“The fact that my parents did not spend anything for my education because of Hedcor’s scholarship, and because they saw that I did my very best to graduate, made them very proud.”
These are the thoughts of Mary Cris Baloy, one of Hedcor and Aboitiz Foundation’s scholars. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and students had to go through modifications, which posed a challenge for most. These, however, did not slow down the scholars of Hedcor to navigate through these changes and finish their desired college degrees.
Together with Cris, Jaspher Lanzo, and Kenneth Gavilan are Hedcor’s scholars in Mindanao who finished their college education this year. Cris and Jaspher both recently finished their Business Administration degree, Major in Marketing Management from Cor Jesu College in Digos City while Kenneth Gavilan now holds a Nursing degree from Davao Doctors College.
As a student, Cris worked as an internet cafe cashier while taking night and weekend classes to help ease her family’s expenses. Jaspher, on the other hand, once put a pause to his college education to work as a call center agent and assist his mother in providing their immediate needs. The same goes for Kenneth Gavilan who is self-dependent at the age of 17 and was working as an ancillary for Philippine Red Cross for three years before he resumed his tertiary education.
These scholars were able to find ways to submit requirements online and beat their deadlines even with restrictions and community quarantines in place.
“In our area, internet connectivity is poor,” said Cris, who currently lives in Brgy, Dulangan, Digos City. “I utilized the wifi vendo nearby but that too had weak connectivity. Most of the time, I roam around until I find a spot in the house with good signal.”
Residing in Sitio Tudaya, Brgy. Sibulan, Jaspher struggled with internet connectivity as well. “What I usually do is find an area of high elevation because it is where the signal is good,” he shared.
With their school year officially ending in May, the scholars share the same sentiments: “Lisod, pero nakasugakod ra jud.” (It is difficult but we were able to overcome the circumstances.)
Enduring these hardships—may it be brought by the new normal or the struggles of life in general—Cris, Jaspher, and Kenneth are looking forward to what’s ahead of them.
Cris plans to seek employment as soon as community quarantines have been eased while Jaspher desires to explore the field of community relations as he believes that his education is something he should share with others. Jaspher, along with Cris, are proud members of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe.
Kenneth, on the other hand, is a frontliner and currently works as a Nurse Aid in a small hospital in Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur while waiting for the Nursing Board review.
The AboitizPower’s subsidiary Hedcor and Aboitiz Foundation scholarship covers a hundred percent of the school fees such as tuition, laboratory fees, board review and even allowance. It is granted to qualified students from Hedcor’s host communities.