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Panay SM scholars, alumni share stories of gratitude, triumph

Through the SM College Scholarship Program, SM Foundation (SMFI) offers equal educational opportunities for students in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. From free tuition to enrichment activities, from job opportunities during semestral breaks to exclusive job offers upon graduation, SMFI got that covered.

Panay SM scholars, alumni share stories of gratitude, triumph
REUNION. Photo shows some SM scholars in Iloilo City and Roxas City. Inset shows SM scholar alumna Glenda Tayongtong.
In the Visayas region, one of the covered areas of the program is Panay, which comprises Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo - and the sixth-largest and fourth most-populous island in the Philippines. During a kumustahan session with the program beneficiaries, some SM scholar alumni from the region shared how the social good program changed the economic status of their families.

SM scholar alumna Glenda Galino Tayongtong finished a degree in Commerce Major in Management Accounting in 2002 from the Central Philippine University (CPU). With the minimal earnings of her parents as farmers, there was no way they could send her to college, especially in a private University.

“Central Philippine University is one of the best schools in our area. If it wasn’t for my SM scholarship, my parents couldn’t really afford to send me to this school,” she said. It was fortunate that her sister, who was then working as a sales clerk at SM Delgado, saw a poster announcing the SM scholarship program. “Graduating as Top 10 of my class was a plus factor, one of the requirements called for,” Glenda recalled.

Right after graduation, she immediately landed a job. “I was immediately accepted as Marketing assistant of SCMC because I was an SM scholar. I got this title na ‘magaling yan kasi SM scholar,’” she shared. Today, she works as Business Development Manager of Avon Cosmetics, Inc., handling Iloilo branches. She attributes where she is now to SM Foundation.

“I think they accepted me because of my work experience at SM. I was able to build a career path which I really like. Believe it or not, every time I pray, I always include SM in my fervent prayers, dahil utang ko kay SM ang maganda kong buhay ngayon,” she added.

For Evan John V. Balsomo, application to the scholarship program was not a simple walk in the park.  He heard of the scholarship program from an aunt who was working in Bacolod.  He, along with other high school seniors, were looking for scholarship opportunities at that time.

“It is seldom that graduates from our school could make it to college, thread the process, and successfully graduate.” Sharing his journey, he said there were more than a hundred students from all over the province who took the admission exams. “The process stretched until the evening, and I began to worry if I could still catch the last bus going home,” he recounted.

“I remembered being greeted by a warm smile by the interviewer, Ms. Ling Lansang. After a week, I received a call from her telling me that I was accepted, and I could not help but be teary-eyed. I was delighted and grateful that I could help lessen the financial burden of my parents and that I was a step closer to my dream to become an Engineer. At that time, I could not be more excited to be part of the SMFI family!” he shared.

Balsomo studied BS Mechanical Engineering at the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas. He is now employed as Maintenance Planner at Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, Inc. in Winnipeg, Canada.

Furthermore, Evan mentioned that his confidence was bolstered through the various enrichment activities provided by the SMFI to its scholars: “I gained more confidence after I joined the activities and enrichment programs such as the yearly gathering of scholars. I also volunteered in assisting during the scholarship admission test. These surely boosted my people skills, as well as my organizational and multi-tasking skills.”

SM Foundation, through its Scholarship program, provides deserving and qualified students with access to college education and technical-vocational studies since 1993. To date, SMFI has produced more than 7,600 college and tech-voc scholar-graduates nationwide.

Topics: SM College Scholarship Program , SM Foundation , job opportunities
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