Since 1997, the ASF has assisted a total of 315 students from depressed communities in provinces of Batangas, Pampanga, Aurora and in areas of Metro Manila. The program is managed and implemented in partnership with Redemptorist communities, parishes and other community organizations. A total of thirty-six (36) EAP scholars have already graduated. They are now working or applying for work to be able to help their own families.
Below are the stories of three EAP scholars.
Brenda, Mary Joy and Cherile: Case Profiles of EAP Scholars
Brenda Nasol-Siapno is an exceptional high school science, biology and chemistry teacher in Pio Duran National High School, Albay. She completed her college education through the Antipolo Seminary Foundation’s Educational Assistance Program (EAP). During her years with the program, she studied diligently while actively participating in program activities and conscientiously observed program policies.
Her experience with the EAP and participation in Redemptorist community’s activities developed her social values and commitment to serve not only her students but also other people in need. In addition to helping support the education of her younger siblings, she also currently supports her orphaned cousins and provides for the tuition fee of some of her poorest students. When approached for help by anyone in need, she also helps in the best way she can.
Brenda’s parents sustained the basic needs of their family as farmers who cultivated a small agricultural lot. Through farming, the family was barely able to make both ends meet and did not have enough resources to send all of the six children to school.
EAP scholars in one of their group study sessions
In 1993, the Redemptorist Missionaries conducted a mission in Malapay, Pio Duran, Albay. The Nasol family became actively involved in mission activities. In fact, Nanay Ellen became one of their community leaders and her eldest daughter became an active youth leader and choir member.
Brenda, the family’s third child, qualified as a scholar of the Educational Assistance Program through the help of the Redemptorist Community in Legaspi City, Albay. She opted to pursue a degree in Education, majoring in Biology, at the College of Education of the Bicol University. The EAP Coordinator described Brenda as an industrious student who actively participated in program activities and always made it a point to comply with the rules and regulation of the program.
After graduation, Brenda volunteered as a vocation worker of the Redemptorist Community. She considers this as a significant experience since it enabled her to develop her personality and social skills. She shared that she became more approachable, developed her skills in relating with other people and became more confident in addressing larger groups of people.
After her service with the Redemptorist’s vocation program, she served as a volunteer teacher in Alabang High School in Pio Duran for 4 years. With a very minimal allowance from the parents, she unrelentingly served as a volunteer, hoping that she will be employed as a regular teacher once an extension school is opened. Although this hope was not realized, her four years of service as a volunteer teacher proved to be a significant experience since it enabled her to develop teaching skills . After this experience, she was later employed as a permanent Science teacher in Pio Duran National High School. She has been teaching Science, chemistry and biology in that school ever since. She is also currently working for her Masters degree in Education from Bicol University.
Brenda Nasol-Siapno, a successful Biology and Chemistry teacher, an Educational Assistance Program scholar.
“How am I going to help my family?”, Mary Joy often wondered in the past.
Mary Joy is the fifth child in a family of 13 children. Her parents are irregularly employed; her father works as a carpenter while her mother is a dressmaker. Her brother was used to work on a contractual basis but was again out of work after his four-month contract expired. With their financial difficulties, the family could hardly meet their basic needs. For them, support cost of educating Mary Joy and her siblings has become a luxury they could not afford.
“These are the times when no matter what you do to make a short blanket fit, nothing works because the blanket keeps getting shorter”, Mr. Katigbak noted during one of our informal interviews with the family. They have taught their children to care for each other, to pray and remain faithful in spite of life’s trials. Despite their situation, Mary Joy’s parents held on to hope and their faith.
Mary Joy’s parents and brothers pooled what they could spare from their meager earnings to send the other children to elementary and high school. Mary Joy studied hard and, to the pride of her family, graduated as the high school salutatorian. However, finishing college education seemed impossible considering the family’s financial situation.
It was fortunate that a slot was available for a student scholar under the Educational Assistance Program (EAP) of Redemptorist Lipa community and the Antipolo Seminary Foundation (ASF). After passing the tests and interviews, Mary Joy became one of the beneficiaries of the program. She enrolled as a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education student at the Lipa Public College. EAP provided for her academic fees, monthly allowance, uniforms and school supplies during the course of her education.
In addition, Mary Joy was permitted to use EAP’s mini-library and computer facilities in Lipa City. This helped her in her research work and other academic projects. She joined other EAP Batangas scholars in tutorial sessions, group meetings and discussions, theater workshops, recollections and retreats. She also actively volunteered in various church activities of the Redemptorists in Lipa. Her parents also became involved when values formation activities were conducted for parents of student-scholars.
Mary Joy graduated with academic excellence in Elementary Education in April 2002 and passed the teachers’ licensure examination in August of the same year. She was hired as a substitute teacher by the Early Start Learning Center, a preschool in Lipa City, from June 2002 to April 2003.
“What and where would I be if not for the educational assistance program? I do not know. I am very grateful for the help extended to me, not only in terms of my schooling but also in my personal development.”, Mary Joy noted.
Mary Joy is a presently working as a substitute teacher in the Bulacnin National High School in Batangas. She is now taking the responsibility of helping her family. She also regularly donates 5% of her salary to the EAP so she can contribute in its initiative to help support the education of other scholars
Cherile is one of the beneficiaries of the Educational Assistance Program (EAP). Her family is from a coastal community in Benticayan, Baras, Catanduanes.
An hour’s travel through rough roads from Virac, the municipality of Baras is considered one of the poorest areas of Catanduanes. This is the reason why it was chosen as one of Redemptorist Legaspi’s mission areas. Majority of the people in the community are poor. Only a few have access to secondary and college education. The greater number of its residents are illiterate. This is the major reason for the Redemptorists missionaries’ decision to support the education of deserving students from the area.
Cherile is the first born in a family with seven children. Four of her siblings are still very young while the other two are in high school. One of her siblings attending secondary school has stopped going to school. Their father is a carpenter who goes to Manila for employment while her mother is a housewife. Baras does not have enough job opportunities for its residents.
In spite their unfortunate situation, Cherile is an active participant in the activities of the Redemptorist mission. She is a youth leader and an active facilitator in bible sharing activities. She also managed to do well in her high school studies, graduating at the top of her class. Recognizing her potentials, the Redemptorists encouraged her to pursue her tertiary education. She passed the EAP’s screening process and was selected to be one of the EAP’s beneficiaries.
She is currently on her 4th year as a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education student at the Catanduanes State Colleges. Since her first year, she has been consistently on the Dean’s list. She is active in campus activities and is the president of the College of Education Student Council. Moreover, she continues to be active in the EAP program. She diligently participates in values formation activities such as recollections, peer counseling, mission exposures and campus ministry.
The EAP provides for her transportation and meal allowances in school and pays for her academic fees. The EAP also provides Cherile and the other her EAP scholars with leadership and values formation inputs to complement their studies.