Ateneo de Cagayan summa cum laude tops mechanical engineering board exam

Alex Belen
Ateneo de Cagayan summa cum laude tops mechanical engineering board exam
Jay Nelson Corbita's father worked as a school janitor while his mother sold ice candies, hotcakes, and banana cue. He learned the most important life lessons from his parents.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The son of a janitor and a snacks vendor who graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan topped the 2017 mechanical engineering board exams.

Jay Nelson Corbita may have always excelled academically but the biggest lessons in life – like the value of hard work and simple living – he learned from his parents. 

Corbita’s father was a janitor in a private school near their home, while his mother sold ice candies, hotcakes, and banana cue. 

Love your family

He was raised to never have an idle moment and to study hard, especially when it came to preparing for exams.

It was because of his parents’ persistence and guidance that Corbita graduated from elementary as class valedictorian and was able to get a scholarship at Holy Cross High School in Bukidnon.

His two brothers influenced his choice for college course. (READ: 5 valedictorians in the family)

“My brothers influenced me to take mechanical engineering. During the time when I had to choose a program, one of them was already a licensed mechanical engineer and another was a graduating mechanical engineering student. Aside from the free books I can get from them as references, they could also give me pieces of advice in one way or another as I take my course,” Corbita said.

“Ever since we were little, our parents always taught us to help each other in times of problems and to share what we have with each other. My parents were the ones who disciplined me to work hard in school, especially when it comes to studying. Besides being disciplinarians, they always found time to bond with me and my siblings,” he added.

His parents would often joke around with them, the children, especially when they had nothing to do after work. (READ: 15 hard lessons fresh grads learn from first jobs out of college)

When it comes to his siblings, Corbita said: “We treat each other more like a barkada (friends). We often have petty fights but after those, we end up bonding with each other. We usually spend our bonding time through playing basketball.”

But as Corbita entered college those bonding moments as a complete family became rare and far apart. 

“This was due to the demands of my brothers’ jobs. Currently, my eldest brother works as a sales agent based in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, and usually, he can only come home at least twice a month. My other brother has his own family already. But in spite of the distance, we always see to it that we regularly communicate with each other. We always see to it that we maintain that close family ties that we always had.”

Pressure and success

Corbita described his student life as “a life in pursuit of academic excellence and quality learning.”

“As a valedictorian back in high school, a lot of things were really expected of me, especially by my high school teachers. When I entered college, I really had that big dream of graduating a summa cum laude. At first, I had a lot of doubts. But when I received my final grades in my first semester in college, I realized that I could make that dream come true.”

With a boost of confidence and “pressure” from almost everyone he knew, he thought of that dream all the time. 

“At the start of every semester, I always have that personal vision of getting an A in the subjects I will take. I would spend nights without sleep just to keep up with that vision. But aside from the academic excellence, I also have that passion for learning.”

When he became his batch’s summa cum laude, Corbita next visualized topping the mechanical engineering board exam. That too, came true. –

This story was first published on the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan website.

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