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Aboitiz expands Cebu scholarship program

When Junie Valendez decided he wanted to pursue engineering in college, even his family did not think he was serious.
His father, a carpenter, and his mother, a housewife, were grounded by reality.
With four other children to take care of, they just didn’t have enough financial resources to support Junie’s dream.
But instead of becoming resigned to his circumstances, Junie drew motivation from his position in life.
Junie, a native of Medellin town in northern Cebu, decided to quit high school after his sophomore year to find work in Cebu City and hopefully provide for his family through his earnings.
After two years of manning a relative’s barbecue stall in downtown Cebu City, he realized it wasn’t enough. That was when he understood he needed to go back to his hometown and finish school.
For two years, Junie juggled his studies and work—helping out his electrician uncle as they went from house to house in their neighborhood after classes, installing electrical wires or even as simple as fixing busted lights. During weekends, he would assist his father with carpentry work.
These experiences were the spark that ignited his dream of becoming an engineer, pushing him to become better than who he was in the past.
“Nobody believed I would be where I am now. During my first and second years in high school, I never took my studies seriously. I used to cut classes because I was always out looking for money,” said Junie, now 24 years old.
He was elected student council president of his high school during his senior year and eventually graduated class valedictorian, in spite of having to manage his time between academics and his jobs. Yet, there were still some who thought he didn’t have what it takes to finish college.
“Do you even think you can finish? Your parents don’t have money. I bet you won’t even make it past second year,” Junie said, recalling what a relative once told him then.
Junie could have retorted, but instead, he remembered having humbly said, “I will have to see, tiyo (uncle). We can never tell what the future holds.”
Some time in March this year, he would have already completed his fourth year studying electrical engineering at the Cebu Technological University (CTU) in Cebu City. He will then have only one more year before he graduates and eventually takes the licensure exam for electrical engineers.

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