New SM scholar Erin Mhae Evangelio
With its goal to bring its scholars a step closer to their dreams, SM Foundation (SMFI) proudly welcomed the new batch of SM college scholars during its Rise to Greatness online event.
Broadcasted live on its Facebook account and YouTube Channel, the online awarding of the SM college scholarships presented the more than 300 college freshmen—completing the 1,300 current SM college scholars. Of the more than 300 new scholars, 60% of which are from the provinces while 40% are in the NCR enrolled in 140 partner schools nationwide.
SM scholars enjoy free tuition, receives monthly stipend, book allowance and the opportunity to earn extra income by working in SM group during school breaks. Aside from these benefits, scholars are assured of engagement activities that will spur their academic, personal and social growth.
Ticket out of poverty
Two of the new SM scholars were given a chance to share their journey toward that day. One of whom was Erin Mhae Evangelio, an island girl from Obando, Bulacan. Expressing her heartfelt gratitude for the program, Erin shared that her family experienced the worst in life due to financial constraints and she sees education as her ticket out of it.
Her father is a fisherman while her mother is the one selling the catch near their area.
“Nakikita ko po si mama minsan umiiyak, sasabihin niya wala kaming panggastos. Dumating po sa point na nag-away po yung parents ko dahil sa panggastos. Tapos nasabay pa po nun na may sakit yung kapatid ko. So muntik na po silang maghiwalay. Bilang anak at panganay, ang sakit sa akin nun dahil sa financial problem masisira po yung pamilya namin,” Erin shared.
“Pinangako ko sa sarili ko na iaahon ko po sila sa kahirapan. Gusto ko po mamuhay ang pamilya ko nang komportable at ‘di na namin poproblemahin ang pera,” she further added.
Erin is now taking up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at Meycauayan College.
Strong-willed student entrepreneur
Another new SM scholar who shared his experiences was Ruel Escano from Dasmarinas, Cavite. At a young age, Ruel had to sell turon in their school to help his parents make ends meet: “Bata pa lang po ako, marunong na po ako maghanap at kumita ng pera. Naglalako po ako ng turon sa loob ng school. Minsan napaparinggan na nga ako ng mga taga-canteen kasi naaagawan ko sila ng customers.”
Ruel’s father now works as a driver in a security company, while his mother sells homewade waffle in their neighborhood.
New SM scholar Ruel Escano with his parents and sibling
“Maaga ko pong na-realize yung value ng financial aspect sa pag-aaral kasi ang hirap talagang mag-focus kapag hindi lang sa school nakatuon yung utak mo. Kapag uuwi ako, kailangan ko pang isipin kung paano ko sasabihin kina mama na mayroong kailangan sa school, eh alam ko namang kapos kami sa pera. Minsan umuuwi akong gutom. Mahirap po talaga yung tititig ka na lang sa mga kaklase mo minsan na kumakain,” Ruel recalled.
Positive that his future will be secured through the help of the scholarship program, Ruel is now taking up
An inspiration to this bunch
The day won’t be complete if the new scholars won’t hear something from their ate/kuya in the program. SMFI invited Wency Giron, an SM scholar alumnus batch 2016, to share how the program helped him and his family—giving hope and to show to the students that everything will fall into place with their grit and perseverance.
with Latin honors, Cum Laude, with the course of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of the Assumption in Pampanga. Today, he is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a director of an accountancy board exam review center. He also owns two franchises of a milktea shop, aside from owning a beauty salon. He is also into stock trading.
SM scholar alumnus Wency Giron with his mother and sibling
Asked for his parting message for the scholars: “Mangarap po kayo. Yung nararanasan niyo ngayon, temporary lang dahil ang kapalit nito ay lifetime na magandang kinabukasan. At sana ay sulitin ninyo ang binigay na oportunidad ng SM, pati na rin ang mga sakripisyo ng mga magulang ninyo.”
Furthermore, SMFI executive director Debbie Pe Sy ended the program with her message for the scholars and their family: “This is a momentous event for us at SMFI since we will be able to give more than 300 students a fighting chance to uplift the economic status of their families - and eventually inspire them to give back to their respective communities, which is also the core mandate of SMFI—to spread social good.”
SMFI, through its Scholarship program, provides deserving and qualified students with access to college education and technical-vocational studies since 1993. To date, SMFI has produced more than 8,000 scholar-graduates.