News Release

Young Latter-day Saint Graduates as Valedictorian

“Gratefulness comes not only when we express our thanks. More importantly, it comes when we give back to the people who have made us who we are,” said Nathan Gordon Orencia in a speech during his graduation rites at the Claret School of Quezon City. “Gratefulness comes when we use our privilege and abundance to serve the people.”


The 18-year-old young man from Quezon City graduated from Senior High not only as a Valedictorian but also with flying colors, 12 to be exact. He received nine subject excellence awards with three special recognition.

These include the Fr. Stephen Sala CMF Service Award, Best in CLE, Best in 21st Century Literature, Best in Practical Research 2, Best Research Award, Best in English for Academic and Professional Purposes, Best in Empowerment Technology, Best in Work Immersion, Best in General Biology, and Best in Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics. He also received special recognition for Competition Training-English and a non-academic recognition for Creative Writing in English.

Like any typical young member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nathan had his fair share of challenges in order to meet his goals.

“Juggling my academics with other responsibilities was a challenge because there is only so much time in a day,” he said. “I had to maximize my time in order to fulfill all my responsibilities, which meant making time for each of my responsibilities.”

With a passion to excel, he learned at a young age to manage his time wisely and focus on the essential things, which included obtaining spiritual knowledge.

Besides graduating from high school, Nathan is also a seminary graduate of the Church, which is a four-year religious educational program for young men and women ages 14 to 18. He emphasized that his achievement was a blessing of attending seminary regularly.

Additionally, Nathan served as a second assistant to the Priest’s Quorum, an office of responsibility in the Aaronic Priesthood held generally by young men ages 16 to 18. He magnified his calling while he served as a staffer in his school’s newspaper, the Tanglaw ng Claret. He also competed in several competitions for writing and public speaking.

Like what he said in his valedictory speech, Nathan expressed with a grateful heart that his accomplishments are not all his alone. He excelled academically through the support of his family and friends in both Church and school. “When I was having a hard time, I turned to these people for help and support."

His parents, Emelito Reymund and Lilybeth Orencia, played a major role in his success as well. They counseled him on the importance of attending seminary regularly and keeping the Sabbath day holy. They also encouraged him to pursue learning and excellence in all things. More importantly, whenever he failed or felt discouraged, his parents never failed to encourage him, to trust the Lord and to try again.

To the youth, Nathan’s advice is to just keep going.

“When people talk of time management, people will typically say find time to do all the things that you need to do, but time management is active, not passive. Make time for the things that you need to do. If you are struggling with school, make an effort to devote time to your studies. Make an effort to attend Seminary faithfully, as a greater capacity to learn in knowledge and wisdom, both temporal and spiritual, is a blessing of Seminary, and I bear testimony of this. Balance secular and spiritual studies, and you will have a blessed education.”

With a bright future ahead of him, Nathan plans to attend university for at least a year and then serve a full-time mission.

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