2 summa cum laude graduates lead Metrobank scholars | Inquirer News
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2 summa cum laude graduates lead Metrobank scholars

/ 05:05 AM August 15, 2022
Summa cum laude graduates Esteban Chua Jr. (third from left) of the University of the East-Manila and Joseph Lawrence Celeste of the University of the Philippines-Diliman lead the latest roster of scholars supported by the Metrobank Foundation. STORY: 2 summa cum laude graduates lead Metrobank scholars

THE WORK ITSELF IS THE REWARD | Summa cum laude graduates Esteban Chua Jr. (third from left) of the University of the East-Manila and Joseph Lawrence Celeste of the University of the Philippines-Diliman lead the latest roster of scholars supported by the Metrobank Foundation. (Photo courtesy of the Metrobank Foundation)

MANILA, Philippines — With both his parents having hearing disabilities and two sisters giving up schooling on his behalf, Esteban Chua Jr., 22, had every reason to do his best in his studies.

“I know what my family has been through and it wasn’t easy. They managed to handle it so I must too,” Chua told the Inquirer, recalling the many times he wanted to give up because of the challenges he faced as a student at the College of Education of the University of the East.

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But he prevailed and graduated last month with the highest Latin honor as he completed his bachelor’s degree in secondary education majoring in English.

Chua is one of two summa cum laude graduates and among the 67 recipients of the Metrobank Foundation Inc.’s (MBFI) scholarship program, which was established in 1995 to provide “quality educational opportunities to academically gifted but financially challenged students.”

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Aniceto Sobrepeña, MBFI president, noted that 19 graduated cum laude; 15, magna cum laude; and two summa cum laude among this year’s scholars.“This is an unprecedented feat in the history of our scholarship programs. We look at you scholars and we are reminded of the virtues of excellence, endurance, and diligence. You inspire your fellow students and even us working professionals,” he said.

Addressing his fellow MBFI scholars in a recent forum, Chua remembered that when he entered college four years ago, he already imagined himself graduating with flying colors. “So I told myself: As long as I work hard and stay focused, I will achieve anything that I want,” he said.

But he also learned that “Doing everything cannot be achieved all by yourself. I couldn’t have completed my thesis without my partner, I couldn’t have survived the breakdowns that I experienced without my friends and I couldn’t have earned my degree without my family, especially my sisters’ support,” he said.

“I couldn’t have made it here, wouldn’t have achieved the summa cum laude title without the help that Metrobank Foundation has given me,” Chua said further.

He said he aims to become an “educator who doesn’t just teach the subject area but also the more important lessons that would help the students be prepared for real life.”

“Despite a global health crisis hampering the cause of education in the country, Chua found motivation in the idea of ‘giving back to those who supported me’,” he said.

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