Capitol salutes scholar graduates

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By Morexette Marie Erram (UP Cebu Intern)

Maeshael Fuentes, who was born in Zamboanga del Sur and grew up in Argao, was among the 132 graduates from Cebu Technological University (CTU) and Cebu Normal University (CNU) who were recognized by the Cebu provincial government in a ceremony at the Capitol Social Hall on Friday.

She also received a cash incentive worth P5,000 from the Provincial Employment and Services Office (PESO).

Fuentes, an Industrial Engineering graduate from CTU, was a grantee of the provincial government’s Scholarship Assistance Program (SAP). She grew up in a rural neighborhood and helped her father in managing a farm in Mandilikit, Argao. A few years of her childhood were spent in Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur.

The 21-year-old Fuentes was the class valedictorian of Mandilikit National High School in 2012.

The provincial government made a deal with CTU and CNU last 2009 to grant valedictorians from all public schools in Cebu province free tuition fee and a monthly stipend of P2,000.

This program took into full effect last 2011 with the Development Bank of the Philippines as partner for the Salutatorian Scholarship Assistance Program.

Her parents and her two siblings decided to move to Cebu when her grandmother offered them to manage a farm in Argao.

When she graduated from high school, Fuentes aspired to be an engineer.

“I wanted to be an engineer, and the only engineering-related program offered in CTU Argao was IE,” said Fuentes.

She spent her freshman and sophomore years in CTU Argao. When her father started to work as a messenger for a dental laboratory in Cebu City three years ago, she tagged along and pursued the three remaining years of her program in the main campus of the university.

She said the monthly stipend she received from SAP was a big help for her stay in Cebu City.

Her parents’ financial obligations then were just for the meal allowance and money for the rent. The fresh graduate currently rents a room in a boarding house along Urgello Street, Sambag Uno while her father stays in his employer’s laboratory.

She said she successfully attained the minimum 85 percent general weighted average required to maintain the scholarship without being too stressed out.

The scholarship will be revoked if the student cannot achieve the said condition.

She graduated from college without any honorific awards.

“I was glad enough to receive my college diploma without wasting too much resources and sacrificing myself for nothing,” Fuentes said with a soft laugh.

Fuentes said she always prioritized her health over grades. “That way, I did not feel any pressure at all,” she said. Fuentes believed that placing heavy importance on her health during her college years was one key factor in surviving a 5-year program.

She claimed that her goal in life also helped her in getting her college diploma. “I always aim for the best and in doing so, I need to do my best,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes is a time-conscious woman who thinks time equals money.

“In our program, we were taught that the cost of the industry’s operation grows as the time it takes to finish goes longer. And I believe the same thing applies to our personal aspects,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes does not like the idea of an all-nighter to finish her projects and tasks. She said that when she is given an assignment, she plans it in a very structural manner and starts ahead of time.

“I always create a timeline of my projects, and I map them out rather meticulously. I want everything on plan. Mistakes and errors always lead to bigger costs and heavier consequences,” said a smiling Fuentes.

Fuentes was a student in night classes and did not mention any sort of difficulties along the way.

She also said that mastering time management will help any student to balance time among academics, peers and personal concerns.

“When you cannot practice efficient time management, then chances are you cannot give yourself some time and break,” she commented in Cebuano.

Capitol Public Employment Service Office (PESO) head Dr. Mathea Baguia said that PESO will also provide employment assistance to the scholars.

The grantees of the SAP will be referred to companies that are looking for new recruits.

She, however, clarified that their assistance is intended for all job seekers.

“The PESO job fairs are just one of the many successful job assistance programs we had,” said Baguia.

Fuentes said that managing people may sound appealing to her but heading a department or an organization is not in her mind yet.

“Life is a journey, and I take this journey seriously,” she said.

Fuentes said she wants to start as an ordinary employee. She said she saw no point in hurrying to become a future head of a company.