(Elizabeth Somera-Fajardo submitted the following story during the 2010 SAS Centennial celebration in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, Philippines)
St Augustine School Alumni International, Inc.’s (SAS Ai, Inc.) mission is to help bright and promising students who come from poor families get a good high school education at SAS through financial help. A cause worthy of backing, many supporters come forward to make generous donations to the scholarship fund. Two sisters, Yolly Martinez-Tobias and Gilda Martinez- Ancheta support SAS Ai’s mission through their generous donations.
Gilda graduated from SAS in 1968 while Yolly graduated from SAS in 1973. Both are members of St Augustine School Alumni International (SAS Ai).
Gilda Martinez-Ancheta and her family live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Yolly Martinez-Tobias and her family live in metro-Manila, Philippines. They both have good memories of their school days at SAS. At the 2010 SAS Centennial celebration, Gilda and Yolly relived with their batch-mates those school days gone by.
Born and raised in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Gilda and Yolly grew up in an upper class family environment. As growing youngsters they saw and are familiar with the local “clogged-drip-clogged-cashflow” economy and the harshness of unemployment. The people wanted to work; there were no jobs to be had. People survive hand-to-mouth, or as they say in the local vernacular, “scratch and peck”.
Short of foraging in the wild people get by with one to two meals a day. Mostly carbohydrates and root crops. The exception to this typical abject poverty scenario comes from family members working overseas helping out. The care packages they send home help to augment and supplement food supplies and staples.
These poor families have bright kids who can only dream of attending SAS high school. SAS is the premier high school in the province of Ilocos Sur. Well established SAS celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2010. Through her portals passed many graduates who went on to become successful professionals in their own fields.
Gilda and Yolly exemplify SAS Alumni excellence, successfully raising their own families and doing very well in their professional careers. We thank both Gilda and Yolly for their continuing support of the SAS Ai scholarship program.