It was another fully packed event on PSU’s most recent edition of Recognition Day. As expected, the students’ names were called out one by one as they received their awards. The normal afternoon had all indications that it would be the same as all the Recognition Day celebrations in the past.

Then the guest of honor took to the stage and held the microphone.

On this recently concluded PSU Recognition Day, the Palawan State University welcomed back one of its distinguished alumni, Atty. Venuz Gapuz-Taliman, to give an inspirational talk to the students who have achieved excellence in the First Semester of School Year 2014-2015.

In a selfless display of humility, she shared the story of how she was offered to be the day’s guest speaker. It was College of Arts and Humanities Dean Dr. Gabilyn G. Orilla who invited her to give an inspirational talk, as Atty. Gapuz-Taliman was a student of hers from way back at the (now defunct) PSU College of Arts and Sciences.

The distinguished attorney shared that when Dean Orilla called her up and said she wanted her to deliver an inspirational talk on Recognition Day, her initial reaction was, “Dean, bakit ako? How could I convince my listeners if I myself did not receive any of these awards being given today?”

In response, the CAH Dean said, “But you managed to hurdle one of the most difficult board exams in the country.”

At this point she went on to share that her being an underachiever in college did not stop her from striving for excellence later on, which was warmly received with a thunderous applause from the audience composed of the University Deans, some faculty members, the awardees and their parents. Now, Atty. Gapuz-Taliman is a reputable personality in legal circles throughout Palawan, having relevant experience in the City Prosecution Office of Puerto Princesa.

The Recognition Day, which was a celebration of student excellence in the First Semester of SY 2014-2015, was also a trip down memory lane for the guest of honor. She was able to share how she always reflected average grades and a lack of involvement in co-curricular activities in school as a college student. In 1999, she painstakingly prepared for the Bar Exams and she became licensed to practice law. She also pointed out that, unlike so many who have made several attempts at the fabled Philippine Bar Exams, she was able to do this in one try.

She ended her speech with a few words borrowed from Helen Keller. She said, “Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”