Student from a financially broken family inspires after graduating magna cum laude

Life might be difficult and often unfair, but there are many inspiring people who proved that no matter how difficult the circumstances, it is still possible to get out of that situation. Many poor people have sent themselves to school and later succeeded in life, thanks to hard work and determination.
Justin Jay Malarasta magna cum laude EARIST

As cliché as that situation might be, this happened to Justin Jay Malarasta and his family. The youngest of six siblings, Justin recently made his siblings proud as he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Class Valedictorian of BS Criminology, Batch 2019, at Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology – Cavite Campus.

Justin Jay Malarasta magna cum laude EARIST
Photo credit: Michael Babiera Malarasta / Facebook

In his Valedictory Address, Justin thanked his mother and older brothers for the support they gave throughout his life, revealing that they came from poor, broken family.

When he graduated from High School, he didn’t take entrance exams for college because his mother told him to give way and wait for his elder brother, Kuya Wendell, to graduate. At the time, Wendell was already in third year college, with the course of BS Criminology. Kuya Wendell also graduated Magna Cum Laude last March 2016. Due to their financial situation, Wendell stopped school for 3 years after High School graduation, but later found a job to support himself in college.

His other brother, Kuya John, had also quit school for 3 years before he was able to pursue his studies. John will be graduating from BS Information Technology in June 2019.

Justin Jay Malarasta magna cum laude EARIST
Photo credit: Michael Babiera Malarasta / Facebook

One of the reasons is that my mother is a single parent with no permanent job and she is incapable of supporting me financially to continue my studies. She is the one who supported my studies during elementary and high school by selling vegetables and other goods in our neighborhood to sustain a living.

My parents separated and my father left us during my childhood days and live with his second family. Concubinage ika nga sabi sa Article 334 of the Revised Penal Code during our discussion in Criminal Law Book 2. But despite on what he have done I do not have any ill-feelings towards him. I still love him because at the end of the day he is still my father. I just accepted the reality, moved on and continued the life that I have

From that situation I made a promise to myself that I will never do the same thing that my father have done because I knew the feeling of how it is to be part of a broken family not just broken but financially broken family.

It was their Kuya Mike, Michael Babiera Malarasta, who gave them good news in the second week of June 2015. He had just received his first month’s salary as nurse in Singapore – and decided that he would be the one to support his siblings’ studies. He was sent to school by their aunt, Judith Malarasta-Wright; it was his turn to give back to his younger brothers.

Justin Jay Malarasta magna cum laude EARIST
Justin with his brother Michael Malarasta | Photo credit: Michael Babiera Malarasta / Facebook

Although a late enrollee, Justin quickly caught up with his classmates. Just like his Kuya Wendell, he also took up Criminology.

But due to limited financial support that their eldest brother could afford to give the three younger brothers, Justin decided to do summer job every end of the school year.

“Every vacation nagsa summer job kami ng mga classmates ko, naexperienced na naming maging real state agent, stockman and production operator from different companies in Maguyam". From that, it made me realize na napakahirap palang maghanap at mag apply ng trabaho at dun ko rin narealized na di sa lahat ng pagkakataon kailangan yung mataas ang grades. Mas nangingibabaw pa rin dapat yung diskarte at kalakasan ng kalooban..

Pag nasa stage ka na ng pagtatrabaho marerealize mo na ‘mas masarap pala ang mag aral’, ‘Ang hirap pala kumita ng pera”. Dapat pala wag kong sayangin yung pagsuporta sakin ng mga magulang o guardian ko" and through that realization it motivated me to give my best in my studies in college.

By the way I would also like to recognize all working students who are here and also sa mga may anak or nagka anak na during college na ipinagpapatuloy parin ang pag aaral at sa lahat ng graduating students na despite from those odds and struggles look at you, wearing a black Toga and receiving your Diploma.You are now a Bachelor’s Degree Holder konti na lang malapit na nating makamit ang mga pangarap natin sa buhay lalo na sa ating mga magulang at sa mga mahal natin sa buhay.”

Fast forward to 2019, Justin graduates with flying colors as he topped the class and the entire batch.

Although there were other Magna Cum Laude candidates, he was the only one who qualified after final deliberation; the rest were Cum Laudes. Thus, he was the Batch 2019 Valedictorian of the graduates of EARIST Cavite Campus.

UPDATE: Justin Jay Malarasta is among the 19,191 passers of the November 2019 Criminology board exam. Congratulations!

Since he graduated in elementary and high school as an average and ordinary student with no awards or recognitions received, the award was something that was totally unexpected -- and this made his victory even sweeter.

In his speech, he gave words of encouragement to his fellow graduates. Not only did he detail his personal struggles and triumphs, he also told everyone that they were all equal.

“Today, our many hours of hard works have finally paid off. After our graduation, it will not be the end but it is just the beginning of the reality. It is not going to be easy because we all know that we will face a lot of challenges. We are going to face both failures and successes. But always remember that the word FAIL doesn’t mean failures at all. It means First Attempt in Learning.

Always remember that pain is just temporary and nothing terrible lasts forever. Just focus on your goals and be confident on yourself and keep being motivated. For me that's the ingredients of success. Grades [are] not the basis of Intelligence but rather a bonus and reward from God for your honesty, hard work and sacrifices.”

Justin Jay Malarasta magna cum laude EARIST
Justin with his family | Photo credit: Michael Babiera Malarasta / Facebook

“Lahat tayong mga estudyanteng magsisipagtapos ngayon ay pantay pantay. Never under estimate your capabilities, mababa man ang mga grades mo or wala ka mang award basta alam mo sa sarili mong pinaghirapan mo ang lahat ng yan at naging tapat ka sa sarili mo, you should be proud of yourself. We all deserved to be honored and recognized for the job well done.

Alam ko we have different unique qualities, nakakuha man ng mababang grades ang ilan sa atin or nakakaranas man ng mga failures sa buhay but always remember that never lose hope sapagkat hindi lang naman lagi nakabase sa grades or awards ang tagumpay sa araw na ito. Ang ating pagtatapos ay di nangangahulugan pagtatapos din ng ating tahakin sa buhay bagkus ito lamang ay simula ng panibagong yugto ng ating buhay.

Sabi nga ni Orlie Ferrer Jacob; “Huwag kang tumingin sa kung ano ang natapos mo. Tingnan mo kung ano ang kaya mong abutin at kung saan ka dadalhin ng iyong sipag, tiyaga at pagpupursige. Dahil ang totoong nagtatagumpay ay yaong mga taong hindi kailanman sumuko o bumitaw sa kahit anumang hamon ng buhay!”

Congratulations, Justin!

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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