EDC scholar finishes magna cum laude
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.*
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.