Stories of success
WHILE a lot of Cebu residents were caught up in the drama of the road rage case of David Lim Jr., elsewhere simple folk who grew up without the luxuries taken for granted by Metro Cebu’s young elite have transcended their humble beginnings to serve as both inspiration and validation for others similarly disadvantaged as they are.
Regine Villamejor is a fish vendor from Argao town who graduated magna cum laude in her Communication and Marketing degree from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) last Saturday.
On that same day, security guard Erwin Valmoria Macua graduated cum laude with an education degree at St. Theresa’s College in Cebu City despite a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift and a full academic load and class schedule that started at 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The stories of Villamejor and Macua are both shining examples of the sheer will, commitment and blue collar work ethic exemplified by people of every great nation in the world.
Both Villamejor and Macua were consistent dean’s listers and had taken every bit of sacrifice to be where they are now. In interviews with Cebu Daily News, both Villamejor and Macua told of spending most of their adolescence just struggling to survive and refusing to be derailed by their poverty in order to get an education.
Villamejor told of how she skipped meals to spend money on projects and sell biscuits to earn extra cash. Macua recounted to Cebu Daily News how he had to manage time between work and school only a few hours apart and how his family and classmates all helped him to realize his dream.
They did all they could in the fervent belief that education is the golden ticket out of their poverty and into the better life, a belief that still holds true despite the proliferation of get-rich-quick schemes and diploma mill schools that promise degrees in exchange for money or other favors.
Still, Villamejor and Macua could not have graduated without the discounts offered by their respective schools that helped them cut their expenses significantly and made their goals of acquiring an education a lot less problematic.
At a time when the Duterte administration is still wrestling with the proposal to provide free tuition in state run schools, Villamejor and Macua’s success stories serve as proof that with the right amount of determination, faith and support, the Filipinos can finish schooling in preparation for employment in an increasingly competitive and narrowing labor market.
For now, Villamejor and Macua can spend some time celebrating and relishing their success with families and friends. They have reached the end of one path and will pursue another, one that they hope will improve their lot in life and the lives of their loved ones.
We join the others who wish them well in their next journey and hope that others like them will be given a chance for a better life.
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