Perseverance and Pride

— By Ricardo Espitia, PCAFPD Student Affairs

PCAFPD is proud to spotlight graduating scholar Donna Mae Bonares Jalipa! Donna graduated in May from Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in Iloilo City with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. Donna is from Valderrama, Antique and is the middle child of five siblings. Her mother is a housekeeper and her father is a driver. 

“PCAFPD completely changed my life. Being a PCAFPD scholar allowed me the freedom to pursue my goals, reduce financial concerns for my family, and gave me the hope I needed to complete my college education.”  –Donna Mae Bonares Jalipa

Donna first heard about the PCAFPD scholarship after participating in a youth leadership program started by a Peace Corps Volunteer and his counterpart in her town, a program that she would eventually lead as President. 

Donna’s journey to PCAFPD required perseverance. Donna was not selected the first time she applied for the scholarship. However, she was encouraged to apply again and worked day and night to put together the best application she could. The moment she heard she was accepted, her life changed, she saw the vision of herself as a college student, a social worker, and a change agent.

Donna says that being a PCAFPD scholar shielded her from painful memories of financial hardship she experienced in elementary and high school. The fact that PCAFPD supported not only her tuition but her living expenses, on the job training, and materials leveled the playing field and gave her the same access to opportunities as her more fortunate classmates. 

Her favorite memories from being a scholar are meeting fellow scholars from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, working with the Ituloy team, and the annual virtual celebrations hosted for scholars.

“The PCAFPD community is amazing. I have heard moving tales from both former and current scholars which have inspired me. It was really valuable to have the PCAFPD community to lean on and connect with other college students with situations similar to mine, especially during the Pandemic. All of those pleasant memories from my time as a PCAFPD Scholar will live in my heart forever.”

After graduating Donna will dedicate her time to preparing for her board exam while simultaneously volunteering as an advisor to the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and support its youth-based activities. After passing the board exam, she plans to gain employment with a non-profit or government agency to work with underprivileged and underrepresented groups. Overall, for Donna having a college degree allows her to help her family, her community, and her country. As she reflects on her time as a scholar she has this to say:

“My heart is overjoyed that I am now a graduating student. I genuinely appreciate all the wonderful advantages PCAFPD provides to its scholars. I hope that more kindhearted individuals will support the foundation because it is truly extraordinary and makes it possible for Filipino students to attend college despite their financial position. To PCAFPD, I really wanted to say thank you very much. Because of you, I have gained friends from across the country. I feel incredibly proud to be known as a PCAFPD Scholar.”

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Scholar Graduation Highlight – Donna Mae Bonares Jalipa