Sheryl Pentiano, who grew up in a farmer’s family, describes her home life as simple and happy. Despite financial difficulties, her parents, Hilario Sr. and Jocelyn Pentiano of Tikey, Bokod, lavish her and her eight siblings with love and affection.
“My parents are jack-of-all-trades, and they did everything they could to meet our family’s basic needs. Despite having nine children, era ka untuwid ni obda say biyagen shakamin 9 ja san-aaki (they focused and kept working hard in order to support us nine siblings) they never complained. Instead, they showed their joy in having us,” said Sheryl.
This past June, Sheryl received a bachelor’s degree in Technical-Vocational Teacher Education from Benguet State University Bokod-Campus, graduating magna cum laude. She was part of the initial cohort of SNAP-Benguet’s Bridging Gaps in Higher Education through Tertiary Scholarships (BRIGHTS) program, and the first company scholar to graduate magna cum laude.
To assist her parents, she would often join them in their farming activities at the crack of dawn and report to her online classes after a day’s work. At a young age, she recognized the importance of hard work, perseverance, and determination.
Sheryl resolved to finish college strong when her father, Hilario, underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm. This motivated her to study harder to help secure her family’s future.
“I want to help my parents as well as the community. As a future teacher, I will equip students with the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge to succeed. I want to make a difference by inspiring the next generation,” Sheryl remarked.
She expressed gratitude to those who had helped her. She is grateful to her family, teachers, and scholarship sponsors. “BRIGHTS provided me spiritual, emotional, social, and financial support. I can’t imagine not having the scholarship. Baka en jemeg eran ubda tan mapedigat ni kwenta nu toy pengdaan sha ni usalen kod pan skuydak (They [parents] might keep working and would still have a hard time figuring out where to get what I will use to study).”
Sheryl plans to pursue the licensure examination for teachers (LET) and a master’s degree to build her skills and further deepen her knowledge.
Established in 2018, BRIGHTS is a scholarship initiative under SNAP’s corporate social responsibility program. It seeks to support deserving students with limited financial resources from the company’s immediate host communities. In addition to providing financial assistance, BRIGHTS aims to develop well-rounded leaders by encouraging scholars to participate in community and environmental outreach programs as well as leadership seminars.
SNAP-Benguet currently has 26 college scholars who receive funding to assist with tuition, school fees, and living or study expenses.