By Irah Zapanta, HS 4A
Getting to know one of our alumni traces the success of the school in molding individuals to be leaders of tomorrow. The school is truly proud to have taken part in the upbringing of Delfin Villafuerte the Valedictorian of Batch 2009. Splattering green blood in every corner, he embodies what St. La Salle envisioned a Christian gentleman to be—one who speaks and acts all for the love of God.
Wherever Delfin went, he has excelled and bagged the highest honor. In Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU), he pursued degrees in BS Economics (Honors Program) and BS Management Engineering. On a national level, he was renowned as one of the 10 Outstanding Students of the Philippines last year. He has then decided to use his God-given talents to educate public school students as a Fellow of Teach for the Philippines. Such success entailed listeners, so the school invited him to be the speaker in the recent Honors Assembly.
Delfin continues to inspire young Lasallians in their pursuit for excellence, but where exactly is his passion for learning and achieving rooted?
Lazette: How much do you miss La Salle Green Hills?
Delfin: Very much so! I did spend 12 years of my life there, so of course the memories are always great. I would really enjoy reliving those days.
Describe your batch.
Noisy! (laughs) We had a lot of personalities, like any typical high school batch. There were the obsessed grade conscious people, the hardcore athletes, the party every weekenders, the artistic, and many more.
What clubs did you join?
I was part of the Debate Club in first year, but ever since sophomore year I had been in the Student Affairs Central Body (SACB).
Was it difficult being in the honors section?
Categorically, yes it was. You have to keep up with an accelerated curriculum, on top of the pressure of being in the class itself, plus the other social pressures outside the class.
What are your study habits?
I’m a bad example actually. I had the ‘kung kaya gawin sa recess yung homework, gawin sa recess’ kind of mentality! But I think I didn’t spend much time studying for tests at home, because I would try my best to understand lectures and lessons in class already, and so reviewing at home was pretty fast for me.
How do you balance work, family and God?
You must know how you work, and you must be open to having a flexible model of time management. I know my priorities. I try to have a routine, and I work fast without compromising quality. I set my eyes on a goal, and I go for it no matter what.
How did you handle all the stress and pressure?
It’s always a matter of perspective. Don’t let the work and pressure get into your head, and everything will be fine. I wasn’t really an organized student and I didn’t have stellar study habits, but if you know your capacity and how fast you work then it’ll be fine. Looking back, after college and working right now, high school stress and pressure is not much, really.
How does it feel to be the valedictorian?
Well of course it feels great to always have any form of achievement, really. But you know the real feeling of achieving comes out only when you see your parents blabbering about your achievements every moment they can to their friends.
What motivated you to do your best in school?
When I was younger, it would always be a prize like another game for my PlayStation or Gameboy, but as I grew older my motivations started to shift to wanting to achieve, because I know that doing well in school will give me more opportunities and a better future, and more importantly, the realization that it’s the best way to give back to our parents who have provided so much for us.
What then is a Lasallian for you?
As I said in my talk during the recent Honors’ Assembly, being a Lasallian need not be about having a checklist on the 10 core values. To be a Lasallian, you have to know what these 10 core values mean for yourself in the grit of every day. A Lasallian keeps on asking the questions that matter, and answers these questions with action.
What is your challenge to all Lasallians?
Always see your role as a part of the bigger picture. Many of us will find that desire to change many things in society, and I’m very well sure that you know that will not change overnight. But know that you don’t have to think big: you don’t have to glorify nation-building, and you don’t have to make big sacrifices to change the world. Changing the world happens every day of your life and acknowledging the fact that your role, in whatever you do, is part of a complicated system that will inevitably change for the better.
Delfin, as his final note, believes that more premium should be ascribed to values than in achieving, saying, “At the end of the day, it is about making the choice of doing well with integrity.” And definitely, we have seen him attain various titles and awards all rooted in virtue and in God.
You make us all proud, Delfin!