MANILA, Philippines - Three summa cum laude graduates lead this year’s graduating batch of SM Foundation scholars. The graduates, who comprise the 16th batch, number 164 with 75 graduating with honors. Aside from the three summa cum laude, 13 are magna cum laude, 44 cum laude and 15 with academic distinction. The 3 summa cum laude graduates finished baccalaureate degrees in Accountancy. The others pursued courses in education, engineering, information technology and computer-related degrees.
The Sy family led by its patriarch, Henry Sy Sr., held a traditional dinner in their honor, giving the graduates and their parents the opportunity to meet their benefactors, including the officers of SM Foundation and its project partners. They were gifted with wrist watches by the family plus gifts certificates from SM department stores, Hypermarket & SaveMore.
Prior to this dinner, scholars were interviewed by the Human Resource Officers of the SM Group of Companies for job placements. While a majority were directly hired, others had to forego jobs to review for board examinations, while still others applied with other companies here and abroad.
The SM scholarship program, the flagship program of SM Foundation gives an opportunity to poor students who cannot pursue further education to enroll in partner schools for a 4 – 5-year college degree. It provides free tuition and monthly allowance to scholars who are rigidly screened by a committee. The scholars are also given the opportunity to earn during summer and Christmas breaks with part-time jobs in any of the SM Group of Companies thereby augmenting family income. The Foundation hosts various events for them during the schoolyear such as General Assembly at the start of the schoolyear, tours to the Science Discovery Center, free movies at the IMAX movie theater, spiritual recollection and a traditional Christmas party.
There are 1,200 college scholars enrolled in 82 partner schools; 103 of them have been adopted by private companies & individuals while the remaining are fully funded by the Foundation. The Foundation likewise supports students enrolled in vocational schools like the Punlaan School & the Don Bosco Technical Institute. To date, the Foundation counts 1,464 college graduates since it was launched in 1992.