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March 10, 2016

Honour From Opportunity: A Scholar’s Journey

Recently, a Civil Engineering student from Adamson University here in Manila, John Daryl Pitcheller was given the honour of presenting his ground-breaking research on PVC Waste at the International Conference on the Environmental Quality Concern (EQC) in the National Kaohsiung Marine University, Taiwan. 

In his presentation, entitled Waste Polyvinyl Chloride as Tensile Reinforcement to Asphalt Pavement, John Daryl proposed that instead of throwing away waste PVC materials, these should be recycled and used as an additive to asphalt to improve the tensile strength of pavements.

The conference panel, and delegates—from all over South East Asia—were impressed. Meanwhile John Daryl came back to the Philippines carrying new knowledge and experiences, not to mention new ambitions. 

"I was inspired to make a difference.” said John Daryl.

A recent university graduate, before attending Adamson University, John Daryl was a beneficiary of a British School Manila run scholarship programme which he views as being instrumental in giving him a chance to pursue his studies. 

“The British Education Inc.'s Scholarship Programme (BEI), run by volunteers from the British School Manila (BSM), really opens the door to a lot of opportunities to students like me,” he said.

BSM usually only supports scholars until they graduate college, but the school will often go one step further if they see an opportunity for one of their scholars to shine. 

"I did not know that the BEI programme would continue to support me attending this international event,” John said. 

“I was in my final semester when the conference took place and I had actually already graduated [last March 2015]. So I had little hope that Mr. Egan would approve my request, because this was not initially part of the contract. But eureka – the trip was all expenses paid!”

The ‘Mr. Egan’ that John refers to is the Vice Chair of the British School Manila Board of Governors, Mr Brendan Egan, who along with a handful of local staff volunteers from BSM run the BEI Scholarship Programme. The initiative, which is 100% funded by the British School Manila helps graduate students from Taguig's public schools reach their dream of graduating college, through the provision of a full scholarship to the college and course of their choice.

“A BEI scholarship covers full tuition for any specified course, at any specified college in Metro Manila,” said Mr. Egan when questioned. “All necessary books are paid for upon presentation of an official receipt, as is any required uniform. An allowance is also provided for snacks and transportation,” he continued.

John Daryl received the BEI scholarship after a rigorous selection process managed by volunteer staff from BSM. 

Volunteers from the school, such as Erwin Adevoso help candidates through the pre-screening process. "To get on the short list and be interviewed by the Committee, candidates are selected based on their credentials," says Erwin. "But we also want these young people to be able to communicate well with us." Erwin continues, "This is where I get involved, sitting down with each one, in an effort to calm their nerves and help them feel comfortable and ready to share their personal stories and why they need the scholarship, in some detail."

Before being accepted onto the BEI scholarship programme, John Daryl was hesitant to continue his tertiary education studies, as he was concerned about his parents' financial ability to send him to the college of his choice. He is an only child, but his parents also provide financial assistance to other relatives in the family.

John said, "When I was chosen for the BEI scholarship programme, it was a big help since it provided for everything. So I didn't have to do anything, except study. I just had to do my best." 

The BEI scholarship also entitled him to be given a fully-equipped desktop PC, so he did not have to rent computers to work on school requirements.

“It’s more than manna from heaven, because it isn't just a grant that comes to you monthly,” he said, recalling how the scholarship influenced his life. “I hope that BEI Inc. and the British School Manila will continue this kind of support for their scholars because it can impact them in ways a four-walled classroom can never do.

John Daryl graduated with Academic Merit last year, and recently passed the Civil Engineering Board Exams. He is currently happily employed.

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