MMDC SCHOLARSHIPS: A STEPPING STONE FOR SUCCESS
Dubbed as “mga pag-asa ng bayan”, three MMDC scholar graduates (L-R) Edelyn Sotoniel (BSED Major in Biological Science, Surigao del Sur State University), Jayson Ating (BS Criminology, St.Theresa College, Tandag City) and Frelijean Maliza Ondao (Bachelor of Secondary Education, Surigao del Sur State University) are seen in their official graduation photos which signify an important milestone in their respective lives; surviving a tough yet meaningful college journey made possible through the help of MMDC.
Edelyn Sotoniel was in her high school years when she realized that her family's financial difficulty meant going to college was not possible.
Undaunted, Edelyn's mother borrowed money from their neighbors while her father worked extra hours. It was all they could do for an obedient, hardworking daughter who has been a consistent honor student--truly a pride of the family.
But the road was still bumpy as school fees are increasing almost every semester and her dreams of being a teacher got almost torpedoed several times by financial constraints.
Things have gotten better when Edelyn became a scholar of Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) on her second year in college.
"No longer did my mother need to borrow money, or my father to find extra work during weekends just to earn more for my educational needs," says Edelyn, a biological sciences major who graduated this year with flying colors.
"This is why I'm very grateful to MMDC for all the support they provided to me since my 2nd year in college until I graduated," she says. "I am who I am now to a large extent because of the Company, and it's been a great privilege for me to be one of the lucky scholars of MMDC."
Edelyn is part of the 22 (MMDC) scholars who obtained their degrees this year.
Another graduate, Frelijean Maliza Ondao, says she relates well with Edelyn's story of MMDC's scholarship being the "knight in the shining armor" just when she thought of dropping out from her course.
"My starting up in college was a big challenge for my parents, who weren't sure back then how they can support my studies," recalls Frelijean.
At a meeting with scholars who belong to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Frelijean says she can't forget the warmth and kindness of Mr. Rolando S. Santos, MMDC Senior Vice President for Finance.
It was Mr. Santos, she says, who announced that MMDC will shoulder the full cost of her tuition and that of other IP scholars, taking the burden off of their parents who can hardly send them to school.
"I'm personally grateful to MMDC because I know that without the company’s helping hand, the road to success would have been an uphill battle," she says. "Truly MMDC's aspiration is intertwined with ours."
For Jayson Ating, a Criminology degree holder in this year's batch of MMDC scholar-graduates, passing the board exams remains a high priority.
"I promise to study harder (for the review) and if possible, to come out on top to prove the scholarship I received from MMDC was not wasted on me," he says.
Edelyn, Jayson, and Frelijean are only too glad to have come out from the challenging phase of college life and are now starting their path into the world of working professionals.
But the work is not done yet as the three are currently reviewing for their respective board exams – Edelyn and Frelijean in their Licensure Examination for Teachers, and Jason for the Criminology Licensure Examination. This is only the beginning for them, but with their passion and determination, the future looks bright.
As a strong driver of social mobility, MMDC puts a premium on education and its significant role in lifting individuals and families out of poverty.
MMDC has 85 full-time scholars enrolled in different colleges and universities in Mindanao, Visayas and even Luzon. This number is expected to balloon with the entry of new college scholars when the 2018-2019 school year opens in June (August in some universities).