Deah Tolentino-Navarro

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My fellow Thomasians, ladies and gentlemen,Good Evening.

It is a great honor for me to be here tonight to celebrate this wonderful occasion with you all. Being a Thomasian is a great privilege.  It has provided me with the necessary tools,resources and values that I needed to pursue my aspirations in life.  And what are these aspirations?  To someday have a better life with my own family,a successful and fulfilling career that I could be proud of,to own my business that would secure me financially,to help my extended family back home and to provide them with a better life and to make a difference in the lives of the people that I affect. 

These were my dreams back then.  Dreams that are very typical in every individual who aspire to leave their homeland to work in a foreign land.  After graduation from College,the first thing I asked myself was,Where do I go from here?At that time,  I knew that in order to realize my ambitions in life I have to utilize all the values that I have acquired and developed over the years of studying at U.S.T.  And what are these values?The value of hardwork,discipline,patience,perseverance,love of family,love of work,self confidence,and most importantly faith in God Almighty.

Right after graduation,while most of my classmates pursued a medical career,I started looking for work. My first job was at San Juan de Dios Hospital where I started as a Staff physical therapist for about a year. At the end of the year ,I was promoted to a Chief Physical Therapist position in charge of the entire rehab.dept.  At the same time,I was also working as a part time Instructor at Perpetual Help College of Physical Therapy in Binan,Laguna. I worked for two years in the Phil. before I decided to go to the States for a better job opportunity.  I left for the States in Aug.1986.  My first job in the States was that of a Director of a Physical Therapy dept. of a small hospital in Marlin,Texas.  Marlin is a small town located close to central Texas with a population of 7,000 mostly caucasians and blacks.  I worked there for about a year before I decided to become a traveling physical therapist which enabled me to travel extensively throughout United States which I did for 4 years.  And it was where I met J.R. Navarro, another traveling physical therapist who became my loving and supportive husband and business partner for 15 years with whom I 've been blessed to have two healthy and intelligent children ages 10 and 3.

One of my goals in life is to someday be reunited with my family back home in the Phil. and to be able to give them a chance to experience the kind of life that I have experienced here in the States.  And this was the motivation behind our migration to Canada.  Sponsoring family relatives is much faster and easier in Canada than in the States.  In the States, visa processing could take up to 10 years.  It was a tough decision, and a very risky one at that, but it's all worth it. 

My husband and I moved to Vancouver,B.C. Canada in 1991 to fulfill another aspect of my dream.  At that time, we had high hopes and great expectations.  Our first few months in Vancouver was very tough.  We've experienced what most new Immigrants go through and that was difficulty looking for a job.  Our work experience in the States as well as a Canadian and a U.S. P.T. license to go with it did not secure us the kind of job we were hoping for right away.  It took hard work, patience,a nd determination but most importantly, faith in God that got us through the hard times.

After 4 years of working as an Associate Physical Therapist in a Private Physical Therapy Clinic,we decided to open our own Private Physical Therapy Clinic in Vancouver in 1995 and after three years of successful operation we expanded our practice to Surrey and opened another branch in 1998.  Owning my business has enabled me to sponsor my mother and three of my siblings from the Phil. and they all now have better and fulfilling lives in Canada together with their own families. 

The biggest challenge that I face in my career as a Physical Therapist is making a difference in the lives of every patient that I treat.  Dealing with the physically challenged on a daily basis is not an easy task.  My achievement as well as my fulfillment comes from being able to add quality life to their years be it as simple as bringing back smile to their faces after years of agony from physical pain, or making them walk again on their own after being wheelchair bound for years or enabling them to return back to work after recovering from a serious car accident or as complex as restoring back function to a severely brain damaged patient.

In retrospect,I have no regrets with the decisions that I have made in my life.  Success is just an individual perception of an achievement that is based on the values that one treasures most in life.  Every person is capable of achieving success in their own way.  For every endeavour there should always be a vision.  For where there is no vision,there can be no achievement.  I have always believed that in this life,we can do anything that we put ourselves into, provided that we stick to it long enough.

If we go deep into ourselves, we will find that each and every one of us possess exactly what it is that we desire. We just have to believe in ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are. In this life,we either follow paths or make trails. Never lose sight of your goals as well as your dreams in life for it helps if you know what you're aiming for. And I thank our Almighty God that all these years He has blessed all my efforts and that is why i am where I am now. My education was the greatest heritage that my mother and my late father have given me. I am very grateful for the education that I have acquired through my Alma mater for it has provided me with the means of achieving everything that I could possibly hope for in life.

Indeed I am very proud to be a Thomasian. I thank you all for this opportunity tonight and God bless us all.

 

 

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