Grand Reunion of the SM Scholars Graced by Sy Family

One  thousand alumni of the SM Foundation scholarship program flocked to the SMX Convention Center Sunday (January 6) to reunite with SM patriarch Henry Sy, Sr. matriarch Felicidad T. Sy , eldest daughter Tessie Sy-Coson, youngest  son Harley and granddaughter Mara Sy-Coson. Also present at the gathering were Executive Director Debbie P. Sy and Executive Director for Education Linda Atayde, AVP for scholarship Eleanor Lansang, members of the Board of Trustees, Lydia Echauz & Chito Macapagal and SM Executives led by Paul Arcenas and Ronald Tumao.

 Harley Sy extended the family’s heartfelt congratulations to the alumni and mentioned the  lessons he learned  from  his father, such as , “You  have to have a dream, whether big or small. Then plan well, work hard, and be very determined to achieve your goals. Hard work is always part of success”. Harley described  his father as  more than a dreamer. He was a doer and stayed focus on his goals. The other lessons were  about  maintaining a simple life despite success  and the importance of helping others . His father continued to work hard  not for himself but for others . He created  more projects thus generating  better opportunities for employment and  opening avenues to support our  communities.

The  college  scholarship program is now  25 years and he thinks  that a mentoring  program by the alumni for the current  scholars is timely because the latter can benefit  from  the  former’s life experiences and collated wisdom as SM scholars. “You all know this. You have gone through these tough times yourselves so help the current scholars in whatever means you can—tutor them where they are weak and make them feel that they are not alone. SM Foundation after all is also your home,” Harley said.

This statement  generated a loud applause and approval from the alumni.

He ended his remarks with an encouraging note,  “Continue making things happen. Your story goes on and we cannot wait to hear what else you can do. The world needs more dreamers and doers like you.”

All wearing the blue jackets given them by the foundation the former scholars rendered song and dance numbers and heartwarming testimonials from Ericson Cabrera, 2010 graduate, now school principal, Junnair Manla 2014 graduate now network engineer based in Singapore,  Novelyn Beboso, 2005  graduate now Certified Public Accountant, & Ellyson Bala 1999 graduate, now a SAVP in the IT Department of SM Prime. Their stories drew tears of joy in the eyes of listeners. An alumna, schoolteacher Gemma Gutierrez, 1998 graduate  sang an original thank you song which she composed for Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sy, Sr. Alumni  joined her in singing this song .

After the  alumni’s musical number,  five representatives from various batches presented the alumni’s gift to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sy, Sr. – a wall art depicting “Scholars for Scholars”, a project  of “Tatang’s graduates” (SM scholar-alumni)  to pay tribute to the founder of SM Foundation and to pledge to “pay forward” the generosity of the Sys to other less-fortunate but bright students (who were once like them). 

The five gift presentors, Emylou Cadalzo, Loida De Vera, Elly Bala, Novelyn Beboso, Jeffry Manhulad turned over to  Debbie Sy, executive director of  SM Foundation, the “seed fund” of over P100,000 that they raised amongst themselves to sponsor one college scholar for schoolyear  2019-2020 and pledged to increase the number in the future.  They also distributed  voluntary pledge forms during the program.

Further entertainment was provided by the Act Seven band and Tatang’s graduates let their hair down so to speak and jammed with the band. The event closed  at five pm with takeaways  for  them – their inspiring  stories  began at SM and will continue to be handed down from them to their next generations.

For Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sy, Sr. and family  and   SMFI  - Tatang’s vision of educating the youth to fight poverty was not made in vain; in fact, it is a true and tested formula.

SM Foundation, Inc.