The Iloilo City Government gave recognition to the first Summa Cum Laude of Iloilo City Community College (ICCC) during the flag raising ceremony April 28.
Grace Joy L. Manalo, 20, said her parents inspired her to study and subsequently topped the 17 Latin honors awardees during ICCC Commencement Exercises April 12.
Manalo got 1.19 General Weighted Average. Summa cum laude is Latin phrase for “with highest honor.”
“I consider my parents as my strength when I was still studying. I want to lift them up from poverty. And I told myself that one of many ways to thank them for bringing me up despite that I am not their own daughter, is to study hard,” Manalo said. She has yet to meet her biological parents.
Manalo said one of the challenges she needed to face while studying was when her mother became blind due to diabetes.
“I was contemplating not to continue my studies because of what happened to my mother. However, I was grateful that I became an academic awardee and I had a free tuition,” Manalo said.
Her father is a vendor at Iloilo Terminal Market, commonly known as Super, while her mother is a housewife.
Manalo has planned to work in the government and later on earn a Master’s Degree and Doctorate Degree.
Manalo encouraged students to never give up on their dreams.
“Never stop believing that you will succeed. No matter how big or small your problems are, do not give up until you reach the pedestal, and when you work, you have to work smart and not work hard,” Manalo added. (Merianne Grace Ereñeta/Iloilo City PIO)