SM scholar feature: Taking one step at a time

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.

SM scholar Ana Liza Dalida

Ana’s father works as a construction worker, earning just enough to support the family of six while her mother stays at home to take care of the children. Being the third child in a brood of four, Ana felt that excelling in her academics is the key to providing a better life for her family. With her two older siblings only able to finish high school while her father was not even able to finish grade school, Ana wanted to be the first in her family to finish college.

“Gusto kong makapagtapos at matulungan yung pamilya ko (I want to finish my studies and be able to help my family),” Ana said.

Through hard work, Ana excelled in her studies, particularly in Math and Science. Last year, she placed first in her school’s Science Quiz Bee and third at a Math-inik at Math-alino competition. Ana recently graduated from Cupang National High School in Antipolo City as first honorable mention and also awarded ‘Best in Science’.

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

Ana is only one of the 275 new SM scholars (as of April 2015) given renewed hope by SM Foundation through its College Scholarship Program. In April, SM Foundation held a contract signing for 145 students from NCR and other areas in Bulacan, Baliwag, Sta. Rosa, Calamba, San Pablo and Cavite for this year’s first batch of scholars.

Since 1993, SM Foundation has provided college scholarships to underprivileged but bright high school students. SM scholars are provided full scholarship grants with monthly allowance. They are also given the opportunity to work part-time in SM malls to get relevant work experience and help augment their allowances during Christmas and summer breaks. Upon graduation, scholars are also offered the opportunity to join the SM Group through an exclusive job offer event.

As of end 2014, the program has produced over 1,900 scholar-graduates and supports 1,500 scholars in its 82 partner schools nationwide.