Feature: The Mustard Seed

Uploaded by Carlo Magno Miranda ('69) on 3 August 2006


Timothy John

He is a Junior Software Engineer at the Manila Delivery Centre of Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company.

The second son of Reynaldo and Dionisia, he was born on August 21, 1983 in Baguio City. He and his other siblings, Jericho, Reynaldo Jr. and Ma. Danisse enjoyed a normal and happy childhood in spite of meager family resources.

"My father is very responsible and loving. Even though he was just a company driver, he was a hardworking person and he gave his best to support us. My mother is also hardworking and courageous. Just an ordinary housewife, she was always there to help us in our school activities.

We have a simple but strong and united family. When someone among us encounters a problem, the others come to help and support," Timothy says of his family.

He recalls he never had money in his pocket during his elementary years like his other classmates. So “recess” was just a word to him. But still, he managed to be a consistent honor student from Grade 1 to Grade 6. He also had extra-curricular activities even then like Art and Journalism. He graduated 1st Honorable Mention from Plaridel Elementary School.

The MLQHSAFI Scholarship Program is a project which could not have been conceived if not for the benevolence of one man, Manny Santos of Batch ’69. During one of his earliest visits to MLQ High School in Blumentritt, he saw the deplorable condition his old alma mater was in. Roofs were leaking; rooms were hot and humid with a cacophony of sounds emanating from practically everywhere – hardly an environment conducive for learning. No wonder that, academically, the school was not faring well.

He realized that something had to be done - and fast. So he rose to the challenge and with his own resources, embraced the task of revitalizing the school as his personal crusade. But he is realistic enough to know too, that individual efforts, no matter how enormous his resources may be, will always fall short at the end of the day. He had some ideas and he tested each one of them. If a project worked then he sought out individuals, mostly alumni, who are willing to work with him in that particular endeavor.

He knew from his experiences as a farmer, that any seed he plants today must be nurtured and propagated. He envisioned a corps of MLQHS graduates who will always care for their school regardless of what they become and no matter how distant. He thought that the best time to plant this ideal is right after leaving the gates of MLQHS. So the idea of a scholarship program was born and like any of his past ideas, he tried it first.

Dear readers, meet Timothy John Andaya Palayaban.

His admirable performance continued even in high school: 2nd honor during his 2nd year, 1st honor in his 3rd year and Valedictorian upon graduation. He participated in various contests and performed creditably in the Math Olympiad and MTAP contests, Science Quiz Bee and Current Events Quiz Bee. There was also an improvement in his diet in high school – he had bread for lunch!

At Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila, where he took up Computer Engineering, he was a Dean’s Lister in his 1st and 2nd year. Asked why he did not make it to the Dean’s List the following year, he smilingly recalls that there was one subject which was on a late time slot. By that time, he reasons, he was already very hungry and it somehow affected his concentration. He did not fail the subject but his grade did not qualify. Pressed further, he sadly said, he had to share with his family the stipend he was getting from Manny Santos because by then his father had already died and his mother’s earnings as a laundrywoman was hardly enough to cover their daily needs.

"My parents, especially my father, inspired me to study hard. They told me that in order to have better control of my life I need discipline and a good education. No matter how many struggles come, I can surmount all of them if I have a good education and discipline."

Now the breadwinner of the family he believes success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

"I want to be a successful programmer. I want to be good in my chosen career so I can be able to provide a good life for my family," he declares.

He is now undergoing "immersion" in MLQHSAFI activities. In spite of his tight work schedule he has religiously attended the Board meetings held so far and he has volunteered his services to the Foundation. It is almost certain that he will be called to serve in the Board in the very near future.

"Though I am not yet capable of helping the Foundation financially, I am offering my skills as a computer programmer as my way of saying ‘Thank you’ for all the support I received. The website, for example, is one activity I can be of help. I can also conduct tutorials on computer basics."

Finally, Timothy expresses his gratitude.

"I would like to thank the MLQHS Alumni Foundation especially Mr. Manny Santos for giving me financial support and helping me build my dreams. Thank you to our beloved teachers who were always there to guide and protect us, especially Mrs. Pacion. Also to former MLQHS principal, Mrs. Wenifrida Lagman, who recommended me to Mr. Manny Santos for financial support."

Postscript: Timothy was not a scholar of the Foundation. He was personally supported by Manny Santos. His accomplishments so far cannot be compared with other graduates of MLQHS who have far more illustrious records. But what makes his story worth telling is that through sheer determination he has prevailed against the odds. He has become the shining example, the torchbearer of this corps that Manny has dreamt about. He has validated an idea and affirmed that this idea is worth pursuing.

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