“There’s no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.” FEED Scholar Jay-Ann Graduates as First Degree Holder in Family

12 July 2023, San Juan, La Union.   “There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs,” Jay-Ann quoted motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, when we asked her what made her stick it through all these years, away from her family in Samar and other parts of the country, alone as a FEED scholar in La Union province st.starting as a Senior High student in La Union High School 8 years ago, to now becoming the first graduate degree holder in her family (Bachelors of Arts in Education from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in San Fernando City, La Union Batch 2023)

“I have climbed many stairs to reach this success. Only my two feet are witnesses. But of course there is the saying that “No man is an island”, we are not meant to be alone in life, there are people who help you along the journey.” -Jay-Ann Picardal, FEED Scholar (2016-2023)

A FEED Scholar’s Story, by Jay-Ann Picardal

When I was young, I really dreamed of completing my education up to College/University. Because I wanted to break the cycle in our family – that no one had finished college yet. As early as I can remember, I promised myself that I would break through that “glass ceiling” people kept talking about as being unreachable.  Even if it seemed impossible, due to my  family’s hardships in Samar, where jobs at that time were infrequent.

When I was in Elementary School, my father used to bring me to school and back home using his little bike; the same one he used to sell crackers and noodles in our town.  It made me work harder, and I passed Elementary with honors. Back then, I was late to enroll in Junior High, so, I worked as early as 8 years old for me to be able to continue my studies. I sold fish, ice and ice candy, for example, from our home or on the streets, and eventually also completed Junior High School with awards.

Preparing myself for Senior High, I had a hard time thinking about where I could get additional financial support, as my father’s income was barely enough to support my family’s living needs. My mother, as a housewife was still caring for my three younger siblings at the time, so I had to find a way to cover my schooling. There were no other state scholarships left, in the LGU Scholarships program, but I was driven to find a way as I never lost sight of my dream of becoming a teacher.  That’s when my older brother Jhoman asked me if I wanted to consider a FEED scholarship, but I would have had to move from Samar to La Union, very far from home and family; where Jhoman was already working as a handyman in the home of FEED’s Founder Ofelia Bakker-Manankil.

I cried every night at the idea of being far from home in unknown territory, but when I submitted my application requirements to FEED, including a motivation letter as to why I was deserving to be a part of the program, I received quick notice that I would become one of FEED’s grantees, so I packed up all my things and headed up North.

After canvassing several High Schools, I enrolled as a Senior in La Union High in 2016. My schedule was packed, with early mornings and late nights spent studying and working at the same time. Being a scholar meant embracing the constant pursuit of knowledge, and I approached each day with enthusiasm and dedication.

Learning has always been very important to me. Attending College would mean a chance to make life better, open up opportunities and enable a change in my life and family that could alter our destiny favorably.  I knew and know still that once I would have finished College, my life would be more complete, equipped with the tools, experience and education I need(ed) to obtain a job that I love, providing financially stability, and being able to provide the same opportunities for my family.  I feel I have become a stronger person who has been blessed to have known and pursued my passion in life, to date.

Looking back at all the chances I took, daring to leave home and respond to FEED’s offer, this gave me hope that all things are possible. It has taught me to be inspired to help others who are in need to pursue their life dreams too. There are many who have and share kindness on Earth, which is a lesson I will forever cherish and which guides me to one day help others achieve their aspirations.

THANK YOU FEED FOR BELIEVING THAT THIS EARTH NEEDS A FUTURE EDUCATOR WHO AIMS TO HELP TO UPLIFT OTHERS. Thank you for supporting me and my sister.(Jhessa my younger sister became a FEED scholar in 2020, she is currently in her second year of college at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) in San Fernando City, La Union – taking up her Bachelor of Technology & Livelihood Education. She was inspired by my transformation, and I know she can do whatever she wants to, as she is very focused and determined to do things with love and perseverance. Two years from now, Jhessa will also graduate and become a teacher.

For now, I am happy to say I am the first DEGREE HOLDER in my family, and definitely not the last. Even if I am the first, I can say now that this milestone is one sure step towards contributing towards the betterment of human capital, competitiveness and economic development in the Philippines.

What am I doing now after graduation? 

I still tutor English lessons as an online tutor at night. I also have tutor in the morning face to face with my student Kulay; and I manage the house and other chores with my sister Jessa at the homestay of FEED partner Urbiz Gardn in San Juan.

My plan after graduation

I am aiming for an entry-level position to gain more practical skills and experience, and am going to approach all challenges and opportunities in life with a positive attitude and much excitement!  I strongly believe in my success being founded on hard work and perseverance, since I wish to become an effective teacher and help our future generation develop the necessary authentic leadership in action skills needed to help our country reach its potential.

• Right now, I am processing to complete my credentials in order to apply for the Licensure Examination for Teacher this coming March 2024. And I am planning to enroll in a review center for a comprehensive preparation.

• I am also processing of getting national government ID’s needed to be able to apply for possible jobs related to my completed course in future.

• I am currently applying to private schools to add to my teaching experience, while preparing for the board exam and to pass. In fact, I already have requirements to pass and waiting for the interview at a private school that I applied to. Hoping to be selected so that even though I’m waiting to take the board exam, I can still teach.


Graduation day with mom, June 2023

La Union National High School Awards

Runner Up at Impromptu Speech Contest, Senior High, La Union National High School

Actual teaching sessions as part of Internship requirements, DMMMSU San Fernando City, La Union



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View original video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPC29Rwr6Pg

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