HomeGood PinoysAgainst All Odds: 74-Year-Old Lolo Jao Graduates Senior High School, Dreams of...

Against All Odds: 74-Year-Old Lolo Jao Graduates Senior High School, Dreams of Becoming an Agriculturist

Senior citizen Nicolas Sucgang went through senior high school to be eligible for a college education. Photo courtesy of Carmen Dalida Selerio Facebook.

As the graduation season unfolded this year, a senior citizen stood out in the crowd as he marched across the stage not as a proud parent, but as one of the Senior High completers in Napti Integrated School in Batan, Aklan. The high school diploma is now a grandfather’s ticket to pursue a college degree.

At 74, Nicolas “Lolo Jao” Sucgang proved that his bones are not too fragile and his age is not a hindrance in pursuing his long-time dream of earning a college degree.

Affectionately known as “Lolo Jao”, Sucgang enrolled in the Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL) Track specializing in Agri-Fishery Arts and Aquaculture. Lolo Jao said he believes in the significance of agriculture as a crucial component of the economy and community.

Overcoming Blocks

But Lolo Jao’s victorious moment came with the price of a nightmarish past.

Lolo Jao describes his educational journey as a long and arduous path, marked by financial difficulties that forced him to pause his studies after finishing high school in 1974.

The former OFW applied for candidacy as Kagawad in the last Sangguniang Barangay elections. But Sucgang faced mockery for not having a college degree. Lolo Jao was his own best cheerleader and transformed the negative feedback into fuel to drive his perseverance in achieving his college dream.

Pinabayaan ko lang, okay lang sa akin, sa susunod magsusumikap ako para sa huli, akin ang huling halakhak,” Sucgang said in an interview with Kalibo Cable TV Community.

(I just let it go, it’s okay with me. Next time, I will strive harder because, in the end, I will have the last laugh.)

Despite the blocks that weighed down Lolo Jao’s path, his high hopes of returning to school never faltered, as life constantly reminded him that education was a path to triumph, and trials were just a recipe for success.

In the same interview, Sucgang reminisced about his first day of school, recalling how a classmate was taken aback and mistakenly identified him as their teacher. Eventually, Lolo Jao impressed them with his proficient English-speaking skills.

As a “padre de pamilya”, Nicolas Sucgang experienced the struggle of balancing his time between his family duties and his studies. This struggle was compounded by a senior’s health concerns with schooling amid the extremely hot weather caused by El Niño.

Armed with his high school diploma, the aspiring agriculturist has encountered yet another financial setback toward achieving a college degree. Nevertheless, he persists and seeks a government sponsor to fund his college studies.

Siguro pag nagtapos ako, nag graduate ako, tapos na ang misyon ko. Magpapatuloy ako kung (may) mag-offer sa akin ng government scholarship,” Nicolas Sugcang shared.

(Maybe when I finish and graduate, my mission will be complete. I will continue if the government offers me a scholarship.)

Aiming Higher

Even though the road toward his college journey is still unclear, Lolo Jao encourages everyone to continue to fight for their dreams.

Sana po ‘yong mga tumigil at hindi nakapagtapos, kasi kahit may edad ka na o bata pa, dapat magtapos na kayo kasi mahirap talaga na wala kayong tinapos sa pag-aaral,” states Sucgang who finally received his high school diploma on May 29, 2024.

(I hope those who stopped and didn’t finish, whether you’re old or still young, should finish your education because it’s really hard not to have completed your studies.)

Carmen Dalida Selorio, a teacher at Napti Integrated School, shared her admiration and support for Lolo Jao in a Facebook post. “Age is just a number, for education it doesn’t matter,” she wrote in her post which went viral and inspired netizens.

Lolo Jao’s narrative is an undeniable illustration of perseverance. His unstoppable commitment to education became a source of inspiration for all generations, emphasizing that the pursuit of academic goals knows no bounds. His journey underscores that learning is a lifetime treasure that cannot be stolen.

Just like Lolo Jao, Nanay Josie, a 66-year-old senior citizen from Catarman, Northern Samar captured the heart of netizens as she graduated from senior high school with honors. In another GoodNewsPilipinas story, 91-year-old senior citizen Lolo Pedring from La Union province graduated from senior high school, proving again that age is not a barrier to achieving success and dreams. Their story of hope encourages and sparks a broader conversation about the accessibility and inclusivity of educational opportunities for individuals of all ages.

Be part of our vibrant Good News Pilipinas community, celebrating the best of the Philippines and our global Filipino heroes. As winners of the Gold Anvil Award and the Lasallian Scholarum Award, we invite you to engage with us and share your inspiring stories. For stories Making Every Filipino Proud, reach out to GoodNewsPilipinas.com via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokYouTube, and LinkedInLinkTree here. Let’s spread good news together!

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Judith Mariano
Judith Mariano
Judith, a Journalism student at PUP Manila, is a former Altermidya and Balitang A2Z intern. Her passion for writing ignited during her campus journalism journey. Aspiring to be both a children's book writer and a licensed psychologist, Judith combines her creativity and empathy to inspire and support others through her writing.

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