At the early age of 10, he was already helping his mother sell snacks, drinks, and balut (duck egg) to his father’s fellow construction workers. When there was still some food left, they would then head to the streets and sell it to pedestrians to ensure that they have earned enough to cover their expenses for the day and, at the same time, still have sufficient capital for the next day.
Hard work and poverty are no strangers to Van Lou Tristan Veneracion, a graduate of STI College – Global City in 2011. But what made him stood out from his peers were his dreams of success and his perseverance to make a better life for himself and his family.
Seeing the Silver Lining
Back in 2007, Tristan’s father lost his job and the family struggled to make ends meet. Tristan knew then that it was possible for his education to take the backseat and focus on how they will be able to get by. Then he saw the STI TV commercial. Since Tristan loves to cook, he was awestruck with the kitchen scenes in the commercial and his dream of being a chef was rekindled.
Tristan looked for ways to be able to go to college and through the generosity of an aunt who works in Canada, he was able to enroll. And of course, he went to the school that inspired him to dream again. Tristan finished the 2-year Hotel and Restaurant Services program at STI College – Global City, but that wasn’t enough. Tristan wanted to achieve more.
During his graduation rites in 2009, the STI Alumni Association (STIAA), in an effort to guarantee continuous growth of promising STI graduates, announced that they will be accepting applications for the STIAA Scholarship Grant.
Upon passing the written and verbal exam, and meeting all the requirements, Tristan was granted 100% Scholarship on his tuition and fees which enabled him to finish a 4-year degree program in Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM).
“The STIAA Scholarship helped turn my life and my family’s life around,” says Tristan. He further shared that the scholarship represented hope for him and his family because his college degree would open doors for better job opportunities.
Success: One Cup at a Time
Armed with his diploma, Tristan applied as a barista at Starbucks in The Fort Global City, Taguig and was immediately accepted. Today, Tristan lives a comfortable life with his family. They no longer sell food at the streets. His father now works as a seafarer while his mother enjoys the busy life of a homemaker. Tristan, on the other hand, is having fun with his job at Starbucks together with its perks — free coffee at every shift, quarterly bonuses, and a healthcare package. He also helps out with their household expenses and in his younger brother’s allowance, who is also an HRM student in STI College – Global City.
For students who are challenged with similar difficulties in life, Tristan advises “Everything is temporary so you always have to do your best because every moment counts. Don’t pass up on opportunities and be thankful to God because He always sends gifts – like my scholarship – and help along the way.”
Tristan also encourages other STI Alumni to renew their membership cards and be active members of the alumni organization. “The STIAA is such a big community. It’s a good place for us to stay connected wherein there’s a sense of security knowing that there are people we can turn to if we are in need of assistance or for us to give back and help our fellow alumni.”