Scholarship grant opens new opportunities to young hopefuls

One hundred and forty-five (145) scholars from National Capital Region and nearby provinces are now scholars of SM Foundation for the school year 2015-2016. They are from Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Malabon City, Navotas City, Quezon City, Taguig City, Tanay City and Valenzuela City.

SM Foundation welcomes its first batch of scholars for the school year 2015-2016

Together with their parents and guardians, the scholars were welcomed by SM Foundation Executive Director Debbie Sy and SM Foundation Executive Director for Education Linda Atayde at the Mall of Asia Arena Annex Building in April. They were briefed on the duties, responsibilities, and benefits of SM scholars by Eleanor Lansang, the Scholarship Program Manager.

Aside from free tuition, the scholars will get a monthly allowance from the Foundation plus a chance to work with SM during Christmas and summer breaks. They can choose from among the 83 partner universities and colleges of the Foundation to enroll in their course of choice.

A total of 275 SM scholars are expected to join the SM Foundation College Scholarship Program this coming school year. Each year, SM Foundation maintains 1,500 scholars nationwide.

Here are some stories of the NCR SM Foundation scholars for SY 2015-2016 in their quest for higher education to help their families rise above their circumstances.

Jayvee Boy Agustin opted to go to National University for an Electronics and Communications Engineering degree. His mother works as a seamstress in a clothing factory while his father is a cutter in the same factory. Agustin’s mother accompanied him to get his enrollment certificate so his father would not have to forfeit a day’s wage.

Agustin graduated 8th honorable mention from Ismael Mathay Sr. High School in Quezon City.

When sixteen-year-old Harvay Ianne Arizala saw an SM scholarship poster at the Mall of Asia, he immediately went to the customer

relations department to secure an application form. He said the text from SM Foundation on March 31 approving his application felt like ‘a gift from God’.

“Never in my wildest dream did I picture myself as an SM scholar!” he said.

Arizala will be going to Far Eastern University for an electrical engineering course. His mother, a vendor in the Pasig market, accompanied him to the contract signing.

For Rose Marlu Cheong, a daughter of an electrician, applying for a scholarship was the only opportunity for her to be able to enter college after graduation. Her cousin Leah Marie Salazar, an SM scholar, encouraged her to submit an application for the SM Foundation College Scholarship Program. Graduating from Pasig City High School with an average of 91.48, Cheong is set on taking up electrical engineering. She hopes to enroll at National University.

Eighteen-year-old Ana Liza Dalida was almost in tears when she got a call informing her that she has been accepted into the SM

Foundation College Scholarship Program. She knew that being an SM scholar signified her first step into securing a better future for herself and her family.

With her two older siblings only able to finish high school while her father was not able to finish grade school, Ana wanted to be the first in her family to finish college.

“I want to finish my studies and be able to help my family,” Ana said.

Ana will be taking up Accountancy at National University. She dreams of studying Civil Engineering afterward and hopes to build a house for her family in the future.

Sixteen-year-old Mark Kennedy Estrada graduated as 5th honorable mention with an average of 91.05 from Quezon City High

School. When he was informed by his teacher of the SM Foundation College Scholarship Program, he immediately went to SM Fairview to submit an application.

Estrada’s father used to work as a fish dealer but gave up his job because of his age (71 years old). His mother had to take over his father’s work in Pangasinan, their hometown. Currently, his older sibling is being sent to school by an uncle in exchange for doing household chores. His other sibling, on the other hand, was forced to stop in his schooling. Estrada looks to his scholarship as a chance to secure a better future for his family.

Mary Jhoy Mabulac believes that when an opportunity knocks, one must be fast to open the door. When she heard that the SM

Foundation College Scholarship Program was accepting applications for the school year 2015-2016, she wasted no time in submitting her application.

In high school, Jhoy belonged to the top section and also became part of Araullo High School’s Department of Science and Technology’s Special Science Class. She graduated top 7 among her peers and plans to take up Accountancy in the coming school year.

“SM Foundation gave me a chance to continue my studies,” she said. “I will do my best to make my dreams come true.”
Gloria Joyce Masiglat or Joyjoy had big dreams while growing up. Despite being an only child, Joyjoy’s family’s expenses were greatly

limited by her father’s earnings as a driver. She was even worried that her parents would not be able to support her through college.

But this didn’t deter Joyjoy’s dream of pursuing college. To lessen their expenses, Joyjoy tutors grade school students in Math and Science subjects. She is also active in extracurricular activities and particularly excels in public speaking, placing third in Far Eastern University’s Impromptu Public Speaking Contest in February 2015.

“I used to dream of becoming a teacher but I already accomplished it working as a tutor,” Joyjoy said. “Now that I am given a chance to study by SM Foundation, I want to finish Accounting and pass the CPA exams.”

Valedictorian Marlon Mejoy of Maysan National High School in Valenzuela, Bulacan will be taking up civil engineering in Far Eastern University Institute of Technology this coming school year. His high school teacher encouraged the top 10 students of the school to apply for the SM Foundation College Scholarship Program. He was one of the lucky few who were accepted into the scholarship program.

UPCAT passer, Rhoda May Ocon will enter the University of the Philippines in August as an SM scholar in the College of Education, majoring in Mathematics. Together with other UPCAT passers from the star section of Las Piñas City National Science High School, Ocon will be renting a room near the UP campus to save on transportation expenses. Ocon is the eldest of three children of a tricycle driver father and a science teacher mother. Her dream is to support her younger siblings through college.

Batman Odulio graduated from Pitogo High School in Makati as first honor. He will be going to National University for a degree in computer science.

He recalled how he was on a tricycle when he got a text message from SM Foundation. “I shouted so loudly that the tricycle driver almost lost control of the wheels. He had to stop to ask what happened,” he said.

Odulio’s mother made a living as a labandera. He is determined to work hard and finish his schooling so that he can support his mother. “After I finish my degree, I will make my mother stop working,” he added.

John Paul Gabriel Rodriguez graduated from Mariano Ponce High School in Bulacan. His grades garnered an average of 88 percent which qualified him to apply for SM Foundation’s College Scholarship Program.

Rodriguez’s father used to work as a driver in Dammam, Saudi Arabia but due to his age, his contract was not renewed. He now works as a part-time driver. Rodriguez will be taking up information technology in Baliuag University.

All the scholars were one in expressing their overwhelming gratitude to SM for their scholarship. This will be the start of reaching their dreams for a better future for them and their families.