Another episode of Eat Bulaga brought Cherie to tears. It was the episode where they announced the 30 EBest scholars for 2014. The winners came from all over the country, from the remote provinces to the shanties of Metro Manila.
Cherie was touched by the students' strength of character. One worked in building construction so he can finish high school. It is not legal to hire child labor, in construction worst of all. But if it would keep the boy in school then it is actually doing the boy a favor. That boy graduated with honors and moves forward to a college education courtesy of Eat Bulaga.
Another student walked kilometers to get to school each day. Another one did home work by candlelight. At least one worked as a housemaid to finance her high school education. These are students who accumulated medals and awards for academic excellence despite the poor living condition and no clear hope of getting to college while children of other nations are paid to stay in school as the following news article says.
By Katie Ash on October 20, 2008 12:18 PM
"Students in cash-incentive programs in both Washington and Chicago got paid last week, according to an AP article. It'll be awhile until we know whether or not these plans are actually working, although teachers in Washington say that they've seen less tardiness since the program has been in place."
Another article says:
“The Merit Award Bursary Program was started in 1996 by a group of Toronto residents. They felt it was important to support and encourage high school students to stay in school. The Merit Award Bursary Program provides bursaries to senior high school students as an incentive to stay in school, recognizing those who demonstrate a commitment to their school work, extra-curricular activities and communities.”
The 30 scholars of Eat Bulaga, most of whom are Valedictorians, half of whom are girls would rather starve than quit school. They earned their top grades without the best of school supplies, without owning a computer and not enough books but they make do by maybe using the public library, borrowing books from better situated classmates, managing their time between house chores, earning a living and school work. Cherie who never had to do without can’t imagine how these children can be so strong, so mature, resourceful and responsible.
These are the Filipinos of the future, the pride of their parents and someday the pride of the nation. Eat Bulaga can’t carry millions on its shoulders but right now 30 is greatly appreciated.