9 June, 2014

One of our sponsor students, Vincent Martinez recently graduated from his university course. Here, he shares his story:

‘I am Vincent Arnie L Martinez, 21 years old and have been a member of BBEF for almost 10 years. I am very glad to inform you that I recently graduated from the course of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy last April 12, 2013. During that momentous activity, I had been given a chance to speak in front of my fellow graduates since I am the highest among all the honor awardees. The following is an excerpt from my valedictory address.
“Brother President Narciso Erguiza Jr., our dearest University Chancellor Christopher Polanco, our dearest college Dean Dr. Rosemarie Montanano, beloved guests, parents, and my co-graduates. A pleasant afternoon to all of you.

Being able to talk and share my thoughts and thanksgiving is truly a privilege.

The road to success as they say is never too easy. Achieving success has several pit stops. We have to undergo difficulties that would test us as we surpass bumpy roads to victory. Today we are on a pit stop to celebrate and partly reap the reward of our hard work. Partly, it’s because this is just a ceremonial rite and public declaration of what we have achieved so far. The significance of our sacrifices and perseverance extend beyond this ceremony. We have been taught and trained by De La Salle Araneta University so that we may become successful in our chosen careers. The only question that we should be asking right now is: Are we prepared? Are we prepared to take the next step? Are we prepared to apply what we have learned and to accept the challenging dare that life bestows on us?

I was once a dreamer, who dreamed of one day, I could attend to college, and have my bachelor’s degree. I remember what I have gone through since I took my first step in the gate of our University to apply for a student assistantship and up to now. It makes me wonder how I was able to overcome such difficulties. During my high school days, I was, as the way I see it, a typical student who never aspired for high grades, passing is enough. I have never received any medals or ‘special mention’ in our recognition day. However, my college life seemed different; I was given a new environment to adapt into. Everything changed. When I had seen my name on the dean’s list, which was the first time I felt the weight of responsibility of maintaining it. I’m glad that I was able to make it until the very last semester. I worked hard for several reasons. One of them is that I needed to maintain my scholarship since my family was financially constrained to send me in this kind of university. I’m not here to boast about my accomplishment, but just to highlight that all of us had been given an equal opportunity to excel; however some of us were not so aware of handling the responsibilities and priorities. But I do know that all of us here did a great job since we’ve received our diplomas

Our university together with our professors taught and equipped us with diverse knowledge, guidance, and values that we can use as we go along the path of our respective careers. I must say that this university provided us an avenue to commit mistakes and an avenue to correct it. I also had failures and mistakes, but at last, I made it. I have come this far. And one thing that I learned is that we are all here because we exerted great efforts in correcting our mistakes, and not just to live with them.

Today is the day that we shine so brightly, and we are also happy and fulfilled to see how delighted and grateful our parents are; their greatest efforts and investment in sending us to a university, dreaming that we will have a good career and life someday has now been partly realized. Doing great things and knowing that you’ve worked very hard for them makes the achievement even sweeter. Being a student has never been so easy and with the experiences that we’ve got, I hope that we can utilize it to the best that we can to improve ourselves even more. I am aware that some of us will be going through another phase of life. And as for me, together with my colleagues in our course program, who will be taking the CPA board exam, I am hoping that all our efforts won’t be in vain. Fellow graduates, let’s do our best for the honor and glory of our dear alma mater in any way that we can.”

Like I said in my speech, I had gone though a lot of difficulties just to finish my studies. Since my family lacks the financial means to support my schooling, I worked very hard as an student assistant in our university; I did not take any vacation or breaks that other students enjoyed. I had to save my meager salary and budget wisely the allowance that I receive from BBEF to support my daily expenses and my school fees. I feel relieved now, after passing those hardships and tough situations, that my greatest effort had been rewarded. For now, I am planning to do review before sitting (and hopefully pass) the CPA board exam.

Dr. Dean and Cathy, my sponsors, never failed to give me financial support and encouragement; I am very thankful and glad to have them as my foster parents. God is so great with me since he provided and led me through this achievement. I prayed a lot along my journey and He always gives me what I deserve.

I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to the Kuya James, my Sponsor and to all BBEF Family since, apart from Angel Presence Family, they also make it possible for me to attend college, finish my studies and achieve the things that I have achieved so far. I wish that the program will continue to prosper and be able to help and touch the lives of other people, just like on how the BBEF family & the program changes my life. God bless us all!!’