SM Foundation: A beacon of hope for Yolanda scholars
SM Foundation Yolanda scholar-graduates (from L-R) Julius Gabriel Melo, Mary June Villareal, Justine Marie Taneo, and Glenn Paul Embodo during the 23rd Presentation of SM Scholar-Graduates of Batch 2019 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
This year’s Yolanda scholar-graduates under the SM College Scholarship Program shared how SM Foundation brought light to their dilemma of continuing higher education after the onslaught of the Typhoon Yolanda in the Eastern Visayas in 2013.
These 43 Yolanda scholar-graduates, which is part of the 270 total scholar-graduates of Batch 2019, were filled with gratefulness when they attended the recent 23rd Presentation of SM College Scholar-Graduates held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. This event culminated their college education under the program.
Same with other SM scholars, the Yolanda scholars enjoyed free tuition fees, monthly stipends and summer/Christmas part time opportunities in SM malls throughout their whole tertiary education.
One of these Yolanda scholar-graduates was Mary June Villareal who took up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at Saint Paul School of Professional Studies (SPSPS) in Leyte. Her family only depends on the income of their mini sari-sari store to provide for their needs. The devastation brought by the Typhoon Yolanda made their situation even harder and her dream to finish college education then seemed to be more difficulty to reach.
Villareal was elated when her high school teacher announced to their class about the SM scholarship program. Despite the tedious application process, she was able to be included in the list of 100 SM scholarship grantees who are Yolanda survivors.
SM college scholar-graduates dedicated a heartfelt song number to Tatang, SM Foundation and its partners.
“The scholarship was really a blessing po talaga sa family namin. And here I am now thanking Tatang and the whole SM Foundation with all my heart kasi naka-graduate po ako sa isang magandang school dahil sa tulong nila,” VIllareal expressed.
Glenn Paul Embodo, also a scholar-graduate of BS in Accountancy at SPSPS, said that SM did not only give him the means to access higher education, but also helped him in terms of personal development.
“Today, I can say na I became a better person because of SM. I know that I can also be a good accountant in the future because I learned a lot from a very good educational institution, the SPSPS, that I was able to get in because of the scholarship. Thank you, Tatang and SM Foundation for molding the future nation-builders of the country,” Embodo said.
Justine Marie Taneo, also a scholar-graduate of BS in Accountancy at SPSPS, recalled how the scholarship made her college life a lot easier financially. “I'm really thankful po kasi pag mag-e-exam, yung mga classmates namin magbabayad pa sila. Kaming SM scholars, kukuha na lang ng slip na may note na scholar kami ng SM, wala na po kaming babayaran,” Taneo shared.
Taneo also shared that she only need to worry about the miscellaneous fee, which is just around fifteen pesos, during enrollment, “Laking relief po yun sa pamilya namin kasi halos umaabot po ng P20K yung bayaran sa isang sem. Hind po yun kaya ng parents ko. Kaya thankful po kami lalo na kay Tatang.”
Julius Gabriel Melo, eldest of the three siblings, learned about the scholarship from his classmate. He gave his best in the whole application process but did not expect much since he saw hundreds of applicants who were also vying for the scholarship. He was ecstatic when he got the scholarship confirmation.
“Dahil sa SM scholarship, nakuha ko po ang pangarap kong kurso, which is BS in Accountancy, sa SPSPS. Malaki pong tulong ang scholarship dahil kung wala ito, siguro nag-working student na po talaga ako. Hindi kasi talaga kaya ng pamilya ko dahil ang papa ko ay isang salesman at ang mama ko ay isang manikurista,” Melo said.
Melo also mentioned how happy his parents were during his college graduation day, “Kita ko po sa mata ng aking mga magulang na masaya talaga sila dahil nakapagpatapos sila, sa tulong ng scholarship na ito, ng isang anak kahit hindi man sila nakapagtapos ng kolehiyo.”
All of these four Yolanda scholar-graduates are now reviewing for their Certified Public Accountants Licensure Examination (CPALE).