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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – Caraga Regional Office conducted a virtual celebration on the morning of May 18, 2021, recognizing the success of its Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education – Tertiary Education Subsidy (UniFAST-TES) Grantees, Tulong-Dunong Program (TDP) Grantees, CHED Scholarship Program (CSP) Scholars, and K-12 Graduate Studies – Local Scholars (K-12 GS-LS). This was in conjunction with the 1st National Higher Education Day and CHED’s 27th Founding Anniversary.

The celebration was held at the CHEDRO-Caraga HEDC Building via ZOOM Cloud Meetings and streamed via Facebook Live. The program began with an opening message from Director IV, Dr. Leonida S. Calagui, where she congratulated the scholars and grantees for their success, and expressed excitement for the stories to be shared during the program.

“Today, we will be witnessing numerous success stories from the students and graduates as the living witness of the government’s effort to provide a better future for the youth and inspire CHED to move forward,” said Dr. Calagui.

Following the message, the virtual gathering then transitioned to the live video patch from CHED Central Office for the 1st National Higher Education Day Celebration. Messages of congratulations and well-wishes were given by various government officials, including Chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education Mark Go, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Senator Emmanuel Joel Jose Villanueva, House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Quinto Velasco, and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte.

After the live patch, the program moved on to the Presentation of Success Stories. Moderator Ms. Valerie Vismanos introduced these inspiring stories, grouped per scholarship or grant category. Presented were Dr. Erlin S. Rodas from Caraga State University-Cabadbaran Campus (CSU-CC), then Dr. Randy L. Robles from Philippine Normal University-Mindanao Campus (PNU-Mindanao), both grantees of the CHED K-12 GS-LS.

The second group of individuals who shared their success stories were the UniFAST-TES Grantees – Mhon Adrian Espinosa and Joeamar Garmacha, both from the Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture & Technology (ASSCAT). Following these two were Ledjielyn Piodo and Justine Suazo from Surigao Del Sur State University-Main Campus (SDSSU-Tandag City).

Afterwards, Kevin Wang, a CSP Grantee from the Holy Child Colleges of Butuan, and Honeyley Pelenio, a Study Now Pay Later Plan Grantee from the CSU-CC both shared their inspiring success stories.

All Grantees shared experiences of difficulty and adversity, and how they were able to overcome the challenges they faced through being able to receive financial support from these grants, and eventually began to realize their dreams as a result.