A DAY IN THE life of a Social, Educational and Environmental Development (SEED) Academy scholar seems never-ending. Most of these scholars are working students — usually starting their day at 6 a.m., before proceeding to the rest of the day at the office until 4:30 p.m.
By then they only have 30 minutes to prepare for their next schedule — a five-hour night school under SEED Academy, one of Southville International School and College’s CSR programs. SEED is a premium educational institution that offers excellent two-year information technology courses to less-privileged students with academic potential.
SEED usually becomes the bridge that offers these individuals the chance to finish their education, and change the course of their lives.
Despite the grueling schedule however, it is inspiring to see that most of the students under this program continue to be resilient and positive — with everyone doing their best to finish the course, and start proving that they deserve to be a SEED scholar.
Working since high school
One of these students is 18-year old Mark Jayven Poblete, the fourth in a brood of six. Hailing from Quezon, Jayven, now a first-year Information System Technology student of SEED, has always been a scholar since high school.
He was planning to discontinue his education and work after graduating high school so he can help his father take care of their family. But the nuns at the Sisters of Mary School in Cavite encouraged him to apply for a scholarship in SEED instead. Jayven saw this as a rare opportunity to finish his school
“Finishing college wasn’t a priority. I already wanted to work after high school, but SEED changed all that. Now I can do both.”
Jayven works in Southville’s public relations office as a paid intern, and the money he earns gets used for his personal needs. His work and studies (he is a dean’s lister), has inspired his younger brother to tread the same path as him, and Jayven is hopeful that he will be joined in the program in the future.
Surprisingly, Jayven also sees his jampack schedule as a normal part of his life.
“Being a working student is not new to me. I’ve been a scholar back in high school and I was also working then in the principal’s office. When I got into SEED, I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the load. For me, this is something important that I should be able to accomplish.”
The same can’t be said for 20-year old Information System Management sophomore Dan Famador. The student admitted he had a hard time adjusting to his schedule for the first two months of his training under SEED.
“It was really difficult at first, but after seeing the training that we receive both in the office as paid interns, to our evening classes, I was able to adjust my mindset. I knew that SEED is a great training ground for students like me who wish to have a better future.”
Dan shared that the best part of being with the program, are the trainings and seminars he gets from his job at the marketing department.
“It’s the first time that I was exposed to all these, but SEED made sure that we are ready to handle these challenges. In my morning job, wherein I am sometimes sent to other institutions to meet with other people and other departments, I was groomed and trained to know what to do. I wouldn’t have gotten this much training if I wasn’t part of the program.
For Dan, SEED academy is molding him for a better future ahead, and he hopes to give back to the community that’s helping him by vowing to work in Southville after graduation.
Baptism of fire
Lea Mariquina, a SEED Alumni, and currently Southville’s MIS Manager, said that she owes her success to the program.
“I was offered other scholarships after I graduated high school, but I’m really happy I chose SEED because I got to work in the morning and study at night. This for me is a better experience of learning because we get to apply what we learned in the night school, to our job the next day,” she said.
During her first two years in SEED, Lea also worked as student assistant to the office of Southville’s president. Here, she relayed that her interpersonal skills were developed because she had to interact with other individuals from other departments.
“I was usually assigned tasks that I don’t know how to complete yet so I had to learn and train myself. This is the beauty of SEED because you learn during the process and take on new tasks as challenges that will hone who you are.” Lea relates that during her second year, she was assigned to create a website for Southville. Since she didn’t know how to do it, she pushed herself to research online and learn IT basics and formulas. The result?
Lea was able to develop the international school’s first running website which they continuously improve, and use upto now.
“That was a life-changing task. It proves that because you’re s student aid, they would treat you differently. They didn’t. I was treated like a regular employee, and give you big responsibilities. They do this at the same time offer unwavering support for you to finish the task. That’s what I love most about SEED and Southville. They always think that there’s more to learn, so they give you all these responsibilities. Because of this, I was able to develop myself as a better employee and now I get promoted every year, and still we feel the school’s support behind us.”
For some SEED scholars, they found success outside the school after graduation, but they always say that they owe what they have now because of the program.
“SEED has enriched my life in many ways. It has provided me with the necessary tools to enhance my skills more, taught me valuable knowledge about this technology and concepts in general that enables me to become more competitive and successful in life,” said Remwil Bahinting, a technical support associate for a BPO company.
“SEED changed my entire life, the way I think, the way I react and the way I deal with other people. It helped me build my self confidence to face different kinds of individuals. It taught me how to be professional and do the right thing. Seed gave me an opportunity to learn how international company works and provide international level of learning that helps me to achieve my goals.”
Edgar Rebellon, on the other hand, the managing head of Tropical Palms Inc., shared that he considers himself like a plant grown from seed and became a young tree.
“Being part of SEED Academy is one of the most important chapters in my life. When I graduated in High School, I almost lost hope because I know, even without asking my parents, they can no longer send me to college. The opportunity that SEED Academy gave me is life changing. A chance that will be valued forever. I must say that SEED Academy did its best to hone my ability, developed my character and has provided all the opportunity to grow professionally. It even helped me improve my confidence in dealing with difficult situation as the institution prepared us for our career in the future. That is why I am very proud because I am part of the institution that values continuous learning and improvement, an institution that cares for the goals and achievements of their students.”
Edgar shared that the most unforgettable and meaningful experience he had in SEED Academy was during classes wherein they did highly technical works together with their instructors. During this time, he said that he really felt their support because of the high level of value and excellent instructions their teachers provide. “It’s just amazing to see and feel their commitment believing that we can do better.”
Jay-Ar Condino, another alumni, attributes his current success with SEED. He is now a Publications and Research Associate for Southville, and works as Coordinator and Part-time Faculty for SEED Academy.
“SEED Academy will always have a special place in my heart. It is one of the best things that I will ever be grateful for. The school became my stepping stone toward achieving one of my dreams which was to finish education despite of so many challenges and that includes financial matters. It taught and made me realized so many things in life. One realization is that no matter what you’re going through, once you have a vision of your dreams, you have a target success, you believe in yourself, you always keep fighting, nothing can stop you from being great.”