S.Y. 2016-2017, BS Computer Science

I am Jireh, the fourth of five children of Pantaleon, a shoe repairman, and Belinda, a housewife. Life was never easy for our family. There were times when we only had rice and soy sauce to eat. I would walk to and from school because my allowance was not enough to pay for public transportation. I would also set aside 10 PHP every day so that I could complete my schoolwork at an internet café until late into the night.

When I was in high school, I was not really at the top of my class. It was only in the fourth year that I earned the 1st place, graduating as the class valedictorian. The parents of my classmates were not happy and commented that I was not worthy of the recognition. They went as far as spreading rumors that I was lying about our family’s financial status so I could be supported by scholarship programs. I was made to feel that I was not good enough and that there are others who are better than me.

But I was resolute in my belief that what God wills, that He does. They can’t stop God and His purpose for me.

I admit that throughout my life I doubted myself. The hardest for me to do while I was in school was to stay positive and be motivated to stay the course and not give up.

Graduating with honors is great, and I understand that this will give me an edge when I’m applying for a job. But for me, it’s not about achievements and recognition. I believe that it is one’s life story that truly counts, and how much one has positively influenced others.

In March 2017, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Cebu Institute of Technology – University, Summa Cum Laude.

Someday, I hope to establish my own company or business and eventually give back to Real LIFE. I also want to start my own foundation that will help improve the lives of the poor and the marginalized.

These dreams of mine may or may not come true but one thing is for sure: I believe God has already laid out and prepared a bright future for me and my family. If my dreams that are not aligned to God’s purpose for me, I’ll make sure to stick to His plans.

I am grateful for the Real LIFE Foundation because the support they gave me helped me accomplish my schoolwork well without having to ask for an allowance from my parents. Real LIFE has really helped me in my walk with God, and I am blessed by the lives of my LIFE coaches, as well as the encouragement and support that I got from them, my fellow scholars, and the area coordinator.

The best is yet to come—these were the words I said when I gave my valedictory address in 2013 as I graduated from Cebu City National Science High School. Besides graduating at the top of my batch, I was also given awards by ABS-CBN, Silliman University, Southwestern University, and AMA University. Up to today, these words are what I hold dear. With God, the best is yet to come.