Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A moment that changed lives

A family legacy, SM scholar Amanda Hora becomes the first in her family to earn a degree.


While some moments pass away with time, others leave an enduring impression that shapes not only our paths but also our identities. Regarding Attorney. The SM scholarship application, for Amanda Hora and Marmie Deniega, wasn't just a means of gaining access to higher education; it was also the turning point in their lives.


The first to obtain a degree in the family

Amanda’s unforgettable story as an SM scholar began when she stumbled upon a Facebook post about the SM scholarship application.

“It has always been my dream to pursue a quality education without the burden of tuition expenses. I enrolled in a university in Senior High School because of a scholarship, and I know that the only way to continue my college years at the same university is to obtain another full scholarship. That is why I never hesitated to apply for the SM scholarship, hoping to be accepted. I pursued college because I wanted to become the first in our family to get a college degree. My parents did not finish their studies due to financial difficulties, but they’ve always been supportive of my dreams and aspirations. Also, I believe in the importance of quality education. It is something that nobody can take away. As a scholar, the foundation’s programs and webinars allowed me to hear inspiring stories from other scholars, mentoring and motivating us to pursue our goals. When COVID-19 affected the country and whenever there were calamities, the SM Foundation looked after us. They provided us with tools that are essential for remote learning. It made me feel that I am part of a bigger family and that I am not alone in this journey. I would use my knowledge to find ways to provide livelihood programs, especially in areas or communities where it is much needed. I would also advocate for financial literacy to help people effectively manage their finances and build resilience, especially during unpredictable life events. I would also use my story to inspire the youth, especially the current and future scholars, and remind them to never give up on their dreams. My mother and I were watching the television. The commercial for SM Foundation came in, and the application deadline was flashed through the screen. Coincidentally, it was on that day itself, so I rushed and submitted my application at the nearest SM Mall. It cannot be helped that clients will also seek legal advice from me, hence I also make it a point to help them, to the best of my ability, and within the boundaries set by law. ~Amanda Hora, SM Scholar

A few years ago, during the quiet hours of the night, she received an email from the SM Foundation on her phone letting her know that she had been chosen for their scholarship program.

The acceptance was a mark that she was a few steps away from fulfilling another goal.


Amanda snaps a photo with her family as she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023.


The scholarship opened doors throughout her college years. Beyond the academic realm, she had the opportunities to join competitions, intern at prestigious firms, and build a network that extended far beyond the classroom. 

These experiences paved academic and personal growth. As she graduated cum laude with a degree in BS accountancy in 2023, she aims to contribute to the community by creating a ripple effect of kindness.


Atty. Marmie Deniega (fifth from left) with her colleagues from IBP-Cebu Chapter.


Scholar makes an impact on the community

Much like Amanda is CPA-lawyer Marmie Dyan Deniega.

A single mother raised in hard times financially made going to college seem unattainable, but then she happened to see a TV ad introducing her to the SM College Scholarship.

Marmie's scholastic achievements were largely based on the scholarship. She credits the scholarship for giving her the flexibility to concentrate on her studies in addition to financial support, as she graduated with cum laude honors in accounting from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. 

In addition to molding her academic path, the scholarship instilled in her a sense of accountability that served her well as she pursued a legal degree with the assistance of her aunt and part-time jobs.


Now successful in her field, Atty. Marmie travels and enjoys various leisure activities. Beyond this, she is thankful to have the capability to support her family.


She currently actively contributes to the development of her community as an Attorney III at the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) in Mandaue City, where she works with pride. She is one of the key figures in their city's efforts to improve constituent accessibility by streamlining the business permit application process.

Being a strong proponent of promoting social justice, she actively participates in community-based projects and pays for her siblings' education. She also gives informative speeches in schools on a variety of important subjects, including the Anti-Bullying Law.

In addition to providing legal aid in remote parts of Cebu via the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter, she also works as a volunteer for Law Inc., a group that supports women and children who have experienced violence (VAWC). She explains the nuances of VAWC through seminars she holds in different parts of Cebu.

Within the walls of her office, clients instinctively seek her counsel on a range of legal issues.

The success stories of Amanda and Marmie demonstrate the value of education in addition to being examples of personal growth. Through the SM College Scholarship Program, countless dreamers just like them are given the confidence to follow their academic goals and forge successful careers every year.

Numerous more lives could be impacted as the SM College Scholarship Program application period opens on February 1 and ends on March 31, 2024. 

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