The UPLB Learning Resource Center (LRC) held on Aug. 5 its first virtual luncheon to honor the graduating student-grantees of the Agricultural and Rural Development Scholarship (ARDS).
With the theme “F.O.R.W.A.R.D.: Fostering Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform and Development,” the luncheon not only honored the graduating scholars but also their parents.
To open the event, Dr. Benjamina Paula G. Flor, director of LRC, dedicated a poem she wrote for the graduates titled “Sa iyong paglisan sa pamantasan, Iskolar ng Bayan, mga dapat tandaan.”
In her witty and sincere poem, she recognized the efforts of the students to overcome their struggles and reach their dreams. “Pangarap na hindi lang makatulong kay inay at itay matapos makamit ang sablay, kundi isulong ang mga natutunan sa ikabubuti ng sambayanan,” she said.
(The dream to not only help mom and dad after graduating, but also to use what you have learned for the greater good.)
Dr. Flor also thanked the parents for trusting UPLB and LRC. “Nawa’y nagampanan namin ang pag-alaga sa inyong mga anak na ngayo’y sasabak sa paghahanap ng trabaho, upang lalo pang gumanda, buhay ng Pilipino,” she added.
(We hope we were able to properly nurture your children who are now going to look for jobs in order to further improve the lives of the Filipino people.)
Chancellor Jose V. Camacho Jr., who is an ARDS alumnus, congratulated the graduates and said that like them, he is also from a simple family, and that he saw his situation as a stepping stone that helped him realize his potential and dreams.
He emphasized the theme of the ceremony and reminded the graduates of the need for ARD advocates. “Despite the many advances in science and technology, there remains a substantial gap between rural and urban communities, which must be resolved through inclusive and sustainable mechanisms, policies, and programs.”
The six graduates all gave their testimonies and shared their experiences as ARD scholars which they said made their life in the university special.
John Louie L. Educado said it was nice to see that simple people like him can still give back and help others. He also thanked the people at LRC for taking care of them, even constantly reminding them not to miss a meal.
Elyza Mae B. Nagrama thanked LRC and addressed her fellow graduating scholars, “Hindi dito nagtatapos ang lahat, kundi ito ‘yong magiging simula natin sa panibagong yugto ng ating buhay. At para po sa lahat ng magulang na narito, ang tagumpay na ito ay para po sa inyo.”
(This is not the end, rather this is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. And for all the parents here, this victory is for you.)
Joshua A. Chua said that he was thankful for the scholarship an the different opportunities given by LRC. “Pinakakinakatuwa ko talaga is, sa buong UP life ko, LRC lang ang nagpa-cake sa ‘kin,” he said.
(What made me happiest was, in my whole UP life, LRC was the only one that prepared a cake for me.)
Gelyzza Marie R. Diaz thanked LRC for all the support she received, not just financially, but also academically and emotionally. While stuck at home during the pandemic, she realized that what helped her in the university were the small moments with her fellow scholars and other people in LRC.
“It gives a sense of relief na kahit papaano may nakare-relate sa ‘yo, who share the same burden as you have,” she explained.
(It gives a sense of relief to know that somehow, there are people who relate to you and share the same burden that you have.)
Christine DS. Lacson said that she learned a lot from ARDS due to her experiences with the organization’s activities. “‘Yong na-instill po sa ‘kin ng ARDS ay ‘yong pag give back sa community, ‘yong sense of nationalism,” she added.
(What ARDS instilled in me is the giving back to the community and the sense of nationalism.)
Lastly, Almira L. Zulueta was grateful toward the LRC family as she sincerely felt cared for. “Andiyan po kayo, hindi n’yo po ako iniwan, lalo na kung kailangan namin kayo ni mama,” she said.
(You were there, you didn’t leave me, especially when my mom and I needed you.)
The parents of the graduates also gave their messages to LRC, and most of them were not able to hold back their tears as they expressed their gratitude toward LRC.
Before the end of the ceremony, Chancellor Camacho was able to impart one last message to the graduates. During very difficult times like this, he encouraged everyone to be thankful to all the people who supported them.
He also encouraged everyone to reflect on being an Iskolar ng Bayan. “It evokes greater responsibility to our nation, sa ating kapwa-tao, sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.
(It evokes greater responsibility to our nation, to our fellow people, and our fellow Filipinos)
Sheryl Edd P. Hermosa-Ebron, ARDS coordinator, thanked all who attended the ceremony and shared the source of LRC’s inspiration to serve.
She recalled a conversation from a year ago, “simula po no’ng lockdown at pandemya, laging sinasabi ni Ma’am Benj, ‘Ate, kamusta ang mga bata? Ate, mas kailangan tayo ng mga bata ngayon’.”
(At the beginning of the lockdown and the pandemic, Ma’am Benj always asked, ‘How are the kids? The kids need us now more than ever.’)
She revealed that in order to help the students in online learning, Dr. Flor initiated a laptop drive and internet assistance campaign, to which the ARDS alumni were very supportive.
To the others who are also trying to graduate, “one task at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time, we will reach our destination together,” Hermosa-Ebron concluded.
Among those who joined the virtual luncheon are Professor Emeritus Virginia Cuevas, former ARDS coordinator; Dr. Renato Vega, ARDS alumnus and faculty member at the College of Agriculture and Food Science; and Office of Public Relations Director Mark Lester Chico, former LRC director.
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