Steppingstone to a dream

On a street in Quezon City, Celvestre looks sharp in his graduation attire. He is the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Scholarship helped Unbound alum attain education

A college degree is an impressive accomplishment for any young person, but especially so for someone who’s had to overcome poverty.

Celvestre, 20, is the first person in his family to graduate from college. The youngest child in a large family from Quezon City, Philippines, throughout his life he’d known economic hardship and a lack of stability in his family’s living situation.

From the time he was 12 until May of this year, he was sponsored through Unbound. Because he was bright, industrious and showed leadership potential, he also received an Unbound scholarship. That support, combined with a university scholarship for academic excellence, helped Celvestre achieve a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

I feel proud of myself because even if we were poor and we really couldn’t afford to study in college, I was able to finish it. I’m so thankful that Unbound was there to support and provide [for my] needs, especially in terms of school fees.

Celvestre crosses a Quezon City street on route to his school. The 45-minute commute begins with a hike from home to the highway, followed by a ride on jeepney, and then a bus ride to the university.

Embracing a community of support

Celvestre — whose name comes from the combination of the names of his father, Celso, and his mother, Estrelita — credits his participation in Unbound with providing added stability and inspiration to help him achieve his educational goal.

“I waited for almost a year to have a sponsor,” he said. “Then my mother and I wrote our first letter, the welcome letter. I remember when I first received a letter from my sponsor. When I opened it, there were a lot of letters because their children also wrote letters to me. I was so happy reading those letters.”

As great a blessing as sponsorship was for Celvestre, that blessing was multiplied through his participation in the Unbound scholarship program. Scholars are students recognized for not only their academic accomplishments and potential, but also for a commitment to serving their communities.

“It [scholarship] did not only help me financially,” Celvestre said, “it also boosted my confidence and moral values as a person, my personality as a whole. Those things and moral lessons that weren’t taught in school I’ve learned through my Unbound family.

“I always exceeded the number of [community service] hours that a scholar must accomplish per semester because I really enjoyed all our responsibilities in Unbound as a scholar. I can say that I really enjoyed our summer activities, our Christmas parties and all those gatherings, trainings and seminars where I had the chance to meet other people.”

Helping students look toward the future

Wilson Tuberra, a staff member working with scholarship students in the Unbound program in Quezon, encourages young people like Celvestre to remain resilient when faced with obstacles.

“Success is a continuous process,” Tuberra said. “You will definitely experience failure sometimes but don’t give up. Always think of the people who helped you and use them as your inspiration to persevere and pursue your dream career.”

Sporting his favorite brown backpack, Celvestre makes his way through the Quezon City traffic on the way to his school and, he hopes, a bright future.

An investment in the future

As Celvestre’s story illustrates, Unbound scholarships provide promising students with much needed support that helps them realize their potential and forge their own paths toward a secure future. Learn more about how the scholarship program is making a positive impact on the lives of deserving students around the world.