2016 Bar topnotcher encourages public school students to dream big


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MANILA, Philippines - Besting over 6,000 examinees in the 2016 bar examinations, Karen Mae Calam of the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu emerged as the bar topnotcher with a grade of 89.05%.

2016 Bar topnotcher Karen Mae Calam
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Karen Mae Calam
Calam, who grew up far from the city in Kalilangan, Bukidnon, hopes to inspire people, particularly those from small towns and students from public schools to dream big.

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According to Calam, coming from a simple family didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. Her sister also managed to become a doctor.


2016 Bar topnotcher Karen Mae Calam
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Karen Mae Calam
“We’re from a simple family. I’m from Kalilangan, Bukidnon. It’s far from the city. In a way, people there are afraid to dream, if it’s too big,” Calam told Rappler.

The new barrister also hopes to motivate students studying in public schools, whether they aspire to be a lawyer or not, to never doubt themselves.

2016 Bar topnotcher Karen Mae Calam
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Karen Mae Calam
"I want to be an inspiration to all those studying in public schools. It’s really not impossible for you to have this, [something] as big as this. So I hope I’ll be an inspiration not just to those who want to become a lawyer but even those who don’t want to be lawyers: Never doubt yourself,” Calam said.

Currently working at SGV and Company, Calam attributes her success to her school, the USC as well as the support of her loved ones.

Although Calam admitted that she worked hard and prayed for her dream to come true, she revealed that she didn’t expect to top the bar examinations, which is considered the toughest professional examination in the Philippines.

“I really didn’t expect na Top 1 talaga, although you pray for it from God. You pray for it as early as law school, but I did not expect that God will be very good and merciful and amazing. This is beyond what I prayed for talaga from Him,” Calam said.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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