APRI scholars graduate with flying colors from Bicol University

September 05, 2022

APRI scholars graduate with flying colors from Bicol University
A BRIGHTER FUTURE AWAITS. Diane E. Pitallano (L) and John Marco B. Bernal (R) graduated top of their class at the College of Arts and Letters of Bicol University.

“If you are really determined and passionate about your dreams, you can really do it,” said AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI) scholar John Marco Bernal, who recently graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting at Bicol University.

Marco and fellow APRI scholar Diane Pitallano, who graduated Magna Cum Laude in BA Journalism from the same university, share one grit and determination to power through challenges on their academic journey.

Diane, an Aboitiz scholar since high school, admitted that there is overwhelming pressure to maintain high grades while balancing her family obligations and other parts of her personal life.

“With all the challenges I’ve been through, I admit that it came to a point when I doubted myself,” she shared. Fortunately, she managed to keep her focus and motivation intact by resting, taking a step back, and re-assessing herself. She pointed out that she forged ahead on her journey because she knew that she would be successful one day and honor her family’s sacrifices.

“I want to give back to my parents who did all the sacrifices for me and my other two siblings. It is not easy not to have a regular job that is why I am very proud of my father who did everything that he could just to provide for our family. In fact, he worked as a part-time driver in APRI just to make ends meet. I am grateful because the APRI scholarship program allowed me and my other two siblings to be 100% focused on our studies,” she said.

Diane’s older brother also serves as an inspiration to her. He was recently regularized as a Cadet Engineer in APRI-Tiwi.

Aiming for a bright and successful future, her childhood dream of becoming a journalist propelled her even more to pursue the career ever since she was granted a scholarship by APRI.

“I remained driven and hopeful in choosing this degree because I know that APRI’s support in this journey has allowed me to be much closer to achieving the future that I want for me and my family,” she added.

For Marco, receiving sufficient scholarship assistance not only allowed him to focus on his studies but also helped ease his family’s financial burdens. As the eldest in a brood of six, he would shell out a portion of his allowance to help his parents pay the bills every month.

“I do my best to spend my money wisely from the daily allowance that I receive so I still can give the rest to my family. My youngest sibling is only three months old and I know that our expenses are not easy to manage,” he said.

Despite this situation, Marco draws encouragement from the strong support that he gets from his friends at the university.

“I actually have a group of friends in school that we call our ‘squad’. All of us are not from well-off families but we make sure that we share our food together over lunch just to survive the day, even if it would just be egg meals. I am proud to say that my squad all graduated Cum Laude on time,” he added.

While he is happy with his achievement of finishing his degree in Journalism, he expressed his desire to pursue a degree in law.

“I took up Journalism because I realized the crucial role of media practitioners in the country to deliver honest and unbiased news. With this, I also want to become a lawyer someday and further serve the people,” he shared.

Diane and Marco are among the hundreds of scholars who have been given the opportunity to receive scholarships and financial support as part of APRI’s corporate and social responsibility (CSR) program that aims to help students from its communities have a bright future.

Since 2009, APRI has been providing educational assistance to eligible students of Laguna, Batangas, and Albay. To date, it has provided educational financial assistance to 147 college and 257 high school scholars.