Iskolar ni Manang Imee's magna cum laude: my parents are my inspirationApr 12, 2016
After four years of diligent study for his degree in accountancy, Marck Anthony J. Ranga of Brgy. Elizabeth, Marcos, Ilocos Norte, earned a general weighted average of 1.36, landing him at rank two among 2,172 graduates of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) for the year 2016.
Ranga is the only magna cum laude out of 21 "Iskolar ni Manang Imee" beneficiaries who graduated with honors this year. According to him, it was Prof. Divina M. Cayabyab, head of scholarship and financial assistance at MMSU, who encouraged him to apply for the scholarship. "My happiness overflowed," he said in Ilocano of the time he found out he had passed the interview for the scholarship, "dahil malaking tulong ito sa pag-aaral ko. Ang tatay ko kasi noon, magsasaka, tapos housewife ang nanay ko."
He shared, "My parents are my inspiration. Ang gusto lang naman talaga nila ay makapagtapos ako ng kolehiyo dahil pareho silang hindi nakapagtapos. Tapos noong namatay yung tatay ko, mas naging inspirasyon ko pa siya na dapat ma-fulfill yung pangarap nila para sa akin."
It was during his second semester as a third-year college student that Ranga's father passed away. "Nag-allot ako ng dalawang linggo na hindi ako pumasok sa klase para makapagpaalam ako nang maayos sa tatay ko, at para makita ko pa ang mukha niya dahil alam kong huling pagkakataon ko na 'yon para makita ko siya," he shared, saying that he also drew encouragement from his classmates and other relatives.
"Inisip ko na lang noon na lahat ng gagawin ko sa pag-aaral ko ay para na rin sa tatay ko. Nilubus-lubos ko na ang pag-review ko noon dahil alam ko na ako lang talaga ang makatutulong sa nanay ko." To help his mother move on, he would drive her to his father's grave "para at least man lang makakausap pa rin niya," explaining their communitypamahiin or superstition that a widow must not be present during the burial of her husband.
Refusing to allow his studies to suffer, he instead persevered to keep his grades up as another way to cheer up his mother.
Asked about his plans after passing the board examination for Certified Public Accountants, he replied that he would still prefer to work in Ilocos Norte even if he is offered a higher salary in Metro Manila. "Mag-isa lang naman ang nanay ko sa bahay namin, so gusto ko namang magtrabaho na nakakauwi rin araw-araw para makasama ko siya."
Being a scholar gave him the opportunity to make lifetime friendships in addition to the financial assistance, relating that it was joining in scholars' meetings and community service periods that strengthened his bonding with co-scholars. "For me, those are some of my fondest memories that I will continue to reminisce even when I'll have entered the workforce," Ranga said.
He expressed his hope that Governor Imee R. Marcos would continue her assistance to students in need, saying that there are a large number of young people who want to attain an education but lack the financial means. To Gov. Marcos, he said in Ilocano, "Personally, nagpapasalamat ako. Pati ang nanay ko, nagpapasalamat sa tulong na binigay mo sa amin. Sana ay marami ka pang matulungan, at pagpalain ka lagi ng Diyos."
Funded by the Provincial Education Department (PED), the said scholarship covers a stipend every semester, tuition fee, transportation allowance, daily expenses, and board and lodging, if necessary. It was launched in 2012 by Gov. Marcos, who stressed that financial assistance should be given to students who are eager learners but are hindered by the cost of education. She emphasized then that Ilocanos should be united and uplift one another, helping each other to harness their fullest potentials in the service of Ilocos Norte.
"Iskolar ni Manang Imee" yielded a total of 21 honor graduates for Academic Year 2015-2016.