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Lady Gaga would be proud of this valedictorian’s graduation speech


Only those who are stuck in their privilege bubble would think that last school year’s online setting is just a blip in history. Both students and teachers struggled; some were completely left behind. Those who had to bear this situation had to get motivation from somewhere—and student Lexie Moira M. Cordova collected it from Lady Gaga’s realm.

The 17-year-old HUMSS graduate not only earned the valedictorian title and Student of the Year award but also received nods from her fellow Little Monsters. In their graduation ceremony at University of Batangas on June 19, 2021, Cordova wrapped up her speech with a reference to Gaga’s “911.” She said, “Remember: You are limitless. In the words of Lady Gaga, Your biggest enemy is only yourself. Periodt.” 

Two days after her graduation, we got to talk to Cordova. When asked about her choice of referencing the global superstar, she confessed, “Honestly, while it’s only now I realize it really is the right thing to do—to honor the [MTV Video Music] Tricon [awardee] in my speech. It was actually the idea of my best friend Sebby (Jean Sebastian Gianan), the biggest Little Monster I personally know and love.” 

According to her, Sebby was with her in the entire speech-writing process—a testament to their “I got you” type of friendship. “He is literally the reason why I became a Little Monster too,” she added.

But you might be wondering: What did Cordova talk about onstage that made her cap it off with a “911” quote? 

Chances are Cordova’s GCash account already crossed your TLs in the wake of the #PisoParaSaOnlineClass campaign last year, where students called for donations in exchange for resources such as laptops and phones. “My dad lost his job in ABS-CBN. Now, he drives our tricycle. My mom is a housewife/sari-sari store owner,” said her tweet on August 5, 2020. 

Although she reaped the kindness of strangers, the 17-year-old also endured “cruel prejudices” online. “Those of poverty-shaming [and] claims of publicity stunt that she’s just another ‘clout-chaser,’” she recounted in her speech. “And yet, what would a simple teenager know about the perfect way to convince people she was hurting, when she’s privileged enough to have a roof over her head, to have many scholastic achievements, internet friends and followers?” She had to juggle academics, her job, and contests while sparring with the school year’s challenges. 

In our short interview, Cordova told us, “I wanted to do one thing in this speech: to live my truth. And the truth is that Miss Stefani Germanotta is just the kindest soul anyone from any generation can take a cue [from].”

“There can be a hundred celebrities in a room and 99 of them would still wish to be Lady Gaga. A philanthropist fighting for equality and human rights? That kind of an artist is exactly what we need right now. She is not just a reference at the end of my speech. She is THE inspiration for all of our lives,” she continued.

Now, Cordova has successfully finished grade 12 with flying colors. But she stresses what matters most: “That we are still alive.” 

And with that, Lady Gaga would surely be proud. Periodt.

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Art by Yel Sayo



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