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A Christmas surprise

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He was born into a family that is financially challenged. He was the third of seven kids. When he was young, he and his brothers and sisters knew that life could be really hard. Their parents taught them to be strong so they could make it through tough times.

Rodelyn Mejorada, a twenty-year-old resident of Barangay 2 in Bacolod City, had to drop out of the first semester of the 2023-2024 academic year because he didn’t have enough money. With limited options, he made the tough decision to leave school and started selling sandwiches in front of STI West Negros University, where he had initially enrolled as a BS Criminology student.

“I am not ashamed to sell sandwiches because my siblings and I have been helping our parents sell banana cue and fish when we were younger. We understood at a very young age that it was the only way to keep our heads above water,” shared Rodelyn.

He manages to sell around a hundred sandwiches daily, each priced at P15. His customers include former classmates, schoolmates, teachers, and non-teaching staff of STI West Negros University.

“I save most of my earnings, and some I use to buy food for the family and cover my own needs. I’m putting in the effort because I’m saving up for my tuition. I’m determined to go back to the university,” he expressed.

BS Criminology student Rodelyn Mejorada was all smiles when he received the Gift of Knowledge Scholarship certificate from Dr. Ryan Mark Molina, EVP/COO of STI West Negros University.*
Rodelyn was happily welcomed by his former classmates who cheered and clapped when they heard that he was given a full scholarship in order to pursue his dream to be a policeman.*

His unwavering commitment and inspiring determination to pursue a degree against all odds caught the attention of those around him. One day, Redgan Pagne, a second-year Bachelor of Arts in Communication student, recorded a video of him selling sandwiches outside the campus and shared it on social media.

This post garnered the interest of mainstream media, and soon, Rodelyn’s inspiring story spread across both traditional and social media platforms.

Rodelyn’s story was exclusively featured on GMA Regional TV. Upon discovering his challenging situation, the university administration reviewed his records and grades, only to find that Rodelyn was performing well academically.

The photo that BA Communication student Redgan Pagne posted on his FB page on November 17, 2023 that caught the attention of the both mainstream and social media.*

On the morning of December 22, Dr. Ryan Mark Molina, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of STIWNU, bestowed upon Rodelyn a heartwarming Christmas surprise that brought him to tears — a Gift of Knowledge Scholarship.

“What matters most is for you to complete your studies. Once you’ve graduated, pass on the kindness to others. Pay it forward,” expressed Molina to a visibly moved Rodelyn.

“I’m deeply grateful to God because, without His guidance, I wouldn’t be in this position. This is an enormous gift for me, especially during this Christmas season. I never anticipated that the story featuring me would result  in a Christmas surprise,” said Rodelyn in between sobs.

He further expressed his dedication to working hard for his tuition, emphasizing his desire not to impose a financial burden on his parents for his education.

“To my fellow students whose families are financially stable, I urge you to appreciate your education. Be thankful for the support your parents provide to secure a brighter future for you. Recognize the importance of your studies, as not every student has the same privileges that you do,” shared Rodelyn with a smile, surrounded by former classmates with whom he will be reunited in the upcoming semester.

Truly, a Christmas surprise that fills individuals like Rodelyn with anticipation for a brighter future ahead.*

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