The road to success wasn’t easy for young Filipino student leader Jerson Aboabo who worked as a pedicab driver before graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors, the second top academic distinction from a university.
Aboabo pedaled his way to earn a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Filipino from Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) and overcame various challenges and obstacles during his journey toward being a teacher.
Recalling his tough yet inspiring college journey, Aboabo confessed in a Facebook post that he did not initially pass MSU-IIT’s entrance examination and that he was bullied and ridiculed for his failure. But he did not give up and persevered to eventually get into his dream school to pursue a college degree in Education.
Aboabo also wrote about balancing his academic life with being a sikad (pedicab) driver so he could still earn an income while studying and the official student publication of MSU-IIT honored him for his determination.
Despite having many responsibilities as a working student, Aboabo found time to support various worthy causes such as climate action and mental health awareness, among others. He also served on the Executive Council of his college department and was the editor-in-chief of the student publication, Sidlak-IIT.
Aboabo received a College Leadership Award as well as a Department Leadership Award for his service as a student leader during the university’s 52nd Commencement Ceremony in July 2022.
The student leader is among the 1,559 honor graduates of MSU-IIT, the highest number of Latin honorees that the university has recorded in its history.
Jerson Aboabo fondly looked back on his college years and expressed his gratitude to his mentors, as well as friends and family who supported him.
“My four years in IIT was definitely the time of my life nga dili nako malimtan. Mag work commissions, silent battles, muhilak taga gabie kay wala nay sulod nga kwarta ang bulsa, mag drive ug sikad ug manguha ug lamaw para lang maka earn ug money. My heart is full knowing nga naa si Lord nag-uban sa akoa since the beginning,” Jerson Aboabo said in Cebuano.
Filipino working students who graduated from college after years of dedication include Jonell Calisin, a former gasoline station attendant and factory worker who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Edwin Salvador, a former security guard who fulfilled his dream of becoming a teacher at 45 years old.
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