Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

One to change the world

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - "I want to change the world." Sounds like an impossible feat. And so, only few people would dare try. Most wouldn't dream that big.

But 16-year-old Micaella Chyven Gadin dares at it. In fact, she's on her way to doing just that.

Micaella, who completed her Junior High School at the Cebu City National Science High School, is a consistent first-honor throughout her years in elementary and high school and adds another feather onto her already excellent hat that includes achievements like the Don Sergio Osmeña Excellence Award, the Cebu City Academic Excellence Award, Top Outstanding Cebu City Youth Leader, and the JCI Youth Leadership Award, among being first in her classes - as she is set to continue her Senior High education abroad, specifically in Costa Rica. Roughly 10,098 miles away from her family, friends, and everything she's ever known.

Micaella, who has never been this far away from her family, will be studying at a United World College (UWC) along with eight students from all over the country who were granted scholarships this year.

The UWC movement, whose current president is Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, was founded in 1962. The movement is composed of 15 international colleges, where students from over a hundred different countries live together to pursue an academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program for two years, with their diplomas accredited in any university around the world.

Micaella is the second Cebuano to be granted a UWC scholarship in the last 13 years, and the only to be granted this year. The young lady is also to take on the role of Philippine ambassador to the college - where she will promote Philippine culture and learn about other cultures as well.

It would seem that Micaella has been prepared for the UWC. The young lady - who plans to take up pre-law, then international law and human rights law - fondly remembers her Science High days. "We even had to raise a pig for TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education)," Micaella recalls a project with her classmates. She also relates various other things that they did, which she considers to have prepared her for the challenges of the future - like finding ways to help pay the school's electricity bill because the annual budget didn't cover it or looking for alternative means to do their class work because there weren't enough computers in class.

A beautiful young lady with impeccable scholastic standing and strong beliefs, and nurtured by her ever supportive family, there's probably nothing to keep Micaella from reaching her goals. But her journey towards the prestigious UWC scholarship grant, in particular, is never easy.

"You have to be excellent in everything," Micaella says, looking back at how she endured five 300- to 500-word essays, and went through shortlist after shortlist. And yet, after earning the scholarship Micaella has to face another hurdle that 's momentarily keeping her from her goal - money, to the tune of 3.4 million pesos!

Fortunately, the burden is made 75-percent lighter - thanks to her impressive academic rating and pre-screening performance.  The sponsoring organization in Costa Rica is doing all it can to accommodate her. The scholarship is actually only supposed to cover 50 percent of the cost of the two-year study.

But the remaining costs - which still totals to some 1.3 million pesos - she has to take care of.  These cover tuition, airfares and miscellaneous expenses. According to Micaella's mother, Benilda, scholars are to get sponsors for their plane tickets.

Naturally proud yet worried of their eldest daughter leaving home at a tender age, Belinda and husband Jose III realize the great honor it is that Micaella is considered for the UWC scholarship. They know they cannot let down their girl and the people who have committed to support her.

They Gadins also admit that they cannot do it by themselves alone. The pressure on them right now is that if they are unable to pay the remaining costs by the beginning of the school term in August, Micaella's might just lose the scholarship.

It would be such a sad thing for a girl who aims to be a global citizen and be a voice in the United Nations someday soon. Micaella obviously has bright future ahead of her - one that holds potential honor not just for herself but for her homeland as well. She deserves public support.

There are common benefits to reap, too. After all the training and education that UWC experience, the students are encouraged to go home and contribute to the total development of their communities. Micaella intends to champion the cause students - so that they may all have equal chances for quality education regardless of status and background. "I want to give back to the educational system, like give scholarship grants to students, so they could have the education and experience that I [would have]," she says.

Those who want to support Micaella in her journey towards the UWC may donate to the UWC Alumni Association Pilipinas Inc.'s Metrobank account number 442 7 442 015135. Then donors may reach the UWC Philippine National Committee head, Nicole Severino at 0917 688 0693,  and inform her of the donated amount for for Micaella Chyven Gadin.

With everyone's support, Micaella may just change the world - for the better. (FREEMAN)

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