Fueling dreams with education : Former gasoline boy fulfills dreams with SM scholarship

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Education has always been maximized by determined youth to turn their lives around for the better. Especially those who have lived through the intergenerational cycle of poverty, they use their skills and knowledge to chart a course towards brighter horizons.

This rings true to Robie Tumibay, a former gasoline boy who pursued the SM Scholarship Application and became a professional accountant and Senior Manager at SM Retail, Inc.

The SM scholarship opportunity

As a high school salutatorian in the early 2000s, Robie encountered financial obstacles that impeded his college aspirations. His parents, senior citizens relying on handmade rags for income, could no longer support his education. Undeterred, he held onto his dreams when he learned a scholarship opportunity from SM City Marilao, “Hindi ko tanggap noon na hindi ako makakapag-pursue ng college… I knew in my heart that I had so much to give.”

With his savings, he secured the necessary documents for the SM Foundation College Scholarship. His foresight quickly bore fruit as he was listed among the scholarship recipients.

Robie pursued Accountancy at Far Eastern University, graduating in 2008 with academic distinction. According to Robie, the scholarship not only relieved him of financial burdens but also opened doors for a part-time job at SM North EDSA, offering extra income, practical insights, and a valuable work ethic. This experience also fostered life-long memories and friendships with co-scholars.

Entering the professional arena

Prior his graduation, Robie already joined the workforce working as an Auditor. But in 2010, he followed a call to work at an SM Group company.

“I felt that I was really destined to work in SM. I felt as if there was a calling. In 2010, I applied at SM Retail Inc, and ito na ang pinaka-matagal kong trabaho,” he shared what inspires him to happily serve at work.

Tumibay (rightmost) with his fellow SM scholar-alumni at the recent SM Scholars’ General Assembly

“My department at SM Retail offered numerous growth opportunities through diverse projects. In an earlier project, I played a key role in cleaning our receivables that showed my potential. They provide us with the opportunity to decide on projects, where we will feel the great trust and belief they have in us. From there, na-boost ‘yung critical thinking and confidence ko,” he added.

Driven by development opportunities, Robie rose from supervisor to Senior Manager, achieving financial stability. This allowed him to support his family and invest in his family’s future.

But for him, his story goes beyond personal success. It’s fulfilling his ultimate dream of changing the trajectory for succeeding generations within his family that matters most. “Ito talaga yung determination ko para makapagtapos noon… It is very humbling to share that some of my nieces and nephews are able to finish their education now.”

Robie also takes the time to share his inspiring story with younger generations of SM scholars. As he reminisced with them, he shared that he would choose a life with SM all over again if he could turn back time.

 “As an alumnus, we can see the product of the SM College Scholarship Program. They have produced several graduates, who have become leaders, top notchers, and the best in their selected fields. Why? It’s because SM does not only support the studies and finances of its scholars but also their overall growth.”

“From time to time, they check up on you and keep in touch. They give you the opportunity to build lifelong friendships with your co-scholars. SM Foundation feels like home. They will really make you feel like you belong to a family and a part of the SM Group.”

The SM College Scholarship Application is open from Feb. 1 to March 31, 2024. To learn more, visit @SMFoundationInc or www.sm-foundation.org.

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