The daughter of kwek-kwek vendors graduated on top of her high school class in the upscale Miriam College in Quezon City.

The parents of Meriza Mamaril — who sell a street food delicacy called kwek-kwek for a living —  could not afford to send her to a private school, but their daughter managed to get into Miriam College through a scholarship.

“Alam ko na kaya ko naman po basta’t pagsusumikapan ko lang po,” Mamaril told GMA News reporter Victoria Tulad.

One of the challenges she faced while in school was fitting in.

Miriam College is an exclusive Catholic college for girls established by the Maryknoll sisters in 1926 and is one of the more popular schools in Metro Manila. It counts Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran, former senator Nikki Coseteng, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, among many others as its alumnae.

In 2015, the Commission on Higher Education ranked Miriam College as the 18th in the list of most expensive colleges, universities in the Philippines with its annual tuition ranging from P110,000 to P120,000.

Crowd-sourced data from a 2010 special report by GMA News Online said that tuition for a third year high school student at Miriam College was P91,000.
Although Miriam — formerly known as Maryknoll College — caters to the upscale market, it also offers various scholarships "to deserving students, in recognition of their hard work, perseverance, and passion for learning".

Mamaril was among those who managed to take a scholarship grant from the college.

“Noong una po, tingin ko po hindi ako nagfi-fit in. Siyempre, normal naman po siguro iyon. Noong una, nalulungkot ako kasi iniisip ko na wala akong kausap,” she said.

But hard work prevailed in the end.

“Masarap po sa pakiramdam na pinaghirapan mo iyong nakamit mo,” Mamaril said.

“Walang imposible po, basta may pagsisikap at determinasyon at paniniwala sa Panginoon,” her mother Leveriza added.

Source of inspiration

Another high school graduate in Miriam College also became a source of inspiration to her fellow students.

Despite her rare health condition, Karla Bautista managed to finish high school.

Bautista has hypermanganesemia with dystonia polycythemia and hepatic dysfunction that limit her movements and make it difficult for her to speak.

She was only in sixth grade when she acquired the disease, when excessive amounts of manganese were accumulates in the body.

“It was very difficult because there were some things that I wasn't able to do such as PE [Physical Education], dancing. Like sometimes, I couldn’t go to field trips and there were projects that I had a hard time doing,” she said.

In the end, Bautista was able to go up on stage and receive her diploma.

“No matter what you did, don't give up, just keep going, and you'll get there,” she said with a smile on her face. — Trisha Macas/APG, GMA News


In celebration of the 35 years of the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), UN Women convened a national consultation that highlighted the results of the collective work and lessons learned by women’s rights advocates in strengthening women’s human rights in line with the implementation of CEDAW. Attended by key representatives of Philippine government and civil society, the event was held last March 14 to 15, 2016 at Novotel Hotels and Resorts, Araneta Center.

Mel Reyes of WAGI presented their accomplishments in strengthening capacities for legislative advocacy, particularly for their networks in Mindanao. Dr. Jean Franco read the presentation of Prof. Aurora de Dios on advocating women’s human rights in the ASEAN. Rhodora Manga of CEDAW Youth MC Chapter and Lorebel Chua of Caraga State University shared their personal journeys in understanding and locating CEDAW in their lives.

Chua is one of the beneficiaries of WAGI’s Young Women Leadership Program.

In observance of the National Women’s Month, the Department of Justice through its Gender and Development Committee organized a seminar on responsible parenting last March 15, 2016 participated in by selected officials and employees of the various offices and divisions in the Department. 

Mel Reyes, Program coordinator of WAGI, who is also a member of the national gender resource pool of the Philippine Commission on Women, was the lead speaker. She focused her presentation on shared parenting which practically means parents having equal sharing in the domains of child raising, breadwinning, housework, and recreation.

The Child Development and Education Circle (CDEC) held several outreach programs throughout the school year in collaboration with local government units, non-government organizations, and other school organizations. These programs were implemented in line with the Circle’s goal of making its members aware of the important role of education in contributing to change in society. 
On November 21, 2015, CDEC partnered with Kythe-Ateneo for their I AM HOPE: Little Wonders event at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. The yearly event aims to promote hope and empowerment for patients with chronic illnesses.  CDEC Special Education Committee helped the children create bracelets and do marble paintings.

Another activity was held with Ateneo Tugon with CDE students facilitating art activities during  the “National Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week (NCSAAW)”. This was held last February 20, 2016 at the Ateneo de Manila Universtiy. 
On January 22, 2016, the members of CDEC were tapped by the Autism Society of the Philippines to participate in the first indigenous games for neuro-typical and SPED elementary and high school students titled “Artismo:Kulay at Saya ng Autismo”. This was part of the celebrations of the Philippine National Autism Consciousness week and was held at the Quezon Memorial Circle, People’s park.

The most recent outreach was held last  March 5, 2016. CDEC conducted another art and  play activity for children of Bahay Kalinga Shelter of Antipolo which was held at Miriam College’s SMT garden.   Bahay Kalinga is a temporary shelter and protective custody for children who are victims of abuse. It is managed by Local government unit of Antipolo.  

The different community outreach programs helped extend students’ learning and understanding of the needs of special children beyond the four walls of the classroom and at the same time  nurtured their love for teaching.  It also exposed them to the need for a more inclusive society where students with special needs can participate and  join recreational and sports activities with other neuro-typical children.

Felta, the exclusive distributor of Lego Education in the Philippines, and Miriam College recently sealed its partnership through the signing of a Deed of Donation. Under the agreement, Felta will donate Lego Kits; develop and furnish a laboratory dedicated to robotics, engineering, and coding at the Henry Sy, Sr. Innovation Center (HSSIC); and training MC faculty. 

Present at the signing were (from left): Melinda Agoncillo, Felta Sales Executive for Miriam College; Mylene Abiva, president and CEO of FELTA Multi Media, Inc.; Dr. Rosario O. Lapus, president of Miriam College; and Dr. Edizon Fermin, Basic Education Unit Director and High School Principal.

The Miriam College Child Study Center (MC-CSC) successfully staged its much-awaited annual musical play last March 9-11. Titled Haku, this year’s play focused on love for the environment and highlighted values such as cooperation and respect. Haku referred to the little people living in a village called Mayumi. A total of 461 pupils from First Step, Nursery, and Kindergarten gamely played the role of a Haku, each dressed in imaginative and colorful costumes. 

“Our preparations started as early as May of last year when we convened for scriptwriting workshops, and the children practiced from late January to early March. Everything from the script, songs, set designs, costumes, and choreography were creative masterpieces of the CSC teachers,” said Kindergarten teacher Jian Miranda. 

He added: “There was just so much joy and energy during the practices that the play took a life of its own. It was not just a play --it was a celebration of our community.”

Since 1982, the MC-CSC has staged an original, full-length Children’s musical play as a culminating activity for the school year. This is done in lieu of graduation rites, giving its students a unique avenue in which to appreciate the lessons and values learned throughout the school year.

The Women’s Peace Collective (WPC) through Miriam College-Women and Gender Institute (WAGI), organized its second consultation with Muslim women last March 11, 2016 titled, “A Workshop-Consultative Forum: The Role of Women in Peace and Security”. It was held at Jardin De La Vina, Zamboanga City, and was led by the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID). The consultation aimed to provide a gender lens in analyzing women’s role in promoting peace and security as active and empowered individuals. 
The speaker Dr. Jenny Lind Elmaco, a Social and Gender specialist/consultant of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shared that there are many definitions of peace, but ultimately they (Muslim women) are the ones who can identify what makes them feel safe, and that when they feel safe they are at peace. She stressed that it is important to voice out one’s experiences and to take part in the peace process because women are affected differently during armed conflicts.   
The second speaker, Hon. Parisya Taradji, former Undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), talked about the vulnerabilities women face during armed conflict. She asked the participants to share their current realities in their communities and to identify their roles in peace and security. One participant, an internally displaced person (IDP) leader, shared some of the realities she faces every day in her community. She talked about the alarming number of young women who sell their bodies to earn enough money for their food. Both speakers emphasized on the importance of gender equality and social justice as preconditions for sustainable peace. 
The consultation was attended by 36 women from Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Basilan, and Zamboanga coming from LGUs, Academe, and Civil Society. This event was made possible through WAGI's partnership with the Center for Legislative Development (CLD), and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID).
It is supported by the U.S Department of State through the Women’s Peace Collective Network in which MC-WAGI acts as the secretariat.

The Department of Communication celebrated its much-awaited COMM Week 2016 last Feb 29-March 7 titled  “Laud”. Making this year’s celebrations extra special was the department’s recognition as a Center of Development  by the Commission on Higher Education.

The week-long celebration showcased the talents and skills of students and alumni of the department. Talks, seminars, and booth games were calendared everyday with the help of the Communication Society and its sub-organizations.

GMA News TV anchor Jiggy Manicad graced the opening day and featured the Jiggy Manicad TV lectures Go to MC.  The succeeding days had various exciting activities lined-up. Among these were: showing of Sinag Maynila’s Imbisibol; seminar-workshop on Philippine literature and creative writing by MC’s Official student publication, Chi Rho; a talk on Costume, Design, Make-up for Theater by theater professionals Carlo Pagunaling and Jules Dela Paz; and several other talks on Travel blogging, publishing, and Managing your own channel.

The COMM week culminated with the very successful Bidyofestival where students’ films were screened for exhibition and competition.

MAE Guidance Counselor Angelbert Z. Hernandez, RGC, RPm attended the 12th National Convention of the Integrated Professional Counselors Association of the Philippines (IPCAP) held last March 9-11, 2016 at the Divine Word College of Legazpi at Legazpi City, Albay.

The convention theme was “21st Century Professional Counselors: Meeting the Challenges of ASEAN Integration.”  Among the topics facilitated by respected counseling professionals in the country were: Reconstructing Guidance Curriculum for K-12 by Dr. Renelyn B. Salcedo, RGC of First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities; Deconstructing the Guidance Counselors' Competencies for the Challenges of ASEAN Integration by Fr. Bernardo R. Collera, SVD, RGC of the Divine Word College of Legazpi, and  Developing 21st Century Skills Through Career Services by Dr. Lucila O. Bance, RGC, RP of the University of Santo Tomas. Plenary sessions tackled the impact of ASEAN Integration on the Guidance and Counseling Profession.

Dr. Rose Marie Salazar-Clemeña, RGC, RP, named the Most Outstanding Professional in the Field of Psychology for 2015 by the Professional Regulations Commission, gave the keynote address. 

Hernandez served as the master of ceremonies of the three-day event and moderated one of the parallel workshops.
He is  currently a member of the Board Secretariat of IPCAP.

The convention also coincided with the celebration of the 10th year founding anniversary of IPCAP.

The Women and Gender Institute (WAGI) of Miriam College celebrates women’s month through its annual “Salu-Salo Para sa mga Kababaihan” carrying the theme “Never Again: Martial Law on March 11, 2016. The event featured the book entitled “Women Against Marcos: Stories of Women Who Fought a Dictator” by Ms. Mila de Guzman. Three of the women (Ms. Mila Aguilar, Ms. Aida Santos, and Prof. Aurora de Dios) in the book were present to share their personal stories and struggles during the Marcos regime. It also featured the role played by Sr. Helen Graham of Maryknoll Sisters in the struggle against Martial law. 

Attended by around 100 participants from women NGOs and Miriam College faculty members and students, the forum aimed to educate the younger generation about the realities that transpired during Martial Law Period and be critical in choosing who to elect in the 2016 elections.

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