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Bittersweet Success

Updated: Feb 1



He strikes a first-time acquaintance as a boy-next-door type, someone who you would want to introduce to your parents as your boyfriend. It was no wonder, then, that Jay Louie Jarbonido became a campus heartthrob when he enrolled at the Foundation Preparatory Academy (FPA) for his Senior High School under the Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) track.


Fresh from his hometown in Canlaon City where he finished his basic education up to junior high school, Jarbonido is part of the pioneering batch of Senior High School graduates who finished in 2018. Graduating with high honors, he considers his two-year training at FPA as worthwhile because of its “strong foundation for academic excellence.”


Expressing his indebtedness to FPA is an understatement as, according to Jarbonido, his choice became all the more established as he himself had experienced the technology as espoused through the iPad program where the students became the beneficiaries.


“I particularly liked the commitment of FPA in encouraging and fostering diverse skills among its students, combining academics and co-curricular, and even, extra-curricular activities,” shared Jarbonido. True enough, this is where he developed his leadership skills, having been voted vice-president of the Student Government and chosen as editor-in-chief of The Grey Puppies, the official student publication of the FPA as well as representing the school in the Department of Education’s Division Schools Press Conference, particularly in radio broadcasting.


Interestingly, these skills – leadership and communication – proved him in good stead as he decided to pursue Bachelor of Secondary Language Education at Silliman University where he graduated magna cum laude at Silliman University, Dumaguete City in 2022. He likewise took and passed the licensure examination for teachers the following year.


“My training in FPA Student Government contributed a lot to my involvement in extra-curricular activities while in college,” enthused Jarbonido as he was elected representative of the College of Education to the Silliman University Student Government Assembly in 2019-2020 and as vice-chair, and later, executive chair of the University Spiritual Life Committee.


If there is someone who best embodies time management and rising above trials and tribulations, aside from acing academics and participating in a myriad of opportunities both here and abroad, it is Jarbonido, himself 2016 Mr. Lakan ng Foundation University.


Among his many notable and outstanding achievements was when he was selected as delegate to the Asia World Model United Nations II at the Prince Palace Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand in early 2019. The gathering provided young leaders from all over the world to build networks or communities and improve world view. According to Jarbonido, his takeaways, among others, were the enrichment of his leadership, communication and diplomacy skills, as well as the improvement of his analytical and critical thinking skills.


Jarbonido has also received several national awards, among them the “Mga Bagong Rizal: Pag-asa ng Bayan 2021” from the Philippine Center of Gifted Education; 2021 Top 10 Outstanding Youth Leaders of the Year from the Voice of the Youth Awards; 2022 YMCA Outstanding Student of the Year; 2018 Mr. Education of Silliman University; 2022 Mr. Homeland Philippines-Negros Oriental; and, 2022 Mr. Global World International Philippines.


It was not always a bed of roses for Jarbonido, however. At the height of the CoViD-19 pandemic in 2020, his father passed on. What made matters worse was because the entire province was on a lockdown, he was not able to be with his family in Canlaon immediately.


“Those were tough, hard times for me, most especially, because I was still a student. I was in an emotional turmoil. Because of my resilience, determination, and support of my loved ones, I was able to draw inner strength. I gave my best and proved that even in the face of adversity, we could still excel,” Jarbonido remarked. He confessed, though, that his college graduation was a “bittersweet” occasion, not knowing how to process “sadness, sorrow, and success” combined.


Today, Jarbonido is back in his hometown in Canlaon City. Now that he is a licensed professional teacher, his options have expanded. Choosing to do a parttime online job, this gives him time to prepare as he has filed a certificate of candidacy to run as kagawad in the forthcoming barangay elections on October 30, 2023, perhaps, following in the footsteps of his grandfather who was a former barangay captain in their place. In between, he completed two certificate course programs at the University of the Philippines Open University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Management, major in Educational Management at the Philippine Christian University, Manila.


In essence, Jarbonido is the quintessential Foundationite steeped in the core values of excellence, commitment, integrity, and service – truly the cornerstone of anyone’s success. (Cecile M. Genove)


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