125 high school graduates from public high schools in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna & Bulacan signed a contract with SM Foundation to formalize their 4 – 5 year-scholarship grants in various partner universities. The students together with their parents were given their orientation by SMFI Education Program Manager Eleanor Lansang. They were briefed, among others, of their duties and responsibilities as well as benefits as SM scholars.
New scholars from Rizal, the Visayas (Cebu, Iloilo & Bacolod) , Mindanao (Davao & Cagayan de Oro), in Naga, in Cauayan, Isabela, Baguio, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Tarlac & Olongapo had their own contract signing.
The scholars underwent rigid examinations, interviews and family background checks to qualify for the grant. All of the scholars, who garnered an average of at least 88% in the 2nd or 3rd grading in their senior high school year, belong to indigent families.
Most of the scholars are in the upper echelon of their classes. Jomar Cardines, Valedictorian of Sangley Point National High School could not contain his joy upon signing his Agreement with SMFI. His mother, Rebecca, a widow, is a sewer of curtains & tablecloths and works as a real estate agent on the side “if orders for curtains are few”. Jomar is her youngest son. Three older children have either finished their studies also on scholarship grants or have families of their own. Jomar will enroll in nearby San Sebastian College Recoletos de Cavite to save on transportation expenses. When asked how she feels about the SMFI grant, Rebecca says “maiiba ang buhay namin”. She is confident that Jomar, who aced the qualifying examinations given by SMFI in SM Bacoor, will continue to reap honors.
Calvin Penilla who graduated Salutatorian from the Tugatog National High School in Malabon, will take up Computer Science in FEU. He was accompanied by his mother, Cristina, a housewife but his father, a jeepney driver, could not join them as he was on his usual “pasada”. Both Calvin & his mother were overjoyed with the grant saying, “masarap ang pakiramdam”. Denver Amorin of Valenzuela, Bulacan is Valedictorian of Caybiga High School in Caloocan, which is one ride away from home. His father, an electrician, has always encouraged him and his siblings to take education seriously “sapagkat ito lamang ang makatulong sa atin sa pag-ahon sa kahirapan”. Denver always dreamt of studying in a private school and his dream has come true as he will enroll in FEU to take up accountancy. Jon David Mediana from the Balibago National High School in Santa Rosa, Laguna will take up ECE at the Perpetual Help College in Biñan. His parents run a small boarding house in Biñan and when sometimes, they are short of cash, a sister who is already working chips in to help with family expenses.
According to Carmen Linda Atayde, SMFI Executive Director for Education, every year, there is an increase in the number of applicants to the Scholarship Program. In 2013, SMFI supported 1,300 college scholars nationwide and out of this, 230 are expected to graduate or have graduated this March-April. There will be a marked increase this coming schoolyear as SMFI has decided to support 100 more scholars in Tacloban City and in other municipalities of Leyte province as well as in other typhoon-ravaged Visayan provinces.
There are countless students and parents who are relying on SM Foundation for the education of their children, be it a college or a technical-vocation education. With education as the core of the Corporate Social Responsibility of the SM Group of Companies, the Foundation pledges to support these bright students improve their lives through scholarship grants—true to the words of SM Founder & patriarch Henry Sy, Sr.— “together, we will continue to make a difference”.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014