VIRAL: Story behind working student’s broom graduation photo

Janessa Villamera
VIRAL: Story behind working student’s broom graduation photo
Dahn Saliendra, a graduating student from Notre Dame of Marbel University, talks about his inspiring Facebook post

MANILA, Philippines – What was supposed to be a humorous post turned out to be an inspiring one.

Dahn Saliendra just thought he was posting a  funny college graduation photo, though the broom he held up was more than just a prop to him.



On his Facebook post, the 26-year-old Dahn says he took up Bachelor of Science in Education major in Mathematics (BSEd-Math) from the Notre Dame of Marbel University. But who is he beyond that? 

Dahn told Rappler that when he graduated from high school, he stopped his studies for 3 years while his brother taught him how to sew. He started working as a seamster. 

One day, his aunt contacted him and asked if he wanted to become a working student in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. It was an easy choice for Dahn.  

He enrolled at the Notre Dame of Marbel University in 2012. His first choice was Civil Engineering but he decided to take BSEd-Math. 

As a working student, he was first assigned at the janitorial service of the school during his first semester in first year. From the second semester until his last year in college, he worked at the personnel office. It was his job to clean the office and do paperwork. 

It took him 6 years to finish his 4-year program. Dahn said It took him longer to graduate because as a working student, he was only required to take 18 units per semester, compared to a regular load of 30 units.  

He said what he learned as a working student is time management, and prioritizing studies over one’s social life.  “Kung working student ka, you need to accept everything. Kasi responsibility siya. Expect mo na masa-sacrifice mo ‘yung social life mo kasi nasa duty ka. I-balance mo ‘yung time mo sa trabaho at pag-aaral.”

(If you’re a working student, you need to accept everything because it’s a responsibility. Expect to sacrifice your social life since you’re on work duty. Balance your time between work and studies.)

Dahn also cited the advantages of being a working student, among them, getting early training on office work.

“Nakaka-proud maging working student, lalo na kung sa school ka na-assign (Being a working student is a source of pride), you learn how to communicate with the professionals. I’m proud because we are trained to do office work.”

The reason behind his graduation photo? Dahn said, “Mahilig ako mag-post ng mga humorous post. Ang purpose ko noon is to be shared by my friends only. Kasi naka-private originally ‘yung post (I like posting humorous posts. My purpose during that time is to be shared by my friends only. The post was originally set to private.) 

Someone chatted him to ask if he can make his post public since it was inspiring, and he agreed. After this, he made the post public and it went viral.

Dahn expected people to laugh at his post in the comments. When he read the comments, many were saying the same thing. “Tinaas ko daw yung bandera ng working students. Nag-iba ‘yung tingin ng mga tao sa working students (They said I raised the status of working students. People now see working students in a different light.) 

He said he was overwhelmed with the comments and had difficulty accepting that his post was inspiring. “I am really amazed about what happened,” Dahn said. 

Yung purpose ko na magpatawa napakalaki pala ng naitulong sa iba (My purpose to be funny turned out to be a big help to others),” he added.

Dahn will finally earn his much-deserved degree when he graduates on Sunday, March 25. “Na-e-excite ako na kinakabahan (I am excited and nervous at the same time) I need to embrace this. This is my achievement.” 

Aside from this good news, Dahn has something else to be proud of. He said he was already hired to be a Mathematics teacher for junior high school students in Notre Dame of Surala, located in South Cotabato. He will start teaching this coming school year. He will also prepare for the licensure examination for teachers.

His advice for working students? “Laban lang. Alagaan ang katawan kasi ‘yan ang puhunan nating working students. Kailangan mahalin mo ‘yung trabaho mo kasi yun ‘yung nagpapa-aral sa iyo. Mahalin mo rin ‘yung pag-a-aral mo. I-balance dapat.”

(Keep fighting. Take care of your body since that is our investment as working students. You have to love your job since it pays for your education. Love your education too. Balance it.) 

Do you have other #InspireCourage stories too? Write them on X! –

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