Got electronic reminders like the one below which we do not really need as we remember...always.
25th August, Dad’s birthday. He would have turned 76 today. Now he is at rest, eternally with the Lord. Every time I think of him, which is almost everyday, I remind myself that he is at rest, at peace, no longer troubled by this world, no longer in pain. That he is now enjoying the blessings of eternal life with the Almighty God.
To honour his memory, and to continue his passion for education and helping others, we have established the Judge A.K. Nietes, Sr. Memorial Scholarship to provide financial assistance to high school students from Anini-y and Tobias Fornier towns of Antique Province, Philippines. Dad spent almost 15 years as the municipal judge of these two towns during the 70s till the mid-80s. He valued education and considered it as the main legacy a parent can provide to his children, or a community can provide to the youth. He loved reading, writing, crossword puzzles, music and sports, and advocated trusting in the Lord, which he considered helpful in developing the whole being of a person to become a useful member of society. In choosing students from these two towns, and a school from one of them, we hope that we can share and spread God’s blessings to those from remote areas oftentimes not reached by the support enjoyed by schools in the capital and main towns.
Through the assistance of our friends, Bernie and Fe Salcedo, Diclum National High School in Tobias Fornier was identified as the first school to benefit from this endeavor. DNHS caters to students from both towns mentioned above. The first batch of five poor but deserving high school students have already been chosen, out of ten applicants. They were requested to submit an essay focusing on reasons for going to high school, factors influencing their decision, how they are using use or improving their talents and interests, and the impact of being a high school student to their community.
Each applicant is qualified but there is only budget for five this year. The main purpose of helping out in our own small way is to help reduce the drop-out rates of students in high school. It is fortunate that tuition fee in public high school education in the Philippines is free. However students are burdened with day to day expenses as they travel to school, purchase school supplies, as well as meet the requirements of their subjects i.e. school projects.
We hope that through this effort we can instill in the youth the importance of education, encourage the recipients to keep going to pursue their dreams, that poverty is no hindrance to getting a good education and excelling in what one is doing, and that despite the difficult situation in our place and in their homes, they are still special. May they learn to always thank God for His blessings, now and in the future, when they achieve their dreams for a better life for their families and their communities.
We also hope many will follow this example, as we ourselves are also following the examples of those who have done this before us, especially those who are now abroad as OFWs or immigrants, or even those who are still in the Philippines. Every one of them sees the need and lends a hand to help.