Some 148 Valenzuelano youth hold high hopes for a better future ahead as they finally sign contracts as blessed recipients of the city’s Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship Program.
They comprise the biggest batch of grantees in history of the program. After a rigid evaluation these incoming college freshmen were the lucky ones to make it to the elite Batch 17 out of the total of 529 applicants.
The scholarship, which has been running for 17 years now, was established to ensure a brighter future for the Valenzuelano youth who are marginalized but intellectually gifted and of good moral character. A qualifying exam is being conducted yearly which is open only to students whose family’s total annual gross income does not exceed PhP 120,000 as attested by the Income Tax Return (ITR).
By virtue of Municipal Council Ordinance No. 12 Series of 1995, otherwise known as “Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship Program,” as amended by City Ordinance No. 37 Series of 2009, under which, the grantee is entitled to a financial assistance of PhP 30,000 annually or PhP 15,000 per semester for tuition and other school fees.
The financial status of the applicants are being checked and assessed by the staff of City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO). Since the scholarship is in a form of a financial grant which may not be enough to cover all school expenses, depending on where the student is enrolled at, the grantee must at least have the capacity to shoulder the residual amount. They also must not be a grantee of another scholarship program.
City Mayor WIN Gatchalian’s aim is to accommodate more students in order to give them the gift of education. “That is why from 70 new recipients last year which was already raised from 40 recipients in 2010, the number of new grantees this year was raised to more than a hundred percent, which is 148.
Contrary to the common belief that the scholarship is available only to enrolling PLV students, Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship Program Committee members and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) President Dr. Nedeña C. Torralba said grantees can enroll at any university or college of their choice. “They can also choose any course they want. They just have to be residents of the city for the past four years as verified by the barangay and school records, and a graduate of a Valenzuela City public or private high school with a general weighted average grade of 85% and above.”
Grantees face a tough but exciting college life in exchange of the prestige of becoming one of the Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholars. They are required to maintain a grade of not lower than 2.25, and a general average of 2.00 per semester until they graduate, or they will lose the scholarship. “For this reason, majority of them become Dean’s Lister and even graduate with honors,” Dr. Torralba added.
Two of them spoke before the batch 17 grantees during the orientation and signing of contracts held recently at the Valenzuela City Social Hall Building.
“It was a great privilege being one of the grantees that helped me in the realization of my aim to pursue college education. My deepest gratitude to the City Government of Valenzuela and Mayor WIN for having this kind of program that gives hope to the young Valenzuelanos,” Batch 11’s Robert Martin said, a proud Magna Cum Laude from Pamantasang Lungsod ng Valenzuela with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education.
A Psychology major from Our Lady of Fatima University who graduated Magna Cum Laude, Batch 13’s April C. Alunan said that “being one of the Dr. Pio Valenzuela Scholarship grantees has been such a great help for finishing her degree in time. The program helped me reach what I aspire for -- a better future and a chance to serve our country.”
Batch 17, as represented by Mae Criste Fajiculay, on the other hand, pledged to properly and carefully spend the financial grant on tuition fee and other school expenses, and that they will strive harder to study and finish their chosen course.