Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Turning A Humble Dream into a Reality

Posted on behalf of Tony Lorcha, Children International – Legazpi

A week before graduating from his local public high school in Legazpi City, Philippines, 16-year-old Loreto Apuyan started to get very excited about going to college. Then, one day when he returned home from school to tell his mother about his plan to enroll in the local university and pursue a degree in computer science, he was struck with a deafening silence. Loreto’s mother told him he wouldn’t be able to go.

“I felt hopeless when I learned that my mother didn’t want me to enroll in college,” Loreto sighed. “But what could I do? My parents don’t have the resources to support higher education,” he acknowledged.

“One thing that revived my strength was the scholarship application I submitted to our youth coordinator for a HOPE scholarship,” Loreto said. “I didn’t lose hope that I would be called for an interview...and it happened.”

During his interview, Loreto shared his shelved plan to study computer science at the university level. He explained how his mother launders clothes for just $2 a day, while his father earns only a dollar more as a construction worker.

“Living in poverty is really hard,” Loreto told the agency’s interview committee, “but it gives me so much motivation to move on and reach for my dreams....”

When Loreto was selected as one of the 50 HOPE scholarship recipients in Legazpi City, he was determined to finish his studies and help his parents provide for the family’s basic needs. That’s why he decided to enroll in vocational education rather than the university.

“I’m a sophmore now at the San Francisco Institute of Science and Technology in the Philippines,” he said about the three-year Network Technician degree he’s pursuing. “With the HOPE scholarship, I have the assurance to finish my studies as long as I am able to comply with the requirements and maintain my high grades in school. The scholarship has provided for my daily meals, transportation, school project expenses, uniform and tuition,” Loreto attested.

Loreto is one of 734 HOPE recipients around the world who was awarded a scholarship worth as much as $350.

“I believe that HOPE scholarships uplift the spirit of youth to acquire college education in spite of poverty,” Loreto added, grateful that he can now see his dreams becoming a reality.

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