Yaya graduates cum laude with the support of family she works for

MANILA, Philippines - Lucille Guiquin was able to finish college and graduate with flying colors despite juggling school work and tasks as a household helper for the Benzon family. Over the weekend, her graduation photos quickly went viral, giving inspiration to netizens.

Lucille, who came all the way from Negros Occidental, started working for the Benzons as a yaya in 2006 after her high school graduation. Roland Benzon, the head of the family, noticed how responsible and focused Lucille was when it comes to work.

“One of her admirable qualities is her ability to focus. She did not twiddle with her phone while caring for our son. Her attention was undivided,” Roland told Rappler.

Yaya graduates cum laude with the support of family she works for
But one event convinced the Benzons that Lucille was deserving to finish her education. It was when Roland saw how Guiquin took initiative to make a reviewer for his son Joshua, who was 6 years old at that time.

“I looked at the reviewer and it was well-made – like a teacher made it. I was impressed that she had read the textbook and [made] a sample exam all on her own,” Roland recounted.
It didn’t take long before the Benzons also discovered that Lucille finished as the valedictorian of her public high school in Bacolod. Seeing that Lucille has all the potential but had no means to finance her undergraduate studies, Roland promised to send her to college after Josh turns 10.

Yaya graduates cum laude with the support of family she works for
PHOTO CREDIT: Lucille Guiquin

Back to School

Lucille was already 25 when she had the opportunity to go to college. This meant that almost a decade has already passed since she finished high school. Realizing that she can have difficulty learning again, Lucille decided to review again before returning to college.

But Lucille’s road to success wasn’t that easy as she had to adjust her work and school hours. In time, she was able to form a routine where she would wake up early to cook for Joshua and help him prepare for school. After school, she comes home to help with the household chores then does her homework and school reports.

“Minsan po nagkakasabay ang aming exams ng alaga ko. Ginagawa po namin, siya muna rereview ko tapos ako naman," Lucille shared.

Lucille also helped the Benzons when their business wasn’t doing well. Instead of solely relying on the family’s financial support for her education, Lucille managed to become part of the Dean’s List in order to get a 25% discount on her tuition fee. She successfully made it to the Dean’s list for four semesters.

Realizing Her Dreams

On Saturday, May 27, Lucille graduated cum laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from STI College in Cubao. Her aunt and the Benzons were there to witness her get the diploma she worked hard for.

Speaking to Rappler, Lucille said: “Proud din po ako sa sarili ko dahil nakaya ko lahat-lahat ng mga challenges sa aking buhay kahit na malayo po ako sa aking parents at mga kamag-anak, na nakaya ko pagsabayin ang pag-aaral ko at pagtatrabaho.”

--Mini, The Summit Express

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