The SM Foundation (SMFI) celebrated the graduation of its 397 scholars from the class of 2023, including eight summa cum laude, 72 cum laude, 55 magna cum laude, and 26 academic distinction awardees.
Held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the presentation of graduates served as a mark of the significant milestone in the scholars’ academic journeys and a testament to their resilience and determination to uplift their families and illuminate a path for future generations.
The event was joined by scholars’ families, esteemed partners, and the SM Foundation’s heads, including the foundation’s Executive Director for Education Programs, Carmen Linda Atayde.
In her address, Atayde emphasized the transformative power of education: “Behind these impressive statistics lie stories of triumph over challenges, stories of dreams pursued against all odds. These scholars, hailing from humble backgrounds, have shown that with opportunity and hard work, one can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”
Atayde also recognized the support of mentors, educators, and the Sy family, noting how their efforts have paved the way for success, not only for today’s graduates but also for the communities they represent.
Echoing the vision of the SM group’s founder, Henry Sy Sr., SMFI Executive Director Debbie Sy also emphasized the importance of education as a tool for social mobility and poverty alleviation.
Addressing the scholars, Sy reminded the scholars of their role as catalysts for change in their communities: “You are the living proof of the transformative power of education. The SM Foundation Scholarship Program’s goal is not just academic success but to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”
“Now, armed with knowledge, be agents of social good in your communities. Your journey doesn’t end here; it’s a new beginning, and we can’t wait to witness the positive impact you’ll create,” she said.
In Baguio City, 11 scholars from Saint Louis University and the University of the Cordilleras were acknowledged.
Noteworthy among them are Hazel C. Castillo, who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy degree, and Cherilyn N. Acop, who earned magna cum laude honors in Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Additionally, Dustine May G. Garcia, a graduate of the University of the Cordilleras, achieved cum laude status with a degree in Bachelor of Elementary Education. – Press release