TACLOBAN CITY- Ma. Kathleen Geremias is proud of her achievement- she is the first of her family members to earn a college degree.
The 21-year old just finished her college studies at Leyte Normal University (LNU), this city, with a degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics this year with an academic distinction.
Geremias managed to finish her college education through the help of SM Foundation who helped children mainly from poor families after the region was pummeled by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013.
“Of course, I am very thankful to the SM Foundation. Without their help, I am not really sure if I could even reach college, much more earn a degree,” she said.
Geremias lost her mother, Leonila, due to Yolanda while her father, Meliton, 58, works as a driver of a public utility vehicle. Both her parents did not finish their studies.
Her elder sister, Marie Kenneth Joy, only managed to reach third-year college and is now living with her husband while her brother, Mark Anthony, is to finish his college next year.
“Despite our financial problems, compounding with the untimely death of our mother due to Yolanda, I was determined to finish my studies and again, thanks to SM Foundation for their help to me and the rest of their scholars,” Geremias said.
The SM scholar now wants to reach her goal- find herself a stable job and help her family from the quagmire of poverty.
“That’s really my goal why I am this determined to finish my studies,” she said.
And this determination of Geremias only made Carmen Linda Atayde, executive director of SM Foundation for education, smile and proud.
“Our founder, Henry Sy, knew too well that education is a key for one to reach his or her goal in life. That is why, we have these scholars who mostly came from poor families but are qualified and determined to reach their dreams,” she said.
Since the SM Foundation started providing scholarships in the region after it was barreled by the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland close to four years now, 132 lucky students have been enlisted to the foundation as scholars.
As scholars, they receive a monthly stipend and free tuition fee.
The SM Foundation also offers employment to their scholars who want to work with any company affiliated with ShoeMart(SM).
“As part of our program in providing employment opportunity, we offer jobs to our scholars who would finish college,” Atayde said.
Those who could avail the scholarship, one must be a high school graduate with a general average of 88 percent and above and whose family annual income is not above P150,000 and of course, must pass the qualifying examination.
For those interested applicants, the SM Foundation encourages them to visit their site www.sm-foundation.com where they will post their announcement from October to Decemr. Also, the SM Foundation will distribute poster in various school with regards to this scholarship program. (RYAN GABRIEL LLOSA ARCENAS/JOEY A. GABIETA)