TACLOBAN CITY — He grew up being bullied due to a cleft lip. But Rico Palconit did not allow this physical deformity to stop him from achieving his goal.
The 25-year-old native of Cabucgayan town in Biliran province landed at the top of his class when he was conferred the magna cum laude honors as he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science major in Information Technology at the AMA Computer Learning Center (ACLC) in Tacloban City, joining over 500 graduates during ceremonies on Aug. 2.
Palconit, the eldest of six siblings raised by a widowed mother, said he was determined to finish his studies to prove that he can overcome whatever adversities despite his condition.
“I want to help my family. What motivated me to do well in my studies is my (late) father and the people who thought I could not make it because of my physical condition,” Palconit said in an interview at the sidelines of the graduation rites.
Before he enrolled in college, Palconit said he first visited the grave of his father Roque and vowed to finish college with flying colors. He lost his father when he was just three years old.
Palconit completed his college studies as a government scholar with the help of a Catholic nun who is now based and working in Tacloban City in Leyte province.
Palconit, who was a consistent honor student since grade school, revealed that he has been subjected to bullying since he was a child and up to his college years because of his cleft palate.
“My college life was not as good as I expected. There were still bullies, discouragements, judgments and all. However, I faced all of them and took them as my source of strength,” he said.
He added: “When there are times that I feel hopeless and empty, I just look back on what I have promised because I am so scared to break it.”
Palconit hoped that his success story would serve as an inspiration to those who also suffer the same physical condition.