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By Crislyn Felisilda
Sponsored child Reil Gleo Seth, 16, was beaming on stage as his name was called as the batch salutatorian. A consistent honour student since Grade 1, Reil does all his best to reach his dreams. “Education is the foundation of success,” Reil says.
Reil, as he is fondly called by his mom and friends, hails from Sinacaban Misamis Occidental. His parents were separated when he was young so he lives with his mother, Leslie, 42. Being a sole parent, Leslie had difficulties raising Reil because of financial constraints. “I used to sell “kakanin” (local delicacies) in our neighborhood but it didn’t suffice to support the needs of my son,” Leslie remembers.
She strives to make ends meet by doing odd jobs such as laundry and working as the barangay (village) secretary. “I don’t get paid much, but I’m thankful I can put food on the table for my son,” she says.
As the only jewel of his mom, Reil studies hard in all subjects. “I always give my best in everything I do, no matter how challenging it may seem,” Reil says.
He’s been consistent of his achievements because he dreams of becoming a teacher someday. “I have full confidence of my capabilities,” he adds. “I dream high.”
Despite financial challenges, Reil maintained good study habits. He reviewed his notes at night and worked on his assignments and school projects religiously. “I may be poor but I considered myself blessed because I’ve graduated high school with flying colours,” Reil says.
Sponsored child Reil, 16, graduated as the class salutatorian in this batch. He got several awards like Best in Math, Best in English, Best in Science and Best in Scrabble. He dedicates these to his mom and Filipino sponsors.
Reil recounts how his mother would always take time out of his busy schedules to tutor him when he was younger. “I stopped tutoring when Reil stepped in Grade 3 so that he’ll become self-sufficient and he’ll enjoy her childhood too,” Leslie says.
Nonetheless, Leslie continues to encourage her to do his best. “I’m truly proud of my son,” Leslie says. “His hard work and perseverance definitely pay off.”
Despite his achievements, Reil never forgets to fend off academic pressure, help his mother and serve his community. He’s currently an active leader in World Vision Barangay Children’s Association. “My childhood can’t be just about academics. It’s important to balance school with God, family, friends, and fun. Otherwise, I’ll just end up burning out,” he says.
Reil helps his mom with the daily household chores like cooking rice, washing utensils, sweeping and scrubbing the floor.
Apart from being the class salutatorian, Reil also got several awards: Best in Math, Best in English, Best in Science and Best in Scrabble. He garnered many awards from different competitions in the entire province. “My achievements are very overwhelming,” Reil adds. “But my greatest achievement is how my mom became so proud of me.”
Reil draws inspiration from his mom.
Reil has many fond memories of how his mother was present at all his school activities and competitions. “I felt delighted. Mama climbed the stage with me to pin my medal,” Reil recounts.
Poverty also inspires the young achiever to do well in school. “Mama doesn’t make much from her unstable jobs so I’m glad I’m sponsored,” Reil shares.
Leslie didn’t need to worry about purchasing the things he needs for school because World Vision provides them. Reil receives a transportation allowance, school supplies, uniforms and bags from World Vision.
Every Christmas season, Reil has also has been receiving Noche Buena (a Christmas package) through World Vision. “World Vision inspires me to value education more. I pray that God will bless my sponsor more,” he adds.
In his graduation speech, Reil thanks his World Vision sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Agerico for supporting his studies. “My sponsors have also been my inspiration,” Reil says. “I want them to know that my achievements are theirs as well. I hope that they could help more poor Filipino children like me.”
Aside from sponsorship, Reil appreciates World Vision’s value formation program. Together with his mother, he attends spiritual nurture activities every month. He learned to pray often. On Sundays, he goes to church with his mom. “Prayer gives me hope that amid difficulties, God is in control,” he says.
Reil is excited to pursue his college education at Mindanao State University this June. “I’ll keep on dreaming big. Despite poverty I know things are possible,” the young achiever says.
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