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A Scholar’s Journey to Success

By Anna Seipelt Goco
A Scholar’s Journey to Success

ISM’s Bernice Delos Reyes dreams big and defies the odds
When asked how her life changed with the education she received at International School Manila (ISM), Bernice Delos Reyes says “My perspective of the world has changed so much, in the sense that I have more empathy and understanding of how the world works.”
Coming from a local Christian School, applying to ISM’s Philippine Scholarship Program was a life-changing moment for Bernice. Being accepted into the scholarship program enabled her to embark on an adventure without ever having to turn back. For this bright girl, her journey started when she entered eighth grade, and it was just the beginning.
Her life before ISM was a simple one, and she could not have imagined doing all the things that she has been able to do if it were not for the scholarship. From acting in theater to taking part in various service-learning projects, Bernice is thankful to ISM for sparking her interests and desires to seek more and do more. Without the education she received, having to speak in front of large crowds would have terrified her, and she would not ever have considered taking summer classes abroad.
During the summer of 2014, Bernice was accepted into a program at Yale University called the Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program. As she wrote in her article A Summer in Yale, she described her two-week experience as one that “opened new doors of opportunities for me, allowing me to explore possibilities and newfound interests that I can now build upon to define the kind of person I want to become.”
One of the achievements Bernice is most proud of during her time at ISM is an idea she had for service learning that was brought on by her passion to help people in need. During her freshman year, she initiated a program in partnership with child-based service-learning partners such as Social Physical Educational Cultural Spiritual Foundation Inc. (SPECS) to bring disadvantaged children to amusement parks. It started with a trip to Enchanted Kingdom and evolved in subsequent years to include other outings, such as visits to Museo Pambata (Museum for Children) and Manila Ocean Park. Bernice eventually became the President of the Service Learning Council, a position she has held since Junior year.
Now in her last year at ISM, Bernice opted for an Early Decision application to college. When she started her senior year last August 2015, she already knew where she wanted to apply. Her role models—ISM alumnae and scholars, Kimi Rodriguez (’11) and Juliana Saubier (’12) both attended New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and she wanted the same path for herself. After weeks of working tirelessly on her essays and giving her best during an invitation to Candidate Weekend at NYUAD, all her hard work through the years paid off.
Just like waiting for Christmas morning, Bernice could not sleep through the wee hours of December 16, 2015. At 6:00 am, she received an early present from Santa: a full scholarship to NYUAD. This full scholarship includes tuition, room and board, allowance, and two flights back to Manila each year, amounting to approximately US$290,000 in financial aid for all four years in college. Without hesitation, Bernice accepted, continuing her journey to another new beginning.
From dreaming simple to dreaming big, Bernice is a true testament to how an education at ISM can make you reach more than you can possibly imagine.
Anna Seipelt Goco is IS Manila Deputy Director of Advancement and a member of IS Manila Class of 2003.

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