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SM scholar-graduate hailed among Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines

John Michael Lava hopes to inspire youth to be agent of positive change

(Manila, Philippines, September 06, 2013) — SM scholar-graduate John Michael Lava, a magna cum laude graduate of Far Eastern University, has been honored as one of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP). In a ceremony held at the Heroes Hall of Malacañang Palace, Lava and nine other accomplished students were recognized for their exemplary performance as a Filipino youth in creating a better society through leadership and community service.

“Being hailed as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines is not just a great honor but also the responsibility of a lifetime—to effect rippling changes, a challenge to take part in building the nation and be a living inspiration to the youth that we can do more and be more for our country,” says Lava.

Lava never let his family’s circumstances stand in the way of his passion for learning. Graduating with 15 medals in high school, it came as no surprise that he was easily accepted into the SM College Scholarship Program.

While taking up accountancy in FEU, Lava actively led community-enrichment programs such as his “Youth Mobilization” position paper on the informal settlers in the Quezon City business district. He is also the founder and president of Damside Youth Association.

Because of the number of community works Lava is involved in, he received a special leadership award and ranked third in the Ten Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Student in 2012.

“It’s time to see things differently and positively so we can create creative, doable, and practical solutions to the country’s problems and issues,” says Lava, who is now preparing for the Certified Public Accountant licensure exam.

Lava acknowledges that SM Foundation, Inc., who has given him an opportunity to finish college through its College Scholarship Program, made him who he is today. Early this year, Lava was part of the 17th batch of graduates that the foundation feted to an annual testimonial dinner.

“I’m really thankful to SM Foundation, especially to Tatang (Mr. Henry Sy, Sr.), because they allowed me to dream big not only for myself but for others as well. Tatang really inspired me to help others just like he did in helping poor youths like me have a chance for a college education,” he says.

Founded by Jose Concepcion Jr. of the RFM Foundation in 1961, the TOSP was created to recognize exemplary Filipino youths dedicated in creating a better society through leadership and community service. The project was established in honor the 100th birthday of national hero Jose Rizal. A total of 233 students from 120 participating schools nationwide were nominated this year. The 30 national finalists underwent the National Formation Program from August 23 to 28 and were screened by a panel of judges.

John Michael Lava

SM Scholar and Far Eastern University magna cum laude graduate John Michael Lava is one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) for 2013. The nationwide search has been a yearly tradition since its re-launch in 1989. In photo are John Michael Lava with TOSP Founder Jose Concepcion, Jr.

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.