Where I am today could have been TOTALLY DIFFERENT had it not been for the Sisters of Mary School

I grew up in Quezon Province and farming was my family’s source of living. We did not starve as food and basic needs provided were just enough to get us by. Education was uncertain though. Everyone in the place was oriented to a culture of just finishing elementary to learn how to read and write then helping the parents on the field (tilling the land we did not own just like any other families did) or going to the city to hope for the best. But I was a bit different because I wanted to pursue high school and then hopefully to get to college to eventually, later on still, get one of my childhood dreams – to have my own TV set.
Elementary graduation was approaching. “How can I get to high school?” was the question that persistently occupied my mind. Shortly, it was answered. The Sisters of Mary School came to give an entrance exam in our town. Despite the distance from our barrio, my father accompanied me to the town proper and it got me through the exam and the interview. Yes! I was going to high school!!! A free high school education was waiting for me in Cavite. Yes, it was all that I knew and thought back then. But there was more to that … yes, more than anyone could expect.

About 10 of us from San Narciso, Quezon were brought to Silang, Cavite with only the shirts, shorts and slippers we were wearing. When we got to the Sisters of Mary compound, we were given new clothes, new slippers and shoes, school supplies. From Day 1 until our graduation day, December 1998, each day was filled with memories, excellent memories. The whole stay was full of fun, learning and developments – physical, mental and spiritual. There was never an idle or a dull moment for us. There was always something to do, something to keep us busy and something that we ought to do. And everything was free of charge because we had donors and benefactors who were unknown to us; yet, they were more than willing to share with us their blessings like we were of their own families.

Manufacturing companies, knowing the quality of education the Sisters of Mary School was giving, preferred to hire us, the would be-graduates. Few months before graduation, those who were willing to work and were qualified, were being given the chance at job interviews. I landed on a job which I had no idea about back then… the job of a CAD Operator.

In our senior year in the Sisters of Mary School, we had computer electronics – assembling the hardware aspect of the computer. We also had typing lessons; so, when you see me typing without looking at the keyboard and with my fingers on home keys, credit goes to our typing lessons: “The quick little brown fox jumps over the head of the lazy dog near the bank of the river”. This helps me a lot in my current job typing thousands of lines of codes for 11 years now and counting!

It was in January 1999 when I started working at SHI Designing & Manufacturing Inc. as an AutoCAD operator. Without the required skills and experience, we were trained for a year and made to join the engineers in doing real world projects. Being with professionals and having a very good and supportive employer, we had the chance to get to college – full time employee during the day, full time student at night! It was in 2004 when I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree from STI College Makati. And since then, I have been working as a software engineer.

Where I am today could have been TOTALLY DIFFERENT had it not been for the Sisters of Mary School. That said, “How can I just turn away? How can I just say, ‘the school can go on without me doing this little share’, How can I just forget everything and enjoy a private life without looking back how I got here? Some are even asking why I keep on promoting the Sisters of Mary School. Read my story and I’ll ask you how I cannot.

Junilo Pagobo
Batch 1999
Sisters of Mary School Boystown
Silang, Cavite

Find out about Fr. Al’s Children Foundation Inc here: http://facfi.org.ph/, visit the website of The Sisters of Mary Schools in the Philippines here: http://www.thesistersofmaryschools.edu.ph/