“IF you are really determined and passionate about your dreams, you can really do it,” said AP Renewables Inc. (APRI) scholar John Marco Bernal, who just graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Broadcasting at Bicol University.
Bernal and fellow APRI scholar Diane Pitallano, who graduated magna cum laude in BA Journalism from the same institution, shared that grit and determination will get students through challenges in their academic journey.
Pitallano, an Aboitiz scholar since high school, shared about the tremendous pressure to maintain high grades while balancing family obligations and other aspects of her personal life.
“With all the challenges I’ve been through, I admit…it came to a point when I doubted myself,” she disclosed. Fortunately, the new grad managed to keep her focus and motivation intact by resting, taking a step back, and reassessing herself.
The Journalism degree-holder forged ahead on her journey because she knew her success will come one day and bring honor to her family’s sacrifices.
“I want to give back to my parents who did all the sacrifices for me and my other two siblings,” she said. “It is not easy not to have a regular job, that is why I am very proud of my father who did everything…to provide for our family. In fact, he worked as a part-time driver in APRI just to make ends meet.”
Pitallano continued: “I am grateful because the APRI scholarship program allowed me and my other two siblings to be 100-percent focused on our studies.”
Her older brother also serves as an inspiration, as he was just regularized as a cadet engineer in APRI-Tiwi.
Aiming for a bright and successful future, Pitallano’s childhood dream of becoming a journalist propelled her even more to pursue the career ever since she was granted a scholarship by APRI.
“I remained driven and hopeful in choosing this degree, because I know that APRI’s support in this journey has allowed me to be much closer in achieving the future that I want for me and my family,” she added.
For Bernal, receiving sufficient scholarship assistance not only allowed him to focus on his studies, but also helped ease his family’s financial burdens. As the eldest in a brood of six, he would shell out a portion of his allowance to help his parents pay the bills every month.
“I do my best to spend my money wisely from the daily allowance that I receive, so I still can give the rest to my family. My youngest sibling is only three months old, and I know that our expenses are not easy to manage,” he disclosed.
Despite this situation, the Broadcasting degree-holder draws encouragement from the strong support he gets from pals at the university.
“I actually have a group of friends in school that we call our ‘squad.’ All of us are not from well-off families, but we make sure that we share our food together over lunch just to survive the day, even if it would just be egg meals,” he added. “I am proud to say that my squad all graduated cum laude on time.”
Happy with the achievement of finishing his degree, Bernal expressed his desire to become a lawyer someday “and further serve the people.”
He and Pitallano are among hundreds of scholars given the opportunity to receive scholarships and financial support. This is part of APRI’s corporate social responsibility program that aims to help students have a bright future.
Since 2009 APRI has been providing educational assistance to eligible students in Laguna, Batangas and Albay. To date it has given educational and financial aid to 147 college and 257 high-school scholars.