One of Miriam College Nuvali’s (MCN) noble goals when it was put up five years ago as a co-ed school is not just to prepare students for prestigious colleges but to live up to its purpose of “forming leaders in service.”
MCN 2017 alumnus Jonathan Earl Duane D. Carreos, now a college scholar of Bangkok University, has proven that a good educational foundation is crucial for any student to be able to spread his wings farther than the span he thought it could reach.
Honing great potential
Earl is one of MCN High School’s exceptional graduates who showed how good leadership can take you as far as high honors could. Earl and his family learned about MCN when they were looking for a Senior High School he could transfer in because his old school, also in Sta. Rosa Laguna, didn’t offer it. Earl’s family--perhaps like many others who have not heard of its main campus in Quezon City--thought Miriam College was owned by a senator. “When we saw posters for MCN, we thought it was founded by (the late) Sen. Miriam Santiago,” he shares. “We looked for a school that was near our place and decided to go for MCN. I really chose MCN because the administrators really welcomed us warmly,” he recalls.
The MCN faculty and administrators saw leadership potential in Earl even if he personally didn’t see it in himself--yet. “Growing up I wasn’t really confident about my abilities because I was bullied throughout elementary. I used to cry a lot when my parents would leave me in school. Mama’s boy po kasi ako. Throughout my high school I carried this,” he reveals. On top of dealing with this childhood trauma, Earl was a new kid on campus and while his grades were above average, he wasn’t exactly in the honors list? Didn’t being a leader come with high grades?
“In my previous school, there was a grade requirement when you wanted to run for the Student Council but in MCN I was allowed to run. I ran first as Class President and won and then I had to resign from the post to run for Student Council. I was hesitant at first because I’m new and people didn’t know me. I also had doubts that I might not be capable of doing it.” His fears were allayed when he won and from that moment on his skills for bigger leadership responsibilities were honed.
“Mrs. Tish Javier, our teacher in English, was most influential in developing my leadership potentials. Despite not having any experience for higher posts such as the Student Council, she was there to guide me in making proposals and in interacting with adults for organization tie-ups outside of the campus and for PTA projects,” Earl shares.
As he entered Senior High, Earl deepened his leadership skills and extracurricular involvement where he could. On top of his role as President, he was also part of the choir, mini theater club, and in between, played host in many programs of the school. It was under his leadership that the first prom outside the campus was held and the strict “claygo” or the Clean As You Go rule in the canteen was implemented.
Meant for leadership
MCN continued to see something special in Earl as he embraced his role as a leader in school so when a slot for a four-year ASEAN scholarship in Bangkok University (BU) was opened to MCN students, he was easily in the short list. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think that I would get chosen. I didn’t even have a concept of what was required to be a scholar much less studying in another country because I’ve never been to another country,” he says.
As it turns out, the courses offered under the scholarship was one big step closer to his dream. It was heavily designed for students who are into the arts. Earl had always wanted to get into acting and directing or be in the Digital Arts field.
“It’s actually a funny story because during my last year in SHS, my parents and I had it all planned out. I was going to pursue Nursing as my pre-med course in a school that was 5 minutes from our place but God led me to pursue the major that’s close to my heart which is Communication Arts,” Earl says, then adds in jests, “I thank God that medical courses are not offered in BU.”
BU, unlike other conventional schools in the Philippines or even in Thailand, focus less on classroom lectures and emphasize more on application. Classes are held only three times a week and the rest of the days are for students to apply for internships with the university’s partner companies like Uniqlo or set up their own start-ups.
Earl is currently one of five Miriam College scholars there pursuing different courses in the arts. They belong to a community of international students from all over the world. In an entirely new culture and environment, Earl has managed to shine among his peers and effortlessly get his teachers to notice his great leadership potential. Just in his first year at the University, he was already assigned as chairman of the ASEAN Student Community. “I fell in love with the concept of seeing the world by learning multiple cultures. I like going outside my bubble and exploring the world through conversations with people from other countries,” he shares.
What sets him apart
In time for the new school year, one of Earl’s professors tapped him to run as Head of the International Club, a position usually given to Thais. For this new and higher position, Earl will handle Presidents of 8-12 clubs in the university. While he accepted, the offer surprised him. “There were a lot of students who were really assertive and, I thought, if the administrators were going for someone international, they would most likely choose a westerner. But my professor said he saw my potential.”
Not satisfied with his Professor’s answer, Earl continued to wonder what was it that they see in him. Then the answer came from one of his mentors, who said, “You know what? You are good at communicating with other people and creating relationships but that’s not your edge. What sets you apart is the act of caring.”
Because of Earl’s impressive performance and leadership, he has been the gateway for BU administrators to open a new scholarship slot for a potential MCN student this year. “They are not obliging me to take care of the next scholar but I’m making it my responsibility,” he says, recalling how his ‘Ates’ or co-scholars from MC have been taking care of him the past year in Thailand.
Earl credits his MCN education for being able to hone and use his leadership skills in BU. “MCN played a tremendous part in preparing me for college. It taught me how to have a system and to see how things could be improved, how to say no to mediocrity and take every opportunity that comes my way because in the end it will benefit me and the people in my community,” he says, then wraps his answer with the most apt line: “As my fellow MC scholars would say, ‘once you become a graduate of Miriam College, you’re meant to be a leader.”