Cedric Allen U. Katigbak, with a General Weighted Average (GWA) of 1.16071, leads the College of Development Communication’s (CDC) Silver Class of 2023 as valedictorian and summa cum laude.

On behalf of his class, Katigbak addressed CDC’s 25th Testimonial and Recognition Program for Graduating and Honor Students held on August 3 at the UPLB CAS Auditorium.

Facing the challenges of the pandemic

Katigbak experienced his fair share of obstacles during his educational journey. He had grown into a shining instance of dedication and drive after navigating the difficulties of studying while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and honing the skills he had acquired in the field of Devcom.

One of the biggest obstacles he faced while pursuing his education was the pandemic pandemic. It interfered with how he managed to learn, particularly in the higher-level Devcom courses that called for not just precedent knowledge from earlier semesters. He was a social learner who found it hard to adjust to taking classes online because he preferred in-person conversations and hands-on activities, which afterall is the nature of Devcom praxis.

He used a three-pronged strategy to get through these challenges. First, he surrounded himself with a solid circle of friends and org mates facing similar struggles. They supported one another and were held responsible for their progress. While studying, he practiced self-control and averted distractions like social media. Finally, he prioritized his mental health by watching motivational videos and having meaningful conversations with friends. He also maintained a healthy lifestyle involving regular exercise.

Academics and other interests

He managed his time well despite having an active schedule as a student leader and participant in several organizations. He became chairperson of the CDC Freshman Council.

He encouraged focusing on the current task to produce high-quality outputs. His experiences inspired him to be even more active in addressing social issues and advocating for positive change. Furthermore, he pointed out the significance of learning outside the classroom by immersing oneself in various communities. Attending educational discussions with different sectors allowed him to interact with professionals and gain insights into the hardships faced by farmers, women, and other marginalized groups.

Aside from family, friends, and children who have worked in sectors before for every subject, Cedric’s own dream also became his motivation.

“Kasi gusto kong maging television news presenter or anchor. May idol ako si David Moore, isang American. Tapos sa Philippines naman ang idol ko ay si Karmina Constantino. So I followed them on social media. Tapos everytime na nakikita kong nag po post sila ng stories they produce, bigla kong maaalala ‘Ay may gagawin pa pala ako’. Sila yung motivation ko from time to time na okay I really have to work it because I want to be like them,” he said.

Katigbak managed his expectations based on what he knew he could do. He found advocacies, immersed himself in different communities, and developed an awareness on what was happening around him. 

His advice to others is to learn inside the classroom and seek for learning opportunities outside. Through this, they would be able to bring their best foot forward whenever they face another community or another person that they can work with in the future. 

As a summa cum laude

Katigbak did not expect to be lead CDC’s Silver Class. He shared that during the semester before his last one, he received his lowest GWA, which potentially compromised his chances of graduating summa cum laude. Fortunately, he received a flat one GWA during his last semester.

He thought back on the difficulties he went through and the sacrifices he had made, feeling that all of his efforts had been fruitful. 

Parang nabalik lahat nung memories na nahihirapan ako. I was alone, studying at our house. I am so grateful to all my professors, family and friends who helped me to be here,” he added.

Cedric is the second summa cum laude CDC has produced in its 25-year history. (Leanshey Castillo and Maurice Paner)