(March 6)— Give back to the community and serve your country once you have achieved your goals and dreams after graduation, this was the gist of the inspirational message of Raphael Lorenz Fonte, a student achiever from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP), during the Parangal sa Mag-aaral held on February 22.
He added, “Ngayong nasa kolehiyo na tayo at nalalapit na ang pagsabak natin sa totoong daigdig, mahalagang isa-isip, isa-puso at isa-diwa natin ang pamumuhay tungo sa kainaman ng ating bansa sapagkat sino pa nga ba ang magmamalasakit sa Pilipinas kundi tayo-tayo lang din. At kung hindi tayo, sino na lamang ang magmamalasakit sa isang bayan na ipinagkanulo ng kanyang sariling mamamayan?” (Now that we are in college and are about to face the real world, it is important that we bear in our mind, heart and spirit to live towards the goodness of our country because who else would sympathize with the Philippines but us? If it is not us, then, who else would sympathize with a country betrayed by its own people?)
Fonte is one of the almost 3, 000 student achievers in the graduate and undergraduate levels honored by the UPD for their achievements in the past year during theceremony held at the UP Film Institute’s Cine Adarna.
Yearly, UPD honors students who are University Scholars (US) or students who have earned a General Weighted Average (GWA) of not lower than 1.45, and those who have distinguished themselves in various fields.
This year, the Science and Technology cluster once again produced the most number of achievers with 1, 159 awardees led by the College of Engineering with 572 awardees followed by the College of Science with 299.
The Social Sciences and Law cluster came in second and produced 668 awardees mostly from the CSSP, which had 462 awardees. It was followed by the College of Education, which had 144 awardees.
UPD also awarded graduates who ranked among the top 10 in various licensure examinations in the country. The graduates made their presence felt in the 2010 Bar examination, 2011 licensure examinations for Architecture, Certified Public Accountant, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Geology, Interior Design, Librarians, Nutritionist and Dietitian, Teachers (Elementary and Secondary) and Social Work and Environmental Planner Board examination.
Furthermore, UPD graduates dominated the top three ranks of the licensure examination for architects, chemical engineers and geologists.
Students who excelled in other fields and won in national and international competitions were also recognized.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Ma. Corazon J. Tan proudly expressed her happiness and gratitude to the student achievers who not only performed beyond expectations and brought glory to the university but also embodied the tatak UP or the mark of a true UP student. She also paid tribute to student leader-activists who are either missing or in prison such as Karen Empeño and Sherly Cadapan, Maricon Montajes and Ericson Acosta, for offering themselves in the service of the community.
Tan also announced the reinstatement of the Natatanging Samahan ng Mag-aaral, a special award last given in 2004 to student organizations in recognition of their exemplary leadership and service to the university and the community.
This year’s special award was presented to the Engineering Fraternity United (EFU) , composed of the Beta Epsilon, Epsilon Chi, Emc² and Tau Alpha and the UP Association of Clothing Technology Students (ACTS).
EFU was recognized for their voluntary service to their fellow students and for giving a positive example and image to fraternities through re-painting the interiors of Ilang-ilang Residence Hall,a female student dormitory on campus, for free in October 2011.
ACTS, on the other hand, was recognized for actively participating in the protest against the education budget cut and for fighting for a greater state subsidy through a creative fashion show called Budget CUTtoure.
Tan said the awardees this year were initially chosen by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. However, in the succeeding year, a committee will be created to select among the nominees for the Natatanging Samahan ng Mag-aaral.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma, in his message to the student achievers, acknowledged Fonte’s message and reminded them that “…you are among the select few who have earned the highest mark in the last academic term. You should be proud of yourself. Your current achievement should be an opportunity for you to challenge yourself to maintain your academic excellence throughout your stay in the University. Clearly, you recognized the value of your education. By not taking your education for granted, you are preparing yourself for the success in your field. By excelling in the classroom, you are equipping yourself with the necessary intelligence inside and skills to function outside the classroom. To be productive professionals and leaders, your success is our barometer of hope for a brighter future country.”
Hosting the ceremony were Professor Manuel C. Manuel III of the College of Business Administration and Dr. Stella A. Quimbo of the School of Economics.
Ada Marie S. Tayao, a College of Education student and a 2012 Gawad Chanselor awardee for Natatanging Mag-aaral, performed two songs: her own composition entitled Paano ba? and Waiting for the World to Change, an original song by American pop and blues rock musician and singer-songwriter John Mayer, during the ceremony.
CSSP’s choir Tiriritz also provided an intermission number and serenaded the audience with the song Go the Distance by Michael Bolton.
The event ended with the singing of UP Naming Mahal with the accompaniment from the members of the UP ROTC Symphonic Band under the baton of Professor Rodney Ambat of the College of Music. —Haidee C. Pineda