July 15, 2022
Tzu Chi sends off graduating scholars
By Ben Baquilod
Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines held a special send-off ceremony for the graduating scholars at the closing program of the 2022 Tzu Chi Scholars Camp on July 10 at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Campus.
Magna cum laude graduate Joshua Daarol led the graduating batch of 2022 in a commencement speech. He took up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
“We faced a lot of challenges as graduating scholars. We are the first batch to undergo the K to 12 program, and we were also hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if we have to go through the new mode of distance learning, we made it. We finished it,” said Daarol.
Daarol has also faced many challenges in his personal life. At primary age, his parents separated and he was raised alone by his father who works as a janitor in a bank. He took a part time job to support his school needs—though this wasn’t enough still—until Tzu Chi came to him like an answered prayer.
“I am not the only one who is thankful. My father was overjoyed when he knew I got accepted to the Tzu Chi scholarship,” he said. “Tzu Chi’s financial support has really been such a big help, especially that my books are really expensive.”
Aside from financial assistance, scholars like Daarol also have benefited from their monthly humanities class where they were taught character formation and other lessons such as filial piety, the value of gratitude, career seminars, and other lessons that helped them with their life beyond school.
Grateful for the college scholarship granted to him by Tzu Chi, he wanted to pay it forward and promised to teach free bookkeeping classes in Tzu Chi soon. “Let’s help other people without expecting anything in return,” Daarold told his fellow scholars. “Let us apply all the lessons we have learned from our Tzu Chi Uncles and Aunties.”
Daarol is one of the 57 graduating Tzu Chi scholars who attended the ceremony. Overall, 184 scholars—five of which flew from Palo, Leyte—joined the event.
Tzu Chi also recognized six other honor graduates in the ceremony. One of them was Reca Mae Atillo who graduated cum laude from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina. She thanked Tzu Chi and Master Cheng Yen for helping her finish college and for instilling in her a sense of responsibility. “It’s not just for my parents, it’s also for the Tzu Chi benefactors who helped me with my schooling,” said Atillo.
Anne Kimberly Salonga, who graduated cum laude from the same school encouraged her fellow graduates as they enter a new chapter of their lives: “Let us trust ourselves that we can do it, for there is no one who would believe in us at the start but ourselves. And Master Cheng Yen and the Tzu Chi Foundation will be there for us to further hone the abilities and excellence that we have. Keep fighting and soar high.”