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Daughter of Jeepney Driver Graduates as Ateneo’s Valedictorian of Batch 2019

Studying at one of the best and most expensive schools in the country is something that many students could ever dream of, but for a daughter of a jeepney driver it was in impossible dream that actually came true!

But Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña did not just have the opportunity to study at the Ateneo de Manila University, she also graduates as the Valedictorian of Batch 2019! Wow.

Bendaña completes her degree in Bachelor of Arts major in Management Economics, minor in Development, as Program Awardee and Cum Laude. Who would have thought that the daughter of a poor jeepney driver who could barely put food on the table could actually be among the brightest, most brilliant students in this private school, huh?

Photo credit: Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña / Facebook

The young lady was also the President of the University Student Council (Sanggunian) and received the recognition as the Most Outstanding Student Group for Leadership and Service, St. Ignatius Award for Most Outstanding Scholar, and Most Outstanding Individual for Leadership and Service.

In her essay as part of the application for valedictorian selection published on Ateneo’s website, she detailed what she had gone through and how the school helped her, answering the prompt, “What has Ateneo done for you?”

Her study must have had the most impact to the selection committee because she was the one picked as Batch 2019 Valedictorian among the sea of other brilliant minds.

She shared, in part:

My father is a jeepney driver, whose example taught me to work harder than everyone else—not only because hard work is high dignity but also, while it is no guarantee of success, anything less than that for us would mean complete failure. I always worked harder than everyone else to get the same opportunities they had. It’s the least I can do to compensate for my lack of privilege. This is a reality of life I have long embraced: shouting as jeepney barker for my father to taking odd jobs in high school. I worked hard to be here.

Yet, I am aware that my full scholarship exists not because I simply earned it. All my work would have been for nothing if there was no slot on offer in the first place. I am here because someone, by the grace of their heart, gave generously to fund my education. I am here because a generous Ateneo exists, where someone like me who does not share the wealthier background of the common Atenean can be entrusted with the Presidency of the school’s Student Council.

She shared the hardships she had to face coming from a poor family.

Photo credit: Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña / Facebook

I was raised in poverty—there was never enough food on our table, my parents were not always regular employees, and as students, my sister and I had childhoods filled with promissory notes for delayed tuition fee payments. I was seven years old when I joined my first rally. I stood with my father at the frontline of a jeepney strike that aimed to raise the minimum fare. For some, the rising price of fuel meant less profit. For my family, it meant skipping another meal; it meant more debt and more promissory notes.

She expressed gratefulness for the opportunity the school had given her, also hoping that many others like her would also have a chance to be part of Ateneo…

Congratulations!

Read her full essay on Ateneo’s website here.

Inspiring

Hardworking Dad Goes Viral for Graduating from College Despite Many Challenges

A hardworking dad of four recently went viral after he graduated from college despite the many challenges he faced in his many jobs and in school. His story has inspired so many people because he never gave up on his dreams.

Dad Works Many Jobs to Support Family and Studies

His obviously advanced age set him apart from the other students at Tagoloan Community College in Claveria, Misamis Oriental, but Tatay Jerome V. Velez did not let that define him as a student.

Instead, he worked hard to support his family and his studies, even if that meant backbreaking work in various odd jobs during the day, then struggling to cope with his studies at night.

Photo credit: Ading Salvane

In a post that has gone viral on Facebook, Tatay Jerome’s classmate, Ading Salvane, shared his story to inspire others as they graduate from college.

According to Ading, Tatay Jerome is a shy man whom she met on her third year in college. They were classmates in one subject they took on Saturdays.

Ading was impressed to learn that her old classmate is the father of four kids whom he supported by working as a maintenance worker in the pineapple fields of Del monte. Aside from that, Tatay Jerome also worked as a laborer, carpenter, and farmer.

Photo credit: Ading Salvane

To make ends meet, Tatay Jerome rented a one-hectare land which he also took time to cultivate on his own.

Pandemic Challenges

With his advanced age, Tatay Jerome had difficulties keeping up with his classmates during the pandemic when classes had to be done online.

He’s not adept with gadgets and they didn’t even have a good mobile/internet connection at home.

Encouraged by Ading and their other classmates, Tatay Jerome enrolled – and managed to pass all their requirements, though he was often late in doing so. Thankfully, the teachers understood.

Photo credit: Ading Salvane

After all the hard work and sacrifices, Tatay Jerome finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Major in Financial Management, Batch 2021.

What’s a Laborer?

A laborer is someone who does unskilled manual work for wages. These wage-earners do manual labor, for a much lower rate than skilled workers.

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Inspiring

Student Praised for Answering His Modules While Selling Balut

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of so many people, yet the hardworking and diligent ones remained as hardworking and diligent as they were pre-pandemic! That’s exactly what a young student showed as he answered his modules while selling balut.

Student Juggles Studies with Selling Balut

So many students complain because of the distance learning program wherein they have to do their lessons at home because face-to-face classes are still unsafe.

But there are also students who might complain but still do what they can to finish their lessons despite the difficulties or learning challenges they are facing.

Photo credit: Vanessa Tranquilo Belonio / Facebook

An excellent example is this young man from Victorias City, Negros Occidental, who was pictured intently doing the lessons on his modules while also juggling time to sell balut.

Everyone knows how difficult it is to concentrate on something if you’re busy with something else, but for this student, he appears to have no other choice.

So, while he is selling balut late at night, this diligent student also studied his lessons.

In some pictures shared by Vanessa Tranquilo Belonio, the young man could be seen intently working on his modules, and completely unaware that someone was taking photos of him studying there.

The light from the street lamp isn’t even strong enough for proper reading, but he didn’t seem to mind that either. All he wanted was to study these lessons and be done with the modules.

Photo credit: Vanessa Tranquilo Belonio / Facebook

Vanessa was not able to ask for the young man’s name, but she expressed admiration on social media because of what he is doing.

It’s also unclear why he has to study the modules while he’s selling balut at night, but some netizens thing he might also have another job during the day that’s why he can only study at night.

What’s Distance Education?

Distance education is a type of learning wherein the teacher and the students don’t meet each other face to face. This type of learning has long been used, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distance education can be done using printed learning modules or through video conference virtual classes.

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Inspiring

Online Seller Saves Php30k Profit in 2 Months, Grows Capital to Php70k

There are actually many ways to earn money, if you just know where to look. As the saying goes, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Just like this online seller who managed to earn a profit of Php30k in just 2 months and also grew the capital from Php50k to Php70k. Wow.

Online Seller Shares Inspiring Savings Story

An online seller who used to just randomly spend the money earned from buying and selling cellphones finally decided to keep the capital and actually watch it grow. The seller was surprised to discover that their online shop could sell as many as 60 cellphones in 2 months.

By tracking their earnings and deciding to keep the capital intact, the online seller was able to grow the capital while also keeping a separate savings that’s now at Php30k in just 2 months. Instead of just spending the money on random stuff, the seller is now happily saving part of the earnings and watching it grow.

Photo credit: CFO PESO SENSE / Facebook

In a post shared on Facebook financial literacy group CFO PESO SENSE, the online seller who did not identify himself/herself shared that they had been buying and selling cellphones for 4 years, even before the pandemic started.

The seller only earns Php10,000 from a regular job. This money is used for the seller’s family and is used partly as capital for the buy and sell business. But because the seller did not keep track of the earnings and simply spent the earnings, including the capital, the business did not really grow a lot and the seller was not able to save any money.

It was only in January 2021 that the seller realized this kind of attitude should stop.

To make the story short, January 2021 nagdecide ako na magkakaroon lang ako ng fix na puhunan which is 50k at oobserbahan ko kung lalago ba ito. Naisip ko ang ganitong sitwayson kada may mabebenta kong cellphone magtatago ako ng isang 500 na partial lamang sa tubo dahil madalas nasa 2k ang tubo sa kada cellphone,” this online seller shared.

Ngayon ay nakaipon nako ng 60pcs na 500 meaning umabot na ng 30k ang tubo ko sa loob ng dalawang buwan. (take note hindi po buong tubo ang sinesave ko.) At hindi po nagagalaw si puhunan, ang 50k na puhunan na nilabas ay umabot na ngayon sa 70k.

Impressive, huh?

How to Be an Online Seller Philippines?

There are different ways to be an online seller in the Philippines:

  • Sell on Facebook Marketplace
  • Sell on Facebook groups
  • Post on your own social media accounts
  • Open your own online store
  • Sell on online commercial platforms like Shopee and Lazada
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