Honor, humility and confidence—three moving words that the seven Magna Cum Laude and ten Cum Laude DOST Scholars brought with them as they proudly marched on stage receiving their diplomas, awards and medals during the separate commencement exercises of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) Mindanao, Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT) and Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT) in the Caraga region.
Magna Cum Laude:
- Ian Jake Galorio (ASSCAT)
- Clydon Requillo (PNU Mindanao)
- Marinelle Ramos (PNU Mindanao)
- Sheena Balais (PNU Mindanao)
- Rhea Jane Love Cuartero (PNU Mindanao)
- Bernard Abuloc (PNU Mindanao)
- Arnold Abadiano (PNU Mindanao)
- Aprille Alipante (ASSCAT)
- Daryl Mae Lajato (ASSCAT)
- Vina Pangapalan (PNU Mindanao)
- Rizza Acdal (PNU Mindanao)
- Ivy Rose Alabado (PNU Mindanao)
- Kimberly Claire Besas (PNU Mindanao)
- Crisanta Montejo (PNU Mindanao)
- Kenny James Cubero (SSCT)
- Sandy Madera (SSCT)
- Hazel Oliquino (SSCT)
The DOST Scholars from PNU Mindanao recounted their experiences on how the DOST scholarship became instrumental to their achievement. Not only did the scholars march tall and proud, they also carried with them stories of struggle, survival and success as they juggle academic life, family and jobs.
More than just a Financial Assistance
To a student who served as president of the DOST Scholars Society, Marinelle Ramos, a Magna Cum Laude graduate, the DOST Scholarship gave her a sense of fulfillment and purpose. “Being a DOST Scholar is a great privilege since it did not only help us financially but also personally. It taught me to govern the group, coordinated with high ranking officials, and boosted my self-confidence,” Marinelle said.
Aside from the confidence boost, Marinelle admits that the financial assistance of the DOST Scholarship has also developed her sense of humility and thrift. “That time, my family could not afford to pay the tuition of my sister who was studying at a Medical School. Having that amount of money [from the DOST Scholarship] helped my family to go through. I was not forced by my parents but it taught me to prioritize my needs and use my money responsibly instead of spending it to leisure activities,” she shared.
This was also true for Kimberly Besas and Fevwileane Padalapat, DOST Scholar grads, who served as breadwinners of their family all throughout their college life. “I am so thankful that I became a scholar. The DOST Scholarship has not only changed me but it has also moved my parents to change their habits on arguing over money when they saw me taking over the family’s finances. They saw me writing a long list of expenses and felt how I managed our situation. They witnessed how I was able to balance my academic and financial responsibilities. Over time, I became the family’s inspiration,” Fevwileane explained.
“My mom and dad are separated. My mom migrated to Manila and my dad has another family to feed. Being the eldest, I have been through many jobs just to provide the basic needs of my six younger siblings. The DOST Scholarship has eased the burden, it was not just for me but for my whole family,” Kimberly added.
Kimberly Besas, Cum Laude from the Philippine Normal University, recalls her story as the breadwinner of the family while studying in college.
DOST Scholarship empowers
The DOST Scholars in the Philippine Normal University – Mindanao also shared stories of personal transformation, of how it changed their mindset in life. This is evident to how Arnold Abadiano, a Magna Cum Laude graduate, has [in a way] developed his interest in research through the DOST Scholarship.
“There is a pressure in me because my boss is also a DOST scholar in both her undergraduate and graduate courses, and I have only Sunday to relax. I’m glad that as a DOST Scholar, I was able to help and serve not just for the university but by also becoming a part of the contributor to develop research in our institution. An educator’s role does not only end up to passing knowledge to students, he/she has to expand the knowledge through research to improve curricular programs in universities on the countryside,” Arnold explains.
Similarly, like how Arnold developed his passion for research, Chris John R. Cagas, another DOST Scholar, has also developed passion from his course after passing the DOST Scholarship.
“It is unusual how an easy-go-lucky person like me, who is not an academic striver, got accepted from one of the most prestigious scholarships nationwide. At first, it felt like I didn’t belong in this circle of excellent students. But after I became scholar, I become conscious of my demeanor. Every time I hang out with my friends, I remind myself that I am not just an ordinary scholar but a DOST scholar, and it’s something worth holding up for. Through the scholarship, I am reminded of how education can transform someone with a personality like me. I don’t just want to teach my students the knowledge, I want to cultivate their passion in education like how I have developed mine,” Chris John explained.
This was also the case of Marion Jane Montilla, a scholar who considers herself as a teenage mother. She dropped out school after discovering her pregnancy. However, she was able to gather up the courage to re-enroll and apply for the scholarship.
“My life as a student is full of regrets. I went through so many courses at different universities and finally settled at PNU. But I became pregnant right after getting admitted. Depression hit me for a year but I didn’t give up, I still sought the positive side of my situation and enrolled again after my conception. I did not even expect to become a DOST Scholar. The idea of being the scholar pushed me to do more in my life, to not settle for less. Now, I can see myself as an inspiration to other students to work hard and not settle from mediocrity,” says Marion.
Molding Science and Tech leaders
Since its implementation in 1994, the Department of Science and Technology has been providing scholarships to talented and deserving students whose families’ socioeconomic status cannot suffice the college education. It has produced thousands of undergraduates who have excelled in the fields of science and technology in the country.
In Caraga, a total of 42 undergraduate DOST Scholars will graduate for the class of 2017. The graduates received their scholarships under the R.A. 10612 and R.A. 7687, or otherwise known as the Junior Level Science Scholarship Program and the Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994.
According to Meriam Bouquia, scholarship coordinator in Caraga, the admission exam for the undergraduate scholarships for the 2018 will be on the 4th quarter of the year.