Jan Michael Lava, Gianina Napo and Michael Miatari with their medals.
Far Eastern University’s three nominees to the 2013 Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (National Capital Region) have been chosen as regional awardees after hurdling a tight judging process.
John Michael Lava (BS Accountancy), Gianina Marie Napo (AB Mass Communication) and Michael Miatari (BS Psychology) all made the final list. The three along with other regional winner will join the national screening in which 30 finalists will be chosen.
“We are living the legacy of a culture hero, our founder Dr. Nicanor Reyes Sr. It is the culture of service that has been continued from generations to generations,” said 2013 TOSP-NCR Regional Awardee, Michael Miatari.
Miatari recently graduated with a degree in Psychology, also a co-recipient of the 2013 Dr. Nicanor Reyes Leadership Award. As a student, he was the Vice President-Internal of the volunteer network of students in the university, the “Tamaraw Volunteers.”
With the advocacy of engaging the people in contributing for the country’s millennium
development goals, Miatari initiated projects that will help eradicate hunger and poverty through the “Tamaraw Famine Movement”, developed long term sustainable projects like the “Luntiang Alab Iniative” for the Dumagat Community and lastly facilitated creative learning for children with disabilities called the “EduKahon” which is a mobile library made up of 3 boxes which contains learning materials for the children with special needs.
Noticeably, Miatari spoke of genuine sincerity when sharing his insights. His deep focus while communicating if not overwhelming may sometimes become intimidating. Not until he shared, “I lost my hearing. I lost a significant part of me in the process. But by being a conduit of that message that will speak upon generations is more than enough for me.”
This explains why Miatari never loses focus when he talks to people; he can barely hear from his right ear and had to master the art of lip-reading.
His case is called cholesteatoma, “a tumor is growing in my ear, if it will not be stopped; it will go to my brain.”
He added that he lost his hearing on the left ear when he was in 3rd year college.
“Perhaps I may not see the whole purpose of it right now, but at the end it’s the people that you have provided with joy.”
He is scheduled to undergo surgery in Japan hoping to regain a part of what was lost. He also mentioned his plans of taking up a course in Urban Development Studies there.
“Certainly I will come home to take Sociology and Filipino Psychology and of course to continue what was already started,” he summed.
John Michael Lava
Resiliency and a heart of gold has enabled John Michael Lava to become arguably one of the most decorated and admired students in and out of Far Eastern University.
Lava was recently named a regional awardee in the 2013 Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (National Capital Region) just a week after graduating with a degree in BS Accountancy, Magna Cum Laude.
His list of accomplishments as a student include being the 16th Regional President
National Federation of the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants – National Capital Region Council, a Best Case Study awardee in the 7th Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit, 3rd Most Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Student of the Philippines, Generation Movers’ National President and a delegate in the Ayala Young Leaders Congress (AYLC) 2012.
John Michael Lava graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in BS Accountancy last April 2013.
In addition, FEU named him one of its 2013 Outstanding Seniors and a co-winner of the 2013 Nicanor Reyes Sr. Leadership award.
Lava said the support of his loved ones inspired him to work hard and hurdle various challenges. He shared that his family did not have the means to send him to school and actually lives in a squatters’ area in North Triangle, Quezon City.
Lava relied on scholarships from SM Foundation and FEU to carry him through college.
While being developed as a student leader in FEU, Lava also made sure to serve his own community. He formed a youth organization that would take the lead in discussing with private or government groups threatening to demolish their homes.
“We have submitted a position paper and held talks with the National Housing Authority and landowners. We are still actually living in that area and our paper is advocating for a house development project for our community. Our organization is actually giving the youth activities for their development.”
Lava clarified that they are not taking a combatitive stance against demolition efforts but believe there is a common point where all can benefit.
“We are not against progress. We just want to be part of the progress. If you drive the poor out of the city, you will not really solve the housing problem in the Philippines. You have to involve them in the process, in the development,” he said in his TOSP screening speech.
Lava is currently reviewing for the upcoming Certified Public Accountant board exams but has already mapped up what he wants to do in the near future.
“I want to go into public practice first then eventually join private auditing firms. I also want to teach even at least part-time because I have the passion for it.”
Lava said that if students want to become leaders and achievers then they should have the heart for it and be motivated by the essence of helping. Winning an award should not be a primary concern.
Lastly, he wants to share the spotlight with his beloved alma mater which nurtured him.
“I’ve had people asking me why I was not coming from the supposed elite schools here in the Philippines. I’m always proud to say that I’m from FEU, that’s what sets me apart and what is important for me.”
Q&A with Gianina Napo
What are the highlights of your student life in FEU?
My involvements encouraged me to learn more outside the four-walls of the classroom.
I could have just stayed an ordinary student but I chose to step outside my comfort zone. On my first year, I joined Tamaraw Volunteers to continue what I am passionate about during high school and to give back for all the blessings God has given me. Through the organization, I experienced going into typhoon-wrecked areas, entertain aged people, play with indigenous kids, etc.
All these things changed me from someone who just rants of the many problems that our country is facing into someone who has a renewed hope for our nation. Being a Tamaraw Volunteer made me realize that no matter how small my efforts are could actually contribute in changing this country, which is seemingly a difficult and impossible task. Moreover, more than giving back, I was able to give hope to people who felt less, alone, deprived and rejected to stand up and survive their own struggles.
I also joined different student organizations where I met my mentors and friends who contributed to my personal growth and improvement as a student leader.
What do you believe were the most crucial in your selection as a TOSP regional awardee and what does the award mean to you?
To be part of the finalists is already a big deal for me because I did not expected it on the first place. I did put my heart and sincerity when I was doing my bid book and fortunately, was given the chance to be part of the Ten Outstanding Students Philippines Alumni Community (NCR). I would not deny that aside from gratitude, I felt pressured because I am bringing the name of the school in such prestigious competition. Come formation week, the experience was so invigorating and life-changing because they let us feel an ambiance where there is no competition but a “family” willing to accept each other’s differences.
I would also like to especially stress my heartfelt gratitude to the TOSP alumni from FEU who never failed to remind us that no matter the result, they are proud of us and they love us. Such things made me feel grounded and secure and what’s left is to be sincere during the panel interview. I could say that it was so light because I was able to share to the judges who the real “Gianina” is. I am not disturbed after the interview because I was able to tell the judges my story and there will be no regrets even if I did not qualify as awardee.
More than recognition, the award is more of a reminder of all my experiences, successes and failures, and the people who have contributed in order for me to become who I am now and a challenge to do better from what I have done as I continue serving country as I strive to become successful in the field I have chosen.
What’s your message for your fellow Tamaraws who aspire to become a student achiever like you?
I challenge them to step up and go outside their comfort zone. There is so much need for us to move for the welfare of this community and it is not impossible. More than reactors, we need actors. I was once the kind of Filipino who’d rather be born as foreigner. I was once that “someone” who always rant about corrupt politicians, dirty environment, high crime rate, etc.
However, I changed, and it is all because I involved myself in the community where I was able to realize my worth as a student, as a leader, as a community builder and most importantly, as a Filipino. I don’t say it is easy that is why I consider it as a challenge but through small steps, something great is achieved. If the Tamaraws (animals) are extinct, let us prove to the world that service-oriented and community- involved Tamaraws are endemic!
There’s nothing wrong to strive for excellence but I would also want to stress that one should not do things for the sake of recognition. Like what I would always say, “True success can only be achieved when you aim for something higher and you live for something better. Success cannot be measured by how much you achieved but by how many lives you have touched. Nothing but a life-long commitment to make an impact and to be an impact could fulfill one the most.”