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Janrey, a security guard’s son, graduates summa cum laude

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Janrey, a security guardâs son, graduates summa cum laude
Janrey with his parents Dante and Elena Nevado.Photos courtesy of DLSU-College of Saint Benilde

Janrey D. Nevado, the only child of a security guard and a housewife, graduated summa cum laude from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde on March 9. Eight days before his graduation rites at the PICC, where he delivered his valedictory address, Janrey, 20, started work as a data science trainee at Globe Telecom in BGC.

His general average: 3.802. That made him the only summa cum laude among the 1,170 graduates of Benilde this year. The last time Benilde produced a summa cum laude from the graduating batch was six years ago.

“I currently work in Globe Telecom as a data science trainee under the training period but will have the job title of an ‘expert’ upon regularization. I got hired through Globe’s data science program where I am one of the 39 candidates who qualified. I started on March 1 this year. As of now, I am undergoing a training program that aims to equip employees with data science skill set,” Janrey says.

His first pay check last March 15 he gave to his parents, Dante, 46; and Elena, 47. This early, for his next salary, he is excited to buy a TV set (so his mother, who was rendered partly paralyzed on the right leg after a stroke, would have something to while her time when left home alone), a bed (so they will not sleep on the floor anymore) and have Wi-Fi connection installed in their rented house in Malate so life for his mother and father will be comfortable. From there, he will work hard and save a lot “to better the lives of my parents, to better our lives.”

Janrey wanted to become a pilot when he was a child. He ended up piloting his own life, his own dreams when he took up BS Business Administration major in Computer Applications. His decision to study in Benilde was upon the suggestion of his father, a security guard at Benilde’s School of Design and Arts Campus on P. Ocampo St. in Malate. The building where Janrey spent his college life is called Benilde Taft Campus, where courses on business, consular and diplomacy and deaf studies are offered. Benilde has another campus called Angelo King International Center for hotel and restaurant management courses.

Janrey Nevado.

“Benilde was not my first choice of campus. I passed the UST exam for Accountancy but no scholarship was being offered. I also passed De La Salle University, also for Accountancy, but I was told I needed one-year residency before I could apply for a scholarship,” Janrey recalls.

“Sabi ko kay Janrey, kahit anong gawin natin hindi natin kakayanin (ang DLSU), wala tayong ibibigay,” Dante says.

Dante had heard about the scholarship grants offered by Benilde and encouraged his son to take the entrance exam and apply for a scholarship.

“Di ko rin sukat akalain na makakapasok siya sa Benilde kasi dito puro mayayaman ang nag-aaral. Pero sabi ko nga, hindi naman masamang mag-try. Malay mo, kako, may awa ang Diyos at swertehin ka at dito ka makapasok,” Dante remembers telling his son.

With prayers and perseverance, Janrey made it to Benilde. His father went to the college’s student grants office to try his luck for a possible financial assistance for his son’s education. Soon, Janrey became a recipient of the Pierre Romancon Grant, one of the scholarship grants of Benilde under the financial assistance program. With his scholarship, Janrey received 100-percent free tuition fee and his miscellaneous fees were also waived.   

It helped that the house (it’s actually a room, according to Dante) he and his family were renting was just walking distance from the campus. With P100 as his allowance every day, Janrey, sans complaints, made both ends meet. “I never went to school on an empty stomach. My parents always made sure that I get to eat first before going to school,” he says.

It was a bit of a culture shock for Janrey on his first day at Benilde, one of the most expensive schools in the Philippines. “Because my classmates were wearing branded clothes for their OOTD, I felt I would experience discrimination. Later on, I discovered that those who were better off in life were the ones who were genuinely generous.”

He aimed for the star. He persevered. Because they had no internet at home, Janrey would come early to school or stay a bit late to connect to Benilde’s free Wi-Fi so he could do his assignments that needed research. He also made it a habit to rewrite legibly the lecture notes he took down in the classroom when he got home for effective retention of what was discussed in school. 

“I don’t think I was born an intelligent person. When I was in Kinder, all my grades were in line of 7,” he admits.

When they lived in Bulacan, and where he finished elementary and high school, Janrey slowly inched his way to academic excellence. His father remembered his son reading volumes of Encyclopedia when he was still a kid. “And the only books I read after that were textbooks. I would read them ahead even before the class year started,” Janrey recalls.

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde president Bro. Dennis Magbanua, FSC with summa cum laude Janrey Nevado.

When they had a TV set in the province, the boob tube influenced him to become a scientist because of shows like Jimmy Neutron and Phineas and Ferb.

In grade school, he was bullied by some of his classmates because “I was fat.” His classmates did not realize that Janrey also had a fat brain — so he fought bullying by excelling in school. He was always second honor from Grade 1 to Grade 5. He got tired of being second best so he aimed and succeeded to be the first honor in Grade 6 at Channel of Dreams Learning School. He was also valedictorian in high school at Mystical Rose School of Bulacan. (His father has always been a security guard in different companies. His mother used to work in a department store before manning her own sari-sari store. She stopped working when she suffered from a stroke last year.)

In college, he had no issues telling his classmates that his father is a security guard in Benilde. But it was only before graduation that the whole school community learned about that fact.

“I am really proud to be a son of a security guard who always made sure that I got to take chances that will improve my future. Because of him, I easily adjusted and familiarized myself with the new environment and culture. To be completely honest, I really don’t think that it should be a big deal that my father is a security guard because I consider it as equal to any other job out there,” he says proudly.

“The best lesson I learned from my father is to not be contented with our current situation. I should not let poverty be a hindrance to my success. I should be independent and should not always rely on others. Ultimately, it is me who will determine my future. He also taught me how to be tough and resilient in facing challenges in life,” Janrey says.

He adds, “My mother taught me that nothing is impossible as long as I set my mind to achieve the goal and take the necessary steps with perseverance and determination. She made me realize that nothing is impossible as long as I work hard and do my best. I also learned from her that I should always keep my feet on the ground and to never forget all the people who would help me on my way to success.”

In his journey, he considers his parents and some of his relatives his heroes. He knows too well that he is a product of people’s kindness, of people’s generosity. And to Benilde, his gratitude is beyond words. The benevolence shown to him by the college and the many people behind it humbles him; it is the kind of kindness that will make him strive for the best. He will not waste the opportunity given him. He knows generosity heals.

And it is the same brand of generosity that Janrey will afford his parents this time.

(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at bumbaki@yahoo.com. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed Sunday!)

DE LA SALLE-COLLEGE OF SAINT BENILDE JANREY D. NEVADO
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