With help from netizens, fisherman's son raises $1,000 to secure slot in US university

Chenny Sañano - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — A fisherman’s son from Bolinao, Pangasinan has received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study in the United States. However, there was one major hindrance: money.

To overcome this, Marco Jones Sagun asked for financial help on Facebook to raise a fund of $1,000 (P51,000), which will be used to secure a slot in Bentley University.

Sagun, who was a consistent Director’s Lister at the Philippine Science High School – Ilocos Region Campus, was offered a “presidential scholarship” amounting to $30,000 per year in the Massachusetts-based university. 

“As a son of a fisherman and a market vendor, we cannot afford to pay such price,” Sagun said in Filipino on a Facebook post dated December 26.

Fortunately, netizens delivered just in time before the January 20 deadline set by the university. Sagun said in a separate post on Tuesday that he already collected sufficient funds thanks to the generous help of some Filipinos. One of those who lent a helping hand was film director Darryl Yap.

“I can see myself in him because I was also a scholar here in the Philippines and another country. I really want to help this kid,” said Yap, who used to study at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Overwhelming blessing

Sagun admitted being overwhelmed after getting many donations from strangers across the world.  Apart from financial aid, the 18-year-old student also received a pledge from the Filipino community in Massachusetts, vowing to assist him once he arrive in America.  

“I felt some guilt since we have received too much of what we requested, which is $1,000. But these people are such a blessing to us. They are the once insisting and saying ‘Marco, we really know that you need more than that once you go there,” Sagun said in an interview with philstar.com.

After raising adequate funds, Sagun decided to officially end his call for donations on Tuesday. It was a risky move, knowing that studying at Bentley University would cost his family around $76,000 per year (P388,000). However, the Grade 12 student said he does not want to rely much on people’s kindness.

“I am willing to work abroad just to make up for that difference. I am ready for the bed of nails once I arrive there,” he added.

Dream bigger, do bigger

The Pangasinan native said he will be taking up Actuarial Science, a discipline involving mathematics and statistics to determine risks of insurance and financial industries. This will be a prerequisite to his dream of studying law in the future.

“I want to be a corporate lawyer. I want to study the financial statements of a company. I want to study numeral statistics, and the financial progress and trajectory of a company,” he said in Filipino.

Apart from being a lawyer, Sagun also dreams of giving back to his parents, Roberto and Gloria.

“My father is already 59 years old but he still goes and fish, even during bad weather. My mother is already 52 years old and still working hard as a fish vendor,” the Pisay standout said.

“They will do another sacrifice for me, but I am assuring them, I will not let all your efforts and sacrifices all go to waste,” he added.

Sagun also hopes that his journey will also inspire other students to dream bigger and do bigger.

“I just want to say to my fellow students, bring with you, your dreams, bring with you the values that you learned from your parents, your community. Those two will fuel you to achieve your success,” Sagun said.

“No one is poor, as long as you have dreams,” he added.




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