Young achievers dedicate themselves to nation-buildingBy Stephen Norries A. Padilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Six of the 10 representatives of the National Capital Region in the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP-NCR) search hope to become educators who will help train future leaders of the country.
All fresh graduates of prestigious colleges and universities in Metro Manila, the 10 NCR representatives, chosen from 20 finalists, were recognized recently in simple ceremonies in Mandaluyong City.
They were cited not only for excelling academically but also for contributing, in their own little ways, to nation-building through their respective organizations, communities and fields of interest.
Professor, youth leader
Kearsay Chenkie D. Low, a magna cum laude business economics graduate of Adamson University, sees himself as a professor of economics and an advocate of youth empowerment.
“I will have speaking engagements with fellow student leaders in different organizations and communities,” he says.
Also planning to teach in college are Jose Mari R. Pineda of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Gianina Joy Nathania L. Napo of Far Eastern University (FEU) and Vincent A. Yu of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Pineda graduated cum laude with a degree in journalism. He plans to teach the same course while working in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, “doing socio-civic activities in my chosen community.”
Napo, a summa cum laude Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication graduate, says she will pursue developmental studies and work in the academe while being “actively involved in different nongovernment organizations (NGO).”
Another summa cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, Yu plans to join the faculty of the College of Business Administration at his alma mater. He also wants to run “the biggest social enterprise in the entire country that will change millions of lives.”
Public school bound
At least one is already committed to teach in a public school for the next two years.
Delfin Stephen D. Villafuerte, a cum laude graduate of BS Management Engineering and AB Economics of Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU), hopes to become “one of the noisemakers in the public education sector.”
“I think I’ll have a better picture of what I’ll be doing after those two years, after being grounded on the experience of actually teaching Grade 3 students,” Villafuerte says. He will consider working for the Department of Education or the Commission on Higher Education after his teaching stint at a public school.
A different teaching experience is seen by Michael Miatari, a BS Psychology graduate of FEU. He sees himself as a teacher “not in an ordinary school” but in indigenous communities, “particularly the Dumagat community” in Antipolo City.
Aside from teaching, Miatari also wants to become a researcher in Filipino psychology and establish his own NGO before he completely loses his hearing.
Miatari underwent surgery last year to remove a tumor in his left ear. His doctor told him it was highly probable the right ear would get affected, too.
“That is why I established initiatives grounded on my personal experience. I believe that being deaf is not a hindrance for me and does not make me deaf to the needs of others. I will continue to engage and involve more people,” Miatari says.
The other four awardees have equally grand dreams for the future.
Gabriel Ignacio P. Alejo of ADMU and Kiko A. Cortez of UP Diliman both plan to become “full-fledged medical doctors.”
Alejo, a BS Health Science cum laude graduate, is already in medical school and plans to “work in the government and frame policies and laws … to further improve the quality of healthcare in the country.”
Graduating with a degree in sports science, cum laude, Cortez wants to become a doctor and work at the Philippine Sports Commission to provide the “finest medical support to our nation’s athletes and help produce the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist.”
Magna cum laude graduate Kristine Bernadette G. Sasi wants to become an executive producer in a local television network and create “programs that inculcate positive change.” She holds a degree in mass communication, major in broadcasting, from Centro Escolar University.
Another FEU awardee, John Michael T. Lava, also sees himself working in his community. The BS Accountancy magna cum laude graduate lives in a squatters’ area in North Triangle, Quezon City. He has already worked with sari-sari store owners in their neighborhood and now plans to “formalize some programs for youth development.”
“I know I will be involved in urban shelter development plan. What I did in our community, I will be sharing with other squatters’ areas in the region,” Lava says.