MCI produced another set of college graduates,
ready to wheel on real life

By: Jerwin J. Capuras

Picture of graduates The thought of finishing college, earning a degree and seeping into the idea of what to be a culmination of hard works toiled in the halls of tertiary education is wonderfully surreal. Last April 17, 2013, I graduated at the University of Mindanao. I was merely one of the 32 graduates from my college and from more than 1,200 from the entire university, one of the several hundred thousand in the entire country this year. Though I didn’t make to that roster of students with Latin honors distinction, but finishing college with a stellar performance amidst constraints had behooved, baffled and shook me to the core. It really did. I guess, one of the overarching fact that will challenge us, the newly graduates, is the fight against poverty. Poverty had driven us all at a dizzying pace. Moving out from it is not as easy as batting your eyelashes. It is not easy because we are still journeying towards good governance, a platform which we are hopeful in mounting against some leaders who were less introspective and inconsiderate towards making education a better agenda. One saddening reality as well is the current picture of our education system. Most of the schools fall already into the purview of commercialization. We look today and what do we see is the incessant increase of matriculation and tuition fees which deeply fractured every Filipino student whose road to academic degree is dependent only to the measly income coming from their parents. Some are forced to drop out from school because they cannot withstand anymore the whooping fees as the cost of college education continually rises.

On this instance, one organization had been a vessel in making the aspiration of the youths of getting college education a reality, the Minority Care International (MCI). MCI, a Texas-based non-profit organization that is operating in Davao for a good six years has been very instrumental in providing free education scholarship among the underprivileged, marginalized but deserving students who are cut-off from the opportunity of education due to poverty. Being one of the recipients of MCI’s mission was truly life-changing. MCI inspires us to pursue education in light to fight poverty through literacy. Throughout the years, the MCI has successfully produced college graduates under its scholarship program for the minorities and from its students’ association club. On those particular years, it continually sought to form, mold and shape these students as they take a wheel towards the real life. This year, the MCI yielded seven successful college graduates who proudly wore their academic robes during the 67^th Commencement Exercises at the University of Mindanao, which happened last April 17. As being one of its scholars, I am very grateful to have the distinct privilege of being molded in MCI while shaping and wounding down my academic aptitudes at the University.Despite the hotchpotch ramification brought about by poverty, I able to finished college through the generous help of MCI together with my other co-scholars. The scholarship program has given us not just four years of free education, but lifetime learning. The MCI scholarship had given us time to hope. It teaches us to pause and to reflect. It opened our eyes to the realities we have to encounter. It helped us to confront our fears, our yearnings and failures. The scholarship had become a vehicle for us to realize that the aphorism, poverty is not a hindrance to success is true in its realest sense. More importantly, the scholarship program teaches us to be ready to fight and face life’s real struggles.

MCI President, Dr. Aland D. Mizell enthuses that "everyone has a place in society. That part cannot be played by anybody else in the world. Being poor and underprivileged does not really matter. What matters is that we provide an opportunity for motivated young people to obtain education that will enable them to make the most of their individual gifts."

The MCI program is a conglomeration of students coming from diverse background where they found a community of sharing and building of oneself while honing their skills, talents and leadership that will push them through to become a socially responsible individual. The MCI provides an avenue which is conducive and where hope can grow and aspirations can be reached.Through the scholarship program, it fuelled the student’s passion to strive hard and to face the daunting task of changing the current status quo. As one its scholars, I have witnessed the holistic transformation MCI have given to its students. The MCI creates an avenue where the students can gain knowledge conduits to the real life experiences. It molded our minds, equipping us skills to discover knowledge on our own. The MCI scholarship is not a one-shot deal. Finishing college through the aid of the program doesn’t justify the means. Hence, it just opened another pore for knowledge that can be essentially integrated with life experiences that will propel students to do greatness. My entire stint at the MCI scholarship program had took 180 degree turn on my life. Who we are today is because of the many significant people we have met along the road. I believe that the scholarship program is not an end itself. It is just the beginning of facing the myriad of responsibilities in the real arena of life. The MCI slogan is "Gaining Life by giving it to others". I am confident that the learning we gained as new graduate will propel us to educate and influence others, inflaming their intellects and social awareness while harnessing their potential to boost up the ladder of knowledge.

Now, the MCI will be endorsing its new graduates into the battlefield. He or she is about to face many struggles, and the daunting task of giving back to his or her community will set in. For sure, he or she will be battling against countless things- against illiteracy and poverty, against social inequity and oppression, against indifference and misunderstanding. The new graduate need not to be afraid on these challenges, because all throughout the many years, the MCI had provide the good soil wherein they can plant the roots that will serve as a foundation in enduring the coming of new battles.

They need not to be afraid because MCI had made them all full geared and ready.

Jerwin J. Capuras, 21, finished BS Nursing at the University of Mindanao-Davao. He was a recipient of a full four year scholarship program of the Minority Care International Inc.