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Asia Pacific College: Helping SM scholars get closer to their dreams

(Manila, Philippines, September 19, 2013) — Since 1994, Asia Pacific College has been helping the SM College Scholarship Program in its mission to provide underprivileged students access to quality college education. Known as a learning institution that produces highly-skilled information technology (IT) graduates, Asia Pacific College has helped more than 700 SM scholars get closer to their dreams.

Christine De Asis, who is graduating soon from the Asia Pacific College, admits that their family of six struggled financially. Although it was hard to make both ends meet, she never lost sight of her dream. After qualifying for the SM College Scholarship Program, she went on to study Accountancy at the Asia Pacific College.

“Being an SM scholar has truly been a blessing for me. It doesn’t just provide education but has also helped mold me into the person I am today. The SM College Scholarship Program helped me realize that even at a young age, I can still help my parents,” says Christine, who will take the CPA Licensure Exam in October. The monthly allowance provided by the foundation has helped her manage her finances in school.

Christine is currently completing her 1120-hour on-the-job training. This six-month, full-time industry immersion is especially crafted for the Asia Pacific College curriculum to ensure that students have proper exposure and experience in their line of work before they go out into the corporate world.

Accountancy student Daniel Legaspi is also one step closer to his dream. Having lost his father at a young age, his mother along with some of their relatives, supported him and his three younger siblings. His mom, however, lost her job when Daniel graduated from high school.

Unsure of what awaited him after high school, Daniel looked for scholarships that he can apply for. Hearing about the great opportunities offered by the SM College Scholarship Program, he sent in his application. A few months later, the SMFI team brought good news.

“I think that among the many opportunities that SM Foundation, Inc. and Asia Pacific College have given me, I am really thankful for simply being able to go to college. I was really fortunate to have been given the opportunity to study in a great educational institution,” says Daniel, who plans to help put his siblings through school after he graduates and pass the board exam.

For Julius King Cuajao, a former SM scholar at the Asia Pacific College who later on became a School of Engineering instructor in the college, says he will always be thankful to both SM Foundation, Inc. and the Asia Pacific College.

“Right now, teaching is a vocation and not just a career,” he says. “I feel so blessed during that time when I qualified for the scholarship. I was presented with many experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to experience if not for the SM College Scholarship Program. I had the privilege to get an education and in a good college as well. The scholarship turned my life in 360 degrees.”

According to Julius, he wanted to teach because he wanted to be able to touch people and inspire them. “This is is my way of giving back what my alma mater and the SM Foundation, Inc. has done in my life,” he says.

Passion for educating the youth

The Asia Pacific College is one of the partner educational institutions with the most number of scholars. Asia Pacific College president and founding member Dr. Paulino Tan says that SMFI and the college have always shared the same passion in providing quality education to their students.

“This school was basically founded by the SM Foundation, Inc. It was a two-pronged plan: one is to set up a scholarship program and the other is to establish a school which provided education at a very minimal cost. And so the birth of the Asia Pacific College,” says Dr. Tan.

According to him, “The most important thing is that you allow people from less privileged families to be able to have access to quality education. This serves as their passport to get out of poverty. This is the reason why the SM College Scholarship Program was created.”

The SM College Scholarship Program is celebrating its 20th year of living up to the foundation’s principle of “People Helping People.” The Asia Pacific College, now in its 22nd year, continues to be an integral partner of the SM Foundation, Inc. in providing high quality education.

SM Scholars

SM scholars from the Asia Pacific College continue their journey toward their dreams. In photo are current SM scholars Daniel Legaspi and Christine De Asis with SM scholar and APC alumni-turned-ECE instructor Julius King Cuajao.

About SM Foundation, Inc.
SM Foundation, Inc. is the socio-civic arm of the SM Group of Companies through which it helps the less fortunate in the communities it serves. The Foundation has four areas of advocacy: education through scholarship programs and donation of school buildings; health through medical missions, mobile clinics, and establishment of wellness and health centers; livelihood and community development; and the conduct of relief operations to victims of calamities. The Foundation intends to serve more communities as SM builds more malls around the country.