December 5, 2018
CEBU CITY – As the youngest of seven children, 18-year-old April Mae Siton wanted to finish her senior high school (SHS) education without relying too much on her aging parents.
For years, her father, a fisherman, and her mother who works as a shell accessories worker, have been trying to make ends meet so her siblings can finish their studies and have a better life. To help lessen the cost of her studies, she took up a Senior High School (SHS) strand that had the least expenses, Food and Beverage Services (FBS). She also worked part-time jobs to be able to help her parents pay for school expenses.
“My original dream was to become a police officer or a seaman. But I no longer wanted to burden to my parents and siblings for my expenses even if they wanted to support me. My parents are already old and my older siblings have their own families already so I do not want to depend too much on them, especially with my plan to pursue college. FBS was the most ideal choice,” Siton added.
Luckily, Siton’s plans were answered when she was selected as one of the scholars of a one-year scholarship assistance from PBSP and corporate sponsors through the Olango Challenge, an open-water swimming event held every May that raises funds for education programs on Olango island.
PBSP, Olango Challenge corporate donors, and DepEd officially launched a one-year educational assistance project that will support 100 junior and senior high school scholars of Sta. Rosa National High School. The event also witnessed the ceremonial turnover of laboratory equipment for the Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) course in the school.
“This is a dream come true for me to become a scholar because I really tried my best to be chosen. Now, I can fulfill my future dreams because of this financial assistance without burdening my parents,” Siton added.
Aid for a Hundred Students
Sta. Rosa NHS is one of the three senior high schools located within the island. Most of its students face financial difficulties that prevent them from continuing their SHS education, especially that Technical-Vocational Livelihood track (TVL) mostly requires students to purchase materials for their school projects. The school’s effective implementation of its TVL curriculum is also hampered by the shortage of facilities and equipment.
“We chose to continue our assistance to Sta. Rosa NHS because it focuses on providing Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL). If we want our students to gain holistic understanding and appreciation in their chosen strands, its shortages need to be addressed. We also want the students to learn skills that match most of the industry requirements in Mactan and the rest of Cebu,” PBSP trustee and Visayas Executive Committee Chairman Jose Antonio Aboitiz said.
The scholarship assistance includes the monthly transportation and project allowances, registration fees for National Certification assessments, and employment assistance for students wanting to find jobs after graduation. The provision of tools and equipment for the SMAW laboratory, on the other hand, aims to contribute to the improved curriculum delivery of the school and strengthen the students’ competencies. Tools and equipment include coveralls and uniforms, leather gloves, respiratory masks, welding rods and shields, work suits and gloves, angle grinders, and cutting and grinding disks.
“Some of you will choose to work immediately after you graduate. Some of you will go on to further studies. We hope that the assistance that we provide you helps to lighten your load and lets you concentrate on the skills that you are learning and the education that you are getting from the school,” Aboitiz added.
Present during the program launch were Oriental Port and Allied Services Corporation (OPASCOR) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tomas Riveral, GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) Junior Manager for Corporate Communications and CSR Avigael Maningo, and Aboitiz who distributed certificates and allowance vouchers to the scholars.
Building Schools through the Olango Challenge
This is the 11th year that PBSP has continuously poured in support for Olango island schools through the Olango Challenge. Since the event’s launch in 2008, it has built nine classrooms for Olango’s elementary schools and provided educational assistance to 190 SHS students.
This is the second year that PBSP provided educational assistance to the SHS students through the Olango Challenge proceeds. Major sponsors for this year’s Olango Challenge include the Aboitiz & Company, Dow Chemicals Philippines, Inc., GMCAC, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., and OPASCOR.
“We hope that by providing them with these interventions, the students will successfully pass their subjects, perform well, and access better job opportunities after graduating from senior high school,” Aboitiz added.