Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. – Napoleon Hill
Mr. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, honored guests, I am Rey Malazarte and I will share with you all about my reward.
We were raised by our parents who were tailors that worked very hard at our home. We are six children in my family. I was only 15 years old, third year high school student in a public school. At that time my fifth sibling was born. My sister, our eldest, was going to start her college study as well. This was when my mom told me that she cannot promise college education for me. At that age, I was not fully prepared to hear that. I had my hopes and dreams and going to college was one of them.
Thankfully, my sister was qualified as a student assistant and received full scholarship in tuition fees in college. This gave me a chance to pursue my education. My high school classmates got an applicaton form for me to take the entrance examination in TUP. They took care of my fare and together we tok the exam and I passed it. I explained to my mom the details of just paying 50% down on tuition fee amounting to PHP80 and she supported me. That payment was good only till’ Prelim, and you need to secure a permit to take Midterms and Final Exams. That’s another eighty pesos. I chose Drafting Technology, a two-year course, so that I could quickly finish my studies and get a job. This short term course was still not an easy task for me, knowing that we were constantly financially challenged, sometimes just having one meal a day. I still remember asking my mom for a one-way fare going to school most of my school days. Our youngest sibling even struggled to have his milk during his infancy. I’m not talking about powdered milk but condensed milk (Carnation or Alaska). Since no milk was available, he settled for “Am”. Am or rice syrup is what you get when you put extra water when cooking rice.
To stay in college, I tired everything I know I am capable of just to earn money for my schooling needs. I sold Magnolia products ice cream; I made paper bags out of used Yellow Pages and sold them at the market. I even worked in printing shops where I folded prescription papers, the ones you see inside a medicine box. I learned to use my talent in making streamers made of canvass with a paintbrush since tarpaulin back then was still not practiced.
That was how I completed my two-year course, then I got a job just right after my graduation.After working for two years, I enrolled again to take up BS Architecture, a five-year course but this time as a working student. On my third year, I faced another challenge, my major subjects were no longer offered during Saturdays so I was forced to stop my studies. 25-year-old undergraduate but I still managed to get married. Two years went by, and I had the opportunity to have a permanent position in Shell. No more Saturday work and a stable job? Back to school again for me, this time as a full time student with 21 to 25 units per Semester and a full time employee at Shell. How did I manage that? My class starts at 5:00pm and ends at 9:15pm Monday to Friday while whole day during Saturdays.. I even asked my boss to change my workshift from 8-5pm to 7-4pm. If there are classes that start at 3pm, I paid those times by going back to the office to complete my 8 hours.To make it more challenging, I also have a growing family. That was my lifestyle for four years. Finally, I graduated and received my diploma at the age of 31 with three kids.
All those experiences I simply cannot hide with my kids. All four of them grew strong with perseverance and full understanding about the value of hard work.
My eldest son graduated in De LaSalle University – Main, three years ago. he graduated as a Salutatorian during High School. My two other kids are in their 2nd and 3rd year in college; one in Mapua taking up AB Psychology and the other in PWU taking up Music Education. My older daughter received scholarships for two years, Our youngest daughter is in her 8th grade and currently top 3 in her batch.
The have experienced and witnessed my passion and dedication to finish my studies along with all those obstacles. How I strive and not willing to quit, they inherited them all. This is the legacy that my kids are living right now and I am very proud of them.
I am Rey Malazarte and that is my REWARD. Mr. Toastmaster.