At the first joint assembly of college and technical-vocational scholars of SM Foundation in SMX Convention Center in Pasay, alumni shared their inspiring tales of hard work and perseverance.
Nikki Sotelo, a graduate of Punlaan School (Batch 2016), had a stable job years after graduation. She now works as a sales executive in Marquis Events Place, has her own condo unit, and is currently investing in the stock market. Sotelo now supports her parents and siblings.
“None of these things would have been possible if I did not experience hardships in life,” shared Sotelo.
She continued, “But despite these tribulations, you will find someone along the way who will give you support and the proper gear to set you up in life. I will be forever grateful that I am a product of SM Foundation.”
Marc Rodolf Arca, a BS Accountancy graduate from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and a CPA Licensure Exam 4th placer, has been with SGV for seven years now and currently holds the position of Director in the Assurance practice.
“Everything I have now is a result of the fact that I was able to graduate from college with the help of SM Foundation—the foundation that Tatang (Henry Sy, Sr.) built. The person I am right now has been greatly influenced by the experiences I had during my SM scholarship days,” stated Arca.
Moon Ray Lo, on the other hand, graduated BS Computer Engineering from the University of San Carlos in Cebu. He recalled that he was on the wait-list when he applied for the SM scholarship. But he did not lose hope and later on got a slot into the program.
“If something is destined for you, it is really for you. It will always find a way to put you there. But always remember, you also need to match it with hard work,” he said.
Debbie Reyes-Ayson, a BS Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, is currently based in Singapore with her family. She flew to Manila just to meet the SM scholars and be able to share her story. “The secret recipe to success,” she said, “is that you have to be focused on what you want to achieve, and then you pair it with strong determination.”
In his speech, SM Investments Corporation executive director Harley Sy highlighted the importance of having a positive outlook in life to reach one’s goals. “One of the things I’d like to suggest to all of you is to plan well and then work hard for it. Take your time, do not be in a hurry. Focus so you can achieve what you want in life,” he stated.
Meanwhile, SMFI executive director Linda Atayde reminded the scholars of the life principles of the late SM patriarch, “Work hard. Study hard. We have to be very dedicated to what we have planned. So we are all here as one in order for you to realize your dreams.”
SM matriarch, Nanang Felicidad T. Sy, SM Foundation executive director Debbie Sy, SMIC vice president for sustainability Koleen Palaganas, assistant vice president for education Eleanor Lansang, SMIC assistant vice president for corporate affairs Victor Chan, and other officials and representatives from the SM Group graced the event.
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