A Pinay island girl was accepted into 10 universities in the United States and even received an offer of scholarship worth P56 million.
The journey to higher education in the United States is often seen as a golden opportunity, representing the pursuit of the American dream. While many Filipinos wish to accomplish this ambition, financial constraints frequently prevent them from doing so.
Despite these obstacles, a select few manage to break through and open doors to a brighter future. A young Pinay defied all odds and prove that she can reach her goal.
Meet Simone Gabrielle Balaba, a senior student at the Science and Technology Education Center (STEC) High School in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines who referred herself as an “island girl”.
Balaba defied odds and secured her place in not just one, but ten prestigious universities in the United States although she is under the Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) strand.
Simone’s achievement extends beyond mere acceptance letters; she has been awarded scholarships that collectively amount to P56 million. Her desire to study abroad was fueled by her sister’s experiences and aspiration.
However, despite the financial assistance from US colleges and universities, she still needs aid for her other expenses such as textbooks, transportation, and board and lodging. The student still seeks support from kind-hearted netizens.
Undeterred by the preference for STEM or business backgrounds among many US institutions, she proves determination and unwavering effort helped her to reach her dream.
“AN ISLAND GIRL’S JOURNEY TO US COLLEGE APPLICATIONS”
I dreamed, I applied, and I passed.
Usually, schools in the US only accept those with a STEM or business background or those in International Schools with IB programs. My school is a small public school in a small city, and my dreams of studying abroad seemed too far-fetched for a student that not only was not in a STEM-centered and business class but was neither too involved in Science and Mathematics.
I am not looking down at myself, but simply stating the truth about the scarce opportunities students like me have. Yes, hard work can get you anywhere, but with such few opportunities it is difficult to have that driving force.
My dream to study abroad was growing larger day by day, as my sister told me how great it was and how her scope of opportunities was so wide. I wanted to study abroad, it was the first time I felt that I wanted something so badly.
My parents told me to give it a try, but they told me that nothing was certain. Education is expensive, especially in the US, I know this as my sister who is studying abroad has told me the expenses and the costs. My family is not rich financially and I know that, too. There was, however, no harm in trying.
It was a difficult process and an overwhelming journey. Deadlines were fast approaching, and little by little I started to lose hope. Faced with the realities of the difficulties in my family’s financial state and how I probably wasn’t the brightest student out there.
However, I’m glad that I was stubborn, stubborn enough to hold on to that big unreachable star I call my dream.
After all the waiting and anticipation, I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I reflect on my recent admissions to ten (10) fantastic US colleges.
This incredible opportunity is a testament to the hard work and support of so many people in my life, and I am truly humbled by the faith that these colleges have placed in me.
Thank you to my family for being so supportive. To my mom and dad for always pushing me to do greater things. To my sister for guiding me and helping me along the way. Despite her busy schedule she always made time for me and I appreciate all she has done for me. To Gagi, for always encouraging me to never give up on my dreams and for being my inspiration to work harder.
To my teachers, Maam Zapanta and Maam Sullano, thank you for never losing faith in what I can do, and for being so supportive and understanding. It was a great feeling, to see how proud you both were of me. I am grateful to have such supportive teachers like you.
To our school guidance counselor, Maam Dominguito, thank you for being understanding despite the confusing and difficult process and task at hand. The US college application process is not easy, and I’m grateful that you continued to go through it all to aid me.
To STEC, my school since I was in Preparatory. Thank you for molding me and for providing a holistic education. Being a STECian is not a walk in the park but I am eternally grateful for all of these 13 years that I am a student of this school. Thank you for being an institute I am proud to call my second home and for all my wonderful teachers who have become my second parents.
Thank you to all those who encouraged me to never give up on myself and my dreams. I would’ve never gotten to this point if it weren’t for all your encouragement and trust.
As I prepare for this exciting next chapter in my education, I am also keenly aware of the financial realities that come with attending college. While I am fortunate to have received generous scholarships and financial aid packages (more than PHP 56 Million), there are still other expenses such as textbooks, room and board, and transportation that will require additional support.
Therefore, I am actively seeking sponsors and benefactors who may be willing to help fund these necessary expenses. Any support that I receive will be a tremendous help in allowing me to fully engage in my college experience and pursue my academic goals with focus and determination.
Again, let me express my deepest appreciation for those who have supported me thus far, and extend an invitation to anyone who may be interested in contributing to my journey. Your generosity will not only benefit me but also enable me to pay it forward and make a positive impact in my community and beyond.
I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead and I am forever thankful to God for bestowing me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”