A Student Who Graduated Shares His Journey of Being a ‘Valedictorian’ to ‘Sakto Lang’

We all aim to be a ‘Valedictorian’ of our batch. It is indeed a dream for every students who strive so much on their studies. This boy inspires a lot of people for being the highest achiever in high school with a ton of medals. Yet he graduated from college with nothing but lanyards to share on Graduation Day. Yet Earl Joshua Alcantara became an inspiration to many people through his unexpected story.

Alcantara graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) last June and celebrated his achievement with a tweet that has since gone viral.

Photo Courtesy Alcantara Earl

According to his tweet:

“Pumasok ng UST na Valedictorian, magtatapos na sakto lang. Hanggang lanyard na lang mga medal ko ngayon HAHAHA. Pero marami akong natutunan sa mga taong nakilala ko. Forever grateful for the 5 years’ worth of life lessons. Maraming salamat, UST!” he wrote in his tweet.

(I entered UST as class valedictorian, I finished college with grades just enough to pass. I’ve accumulated lanyards, not medals. But I learned a lot from the people I’ve met. I’ll be forever grateful for the 5 years’ worth of life lessons. Thank you, UST!)

As of this writing, the viral tweet has garnered more than 48,000 likes and above 3,000 retweets.

Alcantara’s posted two different graduation photos – one showing his highschool achievements and the other one is his college photo where he was showing off lanyards instead of medals.

Alcantara’s performance in college was in stark contrast to his high school years where was always on the academic spotlight and even graduated at the top of his class.

Photo Courtesy Alcantara Earl

Alcantara told Inquirer that,

“Life for me teaches values which are not learned in school. Teachers are those people we meet and the experiences we had that eventually mold us to become the person we are now,”

“That is why the medals equate [to] life lessons we get from living. Sobrang ganda lang ng idea na learning is everywhere whether we are in the university or not,” he added.

According to Earl, he had been very active academically and in extra-curricular activities in high school as he studied at La Trinidad Academy in Imus, Cavite. He capped the level as the valedictorian, receiving a lot of awards.

But college was more difficult than he thought. While he received academic scholarship from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where he would graduate, he was not able to cope with the demands of college life. He would soon lose the academic scholarship but was still able to pass the course.

His story inspired a lot of people as he told the so-called ‘average’ students that they should not pressure themselves. Instead, they should let occasional failures turn into learning experiences.

There will always be something to celebrate even in small victories.