Former janitor and houseboy graduates summa cum laude

Due to poverty, Abzonie Reño had to find a job after high school graduation so he could help support his family. He tried everything from being a houseboy, janitor, security guard, and factory worker. But when he finally went back to school, he wowed everyone after he graduated summa cum laude!

Former janitor and houseboy graduates summa cum laude
Photo credit: TV Patrol / ABS-CBN News

Abzonie shared that it was back in 2008 when he graduated from high school. Instead of proceeding to college, he left his hometown of Butuan City for Manila to support his family. Through the many jobs he held, Abzonie was able to support his family but later realized that he could help them better if he had a higher-paying stable job which he could have after he earned a college degree.

Thus, at age 23, Abzonie went back home and enrolled at Caraga State University - Ampayon Butuan City campus, taking up the course of Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, Major in Math. He found a scholarship program to support his studies.

Feeling a bit self-conscious about his age at the time, he vowed to do his best because he was already old. This motivation helped him excel in his studies.

“Nakakahiya sobrang tanda ko na para maging first year college pa pero 'yun din po ang naging motivation ko,” Abzonie said.

He also focused on his goal of graduating from college to help bring his family out of poverty. After working hard for 4 years, he was finally able to graduate from college – and he did so with flying colors! He graduated summa cum laude, the first person to achieve such honor at the university.

“For seven years, it’s been my dream na makapag-aral ulit tapos siyempre po inspired po ako na galingan po siguro kasi matanda na ako,” Abzonie shared in his inspirational speech as valedictorian.

“Sobrang saya po proud sa sarili kasi 'yun nga hindi ako bumalik ng pag-aaral para mag-excel bumalik lang ako para makapagtapos lang po pero sobra-sobra pa po yung binigay ni Lord.”

Now that he graduated from college, Abzonie is preparing for the upcoming Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET).

Watch his inspiring story here:

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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