The International School Manila may be sending off their newest graduating cohort to the elite cluster of Ivy League universities, but the Class of 2019 strives to stay rooted where they first bloomed. As they looked back on their fondest high school memories and forward to the wonders ahead of them, 13 exceptional young adults reveal how they envision to use their craft in succouring the Philippine society.
Already running a small-scale freelance film company at a young age, there is no surprise that Romualdez decided to take film and media studies. He is set to attend Dartmouth College and wants to one day grow his company into an NGO geared towards platforming the creativity of less privileged Filipinos. “I want the Philippines to realise media as the fourth estate of democracy,” he said. “Lack of education is arguably the precursor of corruption, and the easiest way to educate is through media.” Apart from his early stint in film, he also led the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools Golf Team for three years and have invested most of his free time joining volunteer organisations. Together with other Gifts and Graces volunteers, Romualdez was able to meet the T’boli tribe at their war-stricken community, caught in between the crossfire in Mindanao. The young filmmaker went on to direct a documentary featuring the tribe and their culture.
Driven by her interest in prevalent social issues such as addressing contemporary slavery and human trafficking, Te plans to become a corporate lawyer in the Philippines and dreams of getting appointed as Supreme Court justice one day. Pursuing public policy and sociology in Brown University would be several steps closer to realising this goal, allowing her to “marry the idiosyncrasies of society with practices of government, giving me tools to translate my passion into implementing true change and contributing to the Philippines’ development.” A strong-willed advocate, her earliest contributions to social development date back to when she launched a social media advocacy aimed towards raising awareness about sexual exploitation in the Philippines. She founded the service organisation Save the Kids PH, which gave her a means to “teach impoverished children livelihood projects in the hopes of educating, empowering, and uplifting them.” She also served as president of the Philippine Cultural Club.
More than social and cultural work, Te is also a violinist and violist greatly involved in musical performance: “music was and continues to be a constant component of my life. It is how I perceive the past and present.”
University of Pennsylvania
The former swimming varsity member and squash player hopes to join the ranks of notable businessmen in the country once he receives his finance degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Gotuaco is no stranger to the field, having undergone an internship with ASA Foundation, one of the country’s largest microfinance organisations. As for how he can contribute his knowledge to the betterment of Philippine society, he shares: “I hope that through studies in finance I am able to uplift the impoverished Filipino and work to the benefit of the Philippine economy.” Excited to meet like-minded folk in the university, he is also eager to experience the freedom and independence that college entails.