News & Stories
The Road to Success – Philippines Valedictorian Celebrates Uniqueness
Shaina grew up being bullied and discriminated against from the very beginning. When Shaina was young, her mother let her stay hidden in their house- Shaina’s father was African American and so she looked different, with darker skin and different textured hair. Abandoned by her father at birth, she was raised by her hard-working single mother, Arlene, who tried to protect her from the bullying she was subjected to when she left the house. But Shaina was so intelligent and curious, ready to learn and explore the world, her mother knew Shaina needed to be out in the world- and in school.
Accepting Who She Is
Arlene explained to Shaina when she was young why she looked different and what had happened with her father, and Shaina learned how to accept how she looked as not what made her different but what made her unique. She had many talents and gifts and despite the bullies and discrimination, Shaina focused on her worth and her schoolwork, building up her confidence and becoming an outstanding student. She has earned First Honors since she was in preschool, and just graduated elementary school from White Angel Academy as valedictorian. In her valedictory address, she said:
“It is common knowledge that it is not easy achieving highest honors without perseverance hard work, self-discipline, and responsibility. I was able to make it amidst discouraging, painful, and discriminating comments just because I have a different color and I am bi-racial. I did not mind all of them, and I did not allow their judgments to enter into my heart and into my mind. I am so grateful to my mom and her unconditional love for me, and her patience of constantly explaining to me my situation until I was able to comprehend and understand. Thank you also to all the people who believed and trusted me. Thank you to Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines, Inc. and my generous sponsor … from the US who provides me with my school-related needs and expenses. May God keep and bless all of you as He has blessed me with all these talents and gifts.”
Achievements and Awards
In addition to being named valedictorian of her class, Shaina was an Academic Excellence Awardee (in Mathematics, English, Filipino, Science, Civic and Culture, T.L.E.) She is also a Meritorious Awardee: Most Active, Most Compassionate, Most Encouraging Person, Most Trustworthy, Most Determined and True Leader Award. She is also a Loyalty Awardee, considered a major academic award.
Thankful for Help and Love
Despite the discrimination and bullying and being raised by a single mother, this young girl has hidden wings, thanks to the love of her mother and the generosity of Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines and her child sponsor. Thanks to their support, she will continue to grow and soar high in life.