Sunday, January 29, 2006

Be somebody someday


Three words inspired student
to strive harder to improve

By Allan Bilog

(This series of articles about young college students with the Pathways to Higher Education program is a joint project of the Ateneo de Manila University and The Manila Times.)

“Be somebody someday.”

Michael Bagyan read those words and his life changed forever.

He still remembers that day clearly. Then only a freshman in high school, Michael was caught up in the regular routine of his daily life, burdened by the difficulties his family was going through at that time. Yet, this clichéd slogan made Michael pause and think about his circumstances. That was when he decided that he wouldn’t be limited by mediocrity. Little did he know that his decision would push him to higher things.

Even as a little boy, Michael was always resourceful. In Baguio while other children played in the park or rode horses, Michael sold plastic bags in the market to help his parents earn some money. He still found time to play, as all boys do, but he also made it a point to study hard.

Michael, now 17, is the youngest in a family of six children. During his high-school years, he consistently performed excellently at school. He managed to achieve this despite the meager income earned by his father, a tricycle driver, and 58-year-old mother, who earns additional family income raising pigs behind their house.

Immediately after high school, Michael was told by his mother not to pursue his college education, because they simply could not afford it. It would’ve been easy for Michael to accept his fate. None of his siblings had gone to college. He knew very well how poor he and his parents were. He felt it every time he reached for coins in his empty pockets. But Michael refused to accept what the dismal circumstances seemed to be forcing on him; he battled his self-doubt by holding on to his dreams.

He learned about the Pathways to Higher Education Program of Saint Louis University, Baguio. He felt it was his chance to get a scholarship for college. Then he found out that Pathways did not give scholarships and he was almost discouraged. Later he learned that the Pathways program was more than just a scholarship-giver, that it is a holistic development program aimed at forming bright but underprivileged public high-school students who deserve a good college education into Pathways volunteers and future leaders in their chosen professions.

He soon understood that in order to gain a scholarship, he would have to believe in his abilities, develop them and use them wisely. This is what Pathways did for him through its education development program, which enabled Michael to get a scholarship from the Commission on Higher Education through the Private Educational Student Financial Assistance fund.

“Pathways helped me in my application,” he said. “The program served as one of my pathways in pursuing my college education because it helped me boost my self-confidence, prepared me for college, and made me realize the vast importance of education.”

When his application for the assistance fund was granted there was great jubilation in his family.

Today, Michael is a third-year major in electronic communication engineering, still dreaming of bigger things.

“I dream of being a successful engineer who will someday create an impact for doing many beneficial things for our society,” he said. “Since childhood, I have been fond of studying phenomena, and discovering something out of them.”

Today, Michael is on his way to fulfilling his dreams. His unshakable faith in the possible rather than being deterred by the impossible is what keeps him going.

“I am tossed by the waves,” he declares, “but do not sink.”

Pathways to Higher Education has been helping young students like Michael chart their own courses for the future. With your help, more high-school and college students will have access to new experiences and opportunities that will make them better individuals and leaders. Get to know more about Pathways’ ground­breaking programs by calling 426-6001 local 4044-4049 or 920-0153 or e-mail at You can also visit our website at and text 0920-9508171.

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