The Roces Family Around the World

Sunday, December 18, 2005

RITN: Migrant worker's daughter does her family proud

Roces in the News (RITN)

Every day I keep finding new things about the family name and it's legacy. It's nice to know that Lolo Rafael is still helping people help people.

Special Features (as of 1:40 AM)

Migrant worker’s daughter does her family proud



As a child Donna Marie Alcantara was no different from the others. In her grade school years, Donna, as her friends called her, usually spent her time playing without worrying about life. Back then she was studying in a private school in Baguio City. Her father worked as a laborer in a company and was earning enough for his family; her mother sold barbecue to augment the family income. Life seemed good.

When Donna reached Grade 6, her mother decided to work abroad as a housemaid. As with other children of OFWs, Donna found the separation difficult. She remembers enduring loneliness and the pang her mother’s absence.

"Although our financial situation improved a bit, it still could not replace having my mother around." Gifted with a maturity beyond her years, Donna decided to pour all her energies on her studies instead.

Despite the hard work of her mother and father, money was still hard to come by for the family. Classes were about to start when Donna was informed that the family could no longer shoulder some of her school expenses.

It was another storm that Donna had to weather.

"It was bad because my classmates would tease me about my ratty old uniforms and the fact that I always had to borrow school materials. I felt like I had no choice because we just didn’t have enough money to buy all those things."

When she was about to enter high school, she transferred from a private school to a public one.

Fearful for her future but determined to succeed, Donna worked hard until she found herself part of the Pathways to Higher Education Program in Saint Louis University in Baguio City.

Pathways to Higher Education is an innovative education program of Ateneo de Manila University, having regional offices in Baguio Marbel and Bulacan, that aims to help send academically gifted but marginalized public high-school students to college. Instead of giving doles and scholarships, Pathways offers impoverished high-school students academic enrichment classes, supplementary learning activities, and learning resource centers to enable them to study well and earn scholarships to the schools and courses of their choice. It opened a lot of doors for Donna and finally the Rafael Roces Memorial Scholarship Program provided her with a full scholarship.

Now a sophomore at Saint Louis University, Donna is well on her way toward fulfilling her dreams of providing a better future for her and her family.

"Someday I want to build up my own school, a school that can help marginalized students develop and enhance their talents, skills and abilities. I also dream of becoming a teacher who will serve the country and help bring out the best in students, a teacher who deals with people, touching life and letting them realize that everything happens for a reason."

Donna’s family is her source of inspiration. "My family is my source of happiness. In the end, I just want to give them a more comfortable life. It is true that I am going through a lot of trials in life; I still find myself praying to God asking for help, guidance and support. I cannot allow one difficulty to defeat me, to crush the dreams that years of hard work and dedication have built. I must hold on to my dreams and believe that I can do it."

Pathways to Higher Education has been helping young students like Donna chart their own courses for the future. With your help, more high-school and college students will have access to new experiences and opportunities that will make them better individuals and leaders. Get to know more about Pathways’ groundbreaking programs by calling 426-6001 local 4044-4049, by sending an e-mail to, or by logging on to or by texting 0920-950-8171.


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