If there’s a will, there’s a way.
For a journalism student from Tanay, Rizal graduated with flying colors, despite being financially unstable to support his education.
On his Facebook account, Jhonrick Art Catindoy Orense shared his success in graduating as Cum laude with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the International Peace Leadership College in Tanay, Rizal.
Orense’s post went viral on social media while wearing his graduation toga and medals and holding a note saying “Anak ng isang kasambahay at barangay-tanod nagtapos bilang cum laude” which inspired a lot of netizens.
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Orense said that because of poverty, his parents were in doubt with their capability to put him through college, as he heard the following words of advice after graduating from high school:
“Nak, mag-TESDA ka na lang.
“Magtrabaho ka na lang muna.
“Wala tayong pera.”
He admitted his frustration to the advice of his parents but without the knowledge of his parents, he made the first move in finding other alternative ways to enter college.
“Andun na po yung tampo, pero ako po yung gumawa ng first step para mag college ng hindi nila alam,” he admitted. “Dun po ako nagsimulang mag-apply sa iba’t-ibang scholarship programs at nag-take ng entrance exam sa iba’t-ibang colleges and universities,” he said.
Even though he was able to enter college, Orense still faced financial difficulties to comply with his requirements and other expenses while studying.
“Since hindi naman po ganun kalaki yung kinikita ni tatay sa pagiging tanod, at (sa pagiging) kasambahay ni Inay. Madalas pong kumukuha yung nanay ko ng advance payment sa amo para may maipambayad po kapag may biglaang bayarin,” he said.
To help his parents with other expenses in school and for his allowances, he took part-time jobs like making murals for schools and designing logos for clubs and organizations.
Orense never told his parents that he was a consistent Dean’s Lister up until he graduated as he wanted to surprise them that despite having financial difficulties, he was able to graduate with flying colors.
“I surprised them after ng deliberation po namin. Iyak po ng iyak. Kasi akala po nila ga-graduate lang ako. Sobrang saya po nila nung nalaman na may Latin honors po ako,” he said.
Orense parents were so proud of him because, among four siblings in the family, he was the only who graduated in college. Indeed, he has proven that poverty is not a hindrance to success.