LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu—Oponganon Simone Gabrielle Balaba proved that determination pays off as she received scholarship offers from 10 colleges in the United States.
Balaba, who is 18 years old, is a resident of Barangay Basak, here. She said in a Facebook post that she really wants to study abroad.
So she worked hard for it, applying for scholarship through her school here, the Science and Technology Education Center (STEC) in Barangay Basak. She took up Humanities and Social Sciences Strand (HUMSS).
Balaba admitted that she was hesitant at first since schools in the US usually only accept those in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand or business background.
“My school is a small public school in a small city, and my dreams of studying abroad seemed too far-fetched for a student that not only was not in a STEM-centered and business class but was neither too involved in Science and Mathematics,” Balaba said in her Facebook post.
However, her determination to study abroad grew day by day, especially since her sister told her how great it was and how her scope of opportunities was so wide.
Balaba’s sister is also studying abroad.
“My parents told me to give it a try, but they told me that nothing was certain. Education is expensive, especially in the US, I know this as my sister who is studying abroad has told me the expenses and the costs. My family is not rich and I know that, too. There was, however, no harm in trying,” she added.
Balaba’s determination in college application paid off after she was offered a total of P55 million worth or $1.1 million of scholarship from 10 US colleges. The schools are the Hollins University, Augustana College, University of La Verne, Fisher College, Hawai’i Pacific University, DePaul University, Knox College, Xavier University, Whitworth University, and The University of Akron.
“This incredible opportunity is a testament to the hard work and support of so many people in my life, and I am truly humbled by the faith that these colleges have placed in me,” she added
Balaba, though, is appealing to the public for support to fund her other expenses such as textbooks, room and board, and transportation.
“I am actively seeking sponsors and benefactors who may be willing to help fund these necessary expenses. Any support that I receive will be a tremendous help in allowing me to fully engage in my college experience and pursue my academic goals with focus and determination,” she said.
Balaba also expressed her gratitude to her family, school, and principal for supporting her in her endeavors.