As I See It
by ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO
Scholarship is the key to poor but deserving students earning their college degrees and being successful in life upon graduation. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Pretty soon, these scholars will be the change agents of society, especially in the city of Urdaneta, which they already are showing.
Six years ago, the Southern California-based non-profit 501C3 organization The Global Urdanetanians (TGU) premised its organizational existence upon the scholarship program helping poor but deserving students. It was started by its founding president Lino F. Caringal, Jr. with the current president Yvonne San Juan-Sera, then in-charge of the Scholarship program. During Sera’s first term as TGU president, Fe Gonzales-Sepulveda took over as the chair of the Scholarship Board and on the second term of Sera, Dr. Clare Adalem took over the chairmanship. It is a continuing program and as of today, TGU has 22 scholars plus one who already graduated, with TGU partnering with Pangasinan Brotherhood – USA (PB-USA), Marcelino Ordanza, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), now gainfully employed as an RN in a University Hospital in the United Kingdom (UK).
Ordanza said, “Even though I was a graduating student that time, they still lend their helping hand to aid my review, needless to say, I was able to focus more on my studies and think less with regard to financial matters, thus echoing my goal to become a top notcher in my board exam (top 11). From this, I was able to work, secure a job, and gain certain qualities such as being a registered nurse in USA, IELTS, and being the number one on renal exam for the entire Philippines for my specialization here in UK. To the previous and current scholars, I pass to you the challenge to break the chain of poverty, always be the best, and study smart.”
Another scholar, Samuel Parinas, said: “I was only 17 years old when I met TGU…and I received a life changing gift and opportunity to modify my life and my family: a scholarship grant. Now, I’m 22 years old, working as an online teacher and currently taking my Professional Education Units to pursue my passion in the academe. If there is one important life lesson that TGU has been performing for years… that is to our family first in every situation. So I had to stick with my job that pays enough for my family… TGU, thank you for the life-changing opportunity.”
Mark Erwin Gatchalian said, “I finished my bachelor’s degree because of TGU and also took my board exam because of it… I am very proud to belong to this organization because I experienced how to give and serve for the children and the people of Urdaneta. They treated me as one of their children, just like the rest of the scholars.”
“TGU is not only an organization but a family,” scholar Hana Quero interjected. “TGU is always behind our back through ups and downs… they’re always checking on us and supporting us not only financially and physically, but also spiritually.”
Quoting former US president Joh F. Kennedy, Teofilo Serafica said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” She said there is no exact word to give thanks to TGU. I pray God will continue to bless TGU to conquer all the challenges to continue to live for the established purpose and God.
Recognizing the role of the family, Jayson Leano Tabal said, “Family is the best word that describes TGU – a family that guides students to be a better person because they’re not only supporting us financially but also providing us the moral support which family really give. They always remind us to dream high for our family and for our future.”
Jenie Tamondong Molina said, “It is a great opportunity to be a part of this organization as a scholar. TGU has given me the chance to continue my studies in tertiary education.
Without TGU, I don’t know what life would be. I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the officers, sponsors and coordinators of this organization. Thank you for your generosity.”
Thinking of shelter and safety, Johara Egar believes that knowledge is comfortable and a necessary retreat and shelter for us in advanced age: and if we do not plant while early, it will give us no shade when we grow old. So, thank you for giving us the chance and opportunity to achieve our goals easier and be part of your family.
Jazel Castaneda said “In TGU, it is really a family that supports and help you financially, morally and spiritually. Being a TGU scholar for four years, I can say that I am truly blessed for having this scholarship. For me, it is not only an organization, but this is actually a family where you can feel being loved and cared for. To my TGU family, thank you for doing this, for helping us to build our own future, to be in the right path, and to be the best version of our self.”
“I owe all the people behind this organization because without their encouragement, support and passion, we are not who we are today. Thank you. Indeed, your help became a better version of ourselves,” said Marvin Gabayan.
Quoting a biblical passage, Harold Mercado said: Ask and it shall be given; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” TGU is one of the answered prayer, or rather, I should assay, one of the biggest blessings that I have received. They help us less fortunate people to reach our dreams and change the cycle of poverty through education.
It’s been a year since I graduated and until now, I’m already a professional, TGU never stopped on giving their unmeasurable love and support. Words are not enough to describe how blessed I am to have TGU in my life. Long live TGU!
(Elpidio R. Estioko, was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email author at firstname.lastname@example.org).
(Note: Second series for next issue.)