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Marcellano is UPVTC’s class valedictorian

The story of UP students coming from a life of poverty and making something of themselves is a narrative that continues to inspire and awe. One never gets tired of being told about it.

Such is the story of Jia P. Marcellano, a BS Biology graduate who is graduating at the top of Class 2016 of the UPV Tacloban College, magna cum laude with a GWA of 1.392.

Marcellano was born to a humble family whose father is a tricycle driver and a housewife for a mother. She said that they live in a house built on a land that is not theirs.

“My father, Cornelio Marcellano, works hard to provide for us while my mother, Violeta Marcellano, plays the invaluable role of being a housekeeper. My sister Ethel and I grew up in a place where sung lullabies lured us to sleep instead of television,” she recalled.

Marcellano finished her elementary education at Sta. Ana Elementary School, La Paz, Leyte as class valedictorian. She earned her secondary education at Burauen Comprehensive National High school, Burauen, Leyte and achieved the highest honors.

“I entered UP Tacloban full of hope and determination, but not full of money. I enrolled in BS Biology, armed not with the dream of becoming a doctor but with a scholarship from DOST and the desire to learn about natural sciences. I faced the challenges of college life armed with the knowledge that in order to maintain my scholarship, I have to weather some storms and burn hundreds of midnight candles. That I had to weather a literal storm named Yolanda was something that I was never prepared for but survived,” she narrated.

“Factionless” was how Marcellano is viewed herself, a term used to describe students who are not active in any student organizations aside from academic and scholarship based groups.

“I was a scholar, in the truest sense of the word. I enjoy doing research and presenting them to various audiences because there is nothing more fulfilling than sharing ideas and innovations,” she pointed out.

Although she has witnessed the fight for freedom and rights in the university requiring some students to be politically engaged, she said that for people such as herself, “the willingness to question conventional opinions and to pursue academic excellence in order to help other people also define a fight for the same cause.”

“They say that good things happen to those who dream and to those who work for their dreams. However, I was not born a dreamer. I could not afford the luxury of dreaming, I only seized moments and conquered them,” she said of herself.

Lastly, Marcellano said that she is leaving the university with plans of pursuing higher education and research in microbiology.

“I would like to create a trail and be a torchlight for those students who are still looking for their way for I too was once lost as well. We should continuously seek freedom through our actions, through our academic endeavors and through the various questions we ask because knowledge is power.” (With sources from Jia P. Marcellano)

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