This year, SM Foundation celebrates four milestones in its vision of helping build a better tomorrow.
The Foundation is on its 35th year since Henry Sy and his wife Felicidad founded it on the principle of People Helping People to support the communities where SM operates. The Foundation’s College Scholarship Program marks its 25th year of providing opportunities for outstanding students whose families may have difficulty sending them to college.
From 105 partner universities and colleges nationwide, the Foundation is recognizing 333 graduates - the largest batch since its Scholarship Program started in 1993. This is also the first time that there will be scholar-graduates coming from places devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
The 22nd Presentation of Graduates held at the SMX Convention Center Manila in Mall of Asia, Pasay City was a heartwarming celebration of fellowship, gratitude and hope. The newest batch of graduates – 149 from National Capital Region, 115 from Luzon, 57 from Visayas and 12 from Mindanao -- thanked Tatang and the rest of the Sy family through videos, testimonial speeches, a special song number and a token of appreciation.
Scholar-graduates showed their gratitude to Tatang
The 2018 batch of SM scholars produced 104 graduates with honors -- 36 academic distinction, 48 cum laude, 22 magna cum laude and 2 summa cum laude. Leading them were Jedda Pascual from Ateneo de Davao University and Danielle Frances Olsen from University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, both summa cum laude awardees in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.
Lady Alpha shared her Yolanda experience and how it inspired her to work harder.
Among the graduates who gave moving testimonials was Lady Alpha Mae Fermano, who tearfully recounted her family’s plight during the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.
Guest speaker Loida Ongteco de Vera was from the first batch of SM scholars. The guests were inspired as she shared her journey from being a student to her current role as an operations manager at SM Hypermarket. “To Tatang, Mr. Henry Sy Sr., I will be forever grateful to you, your family and to the SM Foundation. Thank you for all your teachings and support, be it financial, spiritual, and moral. Long live to all of you,” she addressed Sy.
Exclusive job fair for SM scholar-graduates
Before the event started, the graduates were interviewed by human resource teams from the SM group at an exclusive job fair. “It is important for us to see the graduates find employment soon. There is no condition for them to work with SM after graduation. But they’re very welcome to work with SM,” said Linda Atayde, Executive Director for Education of SM Foundation.