New SM Scholars from Leyte draw strength from loved ones
SM Foundation welcomes about 470 new SM Scholars for the school year 2023-2024
In the journey towards knowledge and personal growth, students are never alone. Their path is illuminated by the love, support, and wisdom of their families and friends, leading them to success and brighter horizons.
This is exemplified by the remarkable story of four college freshmen from Eastern Visayas, proudly joining the ranks of approximately 470 new SM scholars for the academic year 2023-2024.
For the family’s light and foundation
Hailing from Palo, Leyte, Maria Danilen Daga draws her strength from her parents, especially her mother, who emerged as the family's pillar when her father perished during the devastating typhoon Yolanda.
“He was a perfect father for me. He was also my best friend,” she lovingly recalled. “My mother encounters a lot of struggles in life but still has a big heart and is still hard-working, passionate, and supportive of us, her three children, who are still studying. She is a strong woman who acts not only as the “ilaw ng tahanan” but also as the foundation of our family.”
"My mother's sacrifices know no bounds; she puts our education first. She pours her heart and soul into managing our small business to ensure we can continue our studies," she added.
Inspired by her mother's indomitable spirit, Danilen aspires to carve her own path, working diligently to fulfill the dreams she envisions for her family’s future.
Danilen with her siblings and mother.
Fellow Freshman John Paul Cruz spends most of his time studying or helping his brother with work in a construction company. His unrelenting efforts bore fruit even after relocating from Metro Manila to Leyte during the pandemic. Overcoming language barriers, he rose as a leader in school projects, earning high honors and a string of accolades such as Best in Social Science, Best in Science, Best in Research, Best Research Presenter, Conduct Award, Service Award, and Governor’s Award.
But all of this would not have been possible without the balance brought by John Paul’s friends. Amidst his struggles, his carefully chosen circle of friends enriches his academic journey, fostering a holistic school experience.
“My strongest connections were formed in late elementary and junior high,” he said. He and his friends are academic achievers, pulling each other up and inspiring one another to strive to be better. “We flourish collectively, not seeking acknowledgment, but fueled by the profound connections of friendship” he reveals.
John Paul Cruz with his friends
Two other scholars enrolled at the Western Leyte College, pursuing an accountancy degree, are Jenny Lyn Durano and Jonabed Pobadora. Much like their fellow scholars, both are fueled by their family and friends to pursue their limitless potential.
“My family and friends inspire me to pursue my dreams. As I pursue higher education, they always remind me to ‘take the risk or lose the chance,’” Jenny Lyn said.
Jonabed, on the other, is guided by the wisdom of her cousin, who reminds her to seek the guidance of God in everything she does. With this wisdom serving as her daily compass, she finished Senior High School with high honors.
It also allowed her to begin pursuing her limitless capabilities as early as high school. With her peers, she created a business plan that involved making cookies out of cocomote, a flour made from coconut and sweet potato. The innovation of their team won a city-wide competition.
Jonabed as she joins a city-wide competition on business planning.
As she embarks on a business-focused college journey, Jonabed remains determined to elevate her cookie venture, driven by her faith and family’s support. Her ambition extends beyond academics; she envisions graduating with an Accountancy degree and establishing a business to help her parents realize their dream of a new home.
With 3,791 graduates to date, the SM college scholarship program has made a significant impact. These scholars have been nurtured through comprehensive educational opportunities and are now pursuing varied careers, breaking the chains of generational poverty.
As they seek knowledge and personal growth, SM Foundation's scholars embody the strength of love, support, and ambition. They lead the charge towards brighter futures, guided by their families, friends, and unyielding spirits.