,” Jesrael declared, his words carrying a sense of purpose and determination.

Throughout his speech, Jesrael shared the transformative lessons he and his classmates had learned during their time at the university. They were encouraged to see the world through different lenses, to explore their imagination, and to express their emotions in ways that transcended words. The faculty not only taught them technical skills but also instilled in them the power of critical thinking, questioning, and pushing boundaries.

“They showed us that art has the power to influence, to provoke thought, and to evoke deep emotions,” Jesrael said, his voice brimming with pride. “We learned that our work could be a mirror to society, reflecting its flaws and celebrating its triumphs.”

Jesrael also emphasized the importance of resilience and perseverance, acknowledging the challenges they faced, from creative blocks to harsh critiques and self-doubt. These experiences, he said, have forged the qualities that will carry them through life, no matter the path they choose to follow.

As he looked back on their shared journey, Jesrael expressed gratitude to the community that had nurtured and supported them – from the Almighty God, to their devoted parents and loved ones, to the dedicated faculty and administrators, and finally, to his fellow graduates.

“As we paint on the next chapter of our lives, we carry with us the cherished memories of laughter, tears shed, and dreams pursued together,” Jesrael said, his voice filled with emotion. “These bonds are molded like clay, of shared experiences, mutual support, and have become the bedrock on which we stand.”


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