EDC scholar fin­ishes magna cum laude

Sun Star Bacolod - - Top Stories -

BE­ING a con­sis­tent honor stu­dent does not al­ways guar­an­tee schol­ar­ship grants in col­lege.

The same goes with Laila Is­abel Gel­era, a scholar of geother­mal leader En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (EDC) from Va­len­cia Na­tional High School since 2012.

Gel­era had dif­fi­culty en­rolling in col­lege with­out adding fi­nan­cial bur­den to his fam­ily, espe­cially to her fa­ther who is their sole bread­win­ner.

De­spite grad­u­at­ing from high school as class vale­dic­to­rian, she did not get of­fers for a schol­ar­ship grant.

Be­ing the youngest of four chil­dren, her fa­ther re­quested that she take a year off from school to al­low her el­dest brother to grad­u­ate first.

“I told my fa­ther that I will ap­ply for schol­ar­ships so I can en­roll in col­lege on time. Un­for­tu­nately, I wasn’t able to get a schol­ar­ship grant from any in­sti­tu­tion on my first year so I ap­plied as a stu­dent as­sis­tant while study­ing in Sil­li­man Univer­sity to help pay for my col­lege ex­penses,” she said.

De­ter­mined to fin­ish col­lege and pur­sue her pas­sion de­spite feel­ing like all hope is gone, Gel­era pa­tiently waited un­til she got the news she’s been wait­ing for.

“Come sopho­more year, my fam­ily and I fi­nally re­ceived the life-chang­ing news that I was ac­cepted as an EDC Ca­reers scholar,” she said.

Ca­reers (Col­lege Ad­mis­sion, Re­view, and Readi­ness) Pro­gram is the main cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­gram of the En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Corp. (EDC).

It primes top grad­u­at­ing but fi­nan­cially chal­lenged high school stu­dents from its geother­mal sites in Leyte, Ne­gros Is­land, Bi­col, and North Cota­bato and bridges them to a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion either in the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines or in sim­i­larly pres­ti­gious lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties.

Now on its eighth year, the pro­gram helps top-per­form­ing stu­dents make the most of their po­ten­tial, which are oth­er­wise ne­glected due to poor op­por­tu­ni­ties in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Al­though col­lege op­por­tu­ni­ties are rare for ru­ral pub­lic high school grad­u­ates, they have been proven to have equal po­ten­tial as those who are bet­ter ad­van­taged.

Ca­reers pro­vides min­i­mal fi­nan­cial sup­port as part of their daily liv­ing ex­penses in school and guides them psy­cho­log­i­cally and emo­tion­ally for their chal­leng­ing col­lege life through var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties like val­ues for­ma­tion, ca­reer men­tor­ing, and even up to job place­ment sup­port af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

Since 2011, Ca­reers had 172 schol­ars, 68 of which are from Ne­gros Is­land.

Forty-six of the Ne­gros schol­ars stud­ied in var­i­ous Univer­sity of the Philip­pines cam­puses while the rest are in Sil­li­man Univer­sity and Ne­gros Ori­en­tal State Univer­sity.

O them, 41 have al­ready grad­u­ated as of this year.

De­spite pass­ing the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Ad­mis­sion Test, Gel­era de­cided to con­tinue her col­lege ed­u­ca­tion in Sil­li­man Univer­sity so she can still be close to her fam­ily.

Through the pro­gram, she was able to pur­sue her dream of fin­ish­ing col­lege closer to home.

With her hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion, she grad­u­ated as Magna Cum Laude with a de­gree in Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Ele­men­tary Ed­u­ca­tion and was awarded Out­stand­ing Stu­dent Teacher of the year.

“My aca­demic awards may not re­flect my in­tel­li­gence in other fields but the pro­fes­sion I am pur­su­ing as a teacher is what I am pas­sion­ate about and where I feel most ac­com­plished,” Gel­era said.

“If that bless­ing of be­ing an EDC Ca­reers scholar never came, maybe my story would have been dif­fer­ent,” she added.*

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

LAILA Is­abel Gel­era and four other EDC Ca­reers schol­ars dur­ing their visit at the Ne­gros Is­land Geother­mal Fa­cil­ity in Va­len­cia, Ne­gros Ori­en­tal af­ter their grad­u­a­tion and job place­ment train­ing. Also in photo, their fam­ily mem­bers.

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