Teachers board exam topnotcher inspires with message on poverty


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Teachers board exam topnotcher inspires with message on poverty
Being poor is no hindrance for the second top scorer of the 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers

MANILA, Philippines – When a young student wanted something badly enough, not even hunger would stop her from chasing her dreams. 

Iah Bantang Seraspi, a Romblon State University graduate, placed second in the September 2015 Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) for the secondary level. She scored 90% in the exam, while the top score was 90.20%.

The post shared by the Biliran Island Facebook page showed a tarpaulin congratulating her attached to the side of a small hut, and a snippet of Seraspi’s speech during a testimonial dinner.


Be inspired by her. “Being poor is not a hindrance to finish your education.” I can picture of myself when I was still a…

Posted by Biliran Island on Saturday, 30 January 2016

Seraspi’s speech detailed her experience as a poor student. She said a normal meal for her would be rice and chips, coffee, salt, sugar, or anything that would give rice some taste. For her, having noodles was a luxury.

But, despite the lack of nutritional value in her food, Seraspi was able to do well in school.

SPEECH. A snippet of Seraspi's speech posted on the Biliran Island Facebook page focuses on the LET passer's ability to overcome hunger to succeed in school. Image courtesy of Biliran Island Facebook page

‘Di man nila makikita ang laman ng tiyan ko, but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains,” Seraspi said. (People may not see the inside of my stomach, but they will definitely see the capacity of my brains.)

Seraspi’s father is a fisherman and her mother is a housewife, according to the full speech Debbie Esquejo Garcia, who financed her college education and review, posted. Seraspi said she had to tutor children for her family’s extra income.


Friends and family, just want to share with you some of the highlights of Iah Seraspi’s speech during the Testimonial…

Posted by Debbie Esquejo Garcia on Monday, 18 January 2016

She added: “I came from a poor family. I’m not telling you this to humiliate my family nor to get your sympathy. I just want you to realize how blessed you are if you were able to live a life better than mine.” 

Seraspi also asked people to make the most of the blessings they have. “Make the most out of it to improve your education,” she said. 

To those who also had big dreams, Seraspi had words of encouragement: “To those who are dreaming to be the next topnotcher, commit yourself and be ready to sacrifice. Have a strong motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic.” 

As of posting, the post from Biliran Island was shared nearly 50,000 times and generated more than 115,000 reactions. Netizens commended Seraspi and also shared their own experiences of overcoming hardship. 

Do you know someone like Iah Seraspi? Share your story on X! – Bea Orante/Rappler.com

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