"You didn’t get to graduate but you made someone graduate"
This was how Ghel Martinez began her viral Facebook post on Wednesday, May 8, as she shared her story about how she supported the education of her two younger siblings who graduated from college.
Martinez told INQUIRER.net that her sister Abigail graduated last year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the Laguna State Polytechnic University. This year, her brother Vergel graduated with a degree in Accountacy from the Dalubhasaan ng Lungsod ng San Pablo.
She said that she looked at their photo holding a note with the course they finished, "the memories just came rushing back."
In the photo, she held her own sign that read: "You didn’t get to graduate but you made someone graduate."
"My father don't have a permanent job while my mother is a housewife. I'm the eldest among six children" she said.
Growing up as the eldest, she took on various jobs right after high school.
Alhough she wanted to take up BS Criminology, she postponed her studies to support her siblings who were also going college.
"I didn't want them to go through my experience of not having money for a cold drink or for photocopies. That's why I made it my goal for my siblings fulfil their dream." She said.
With that in mind, Martinez took different kinds of jobs. She started as a service crew member of a fastfood chain and when she realised that the salary won't sustain her sibling's studies, she applied as a call centre agent.
"On my first day at the call centre, I almost give up because I was embarrassed. My fellow employees laughed at me because of my accent."
Martinez met the challenge by studying and learning call centre skills.
While working as a call centre agent, she took different sidelines like designing event places and recycling bottles and then selling them at the junk shop. She even joined office contests to boost her budget.
"I remember well how I bought my sister's T-square for her architectural studies. I won in a pageant even though I didn't have a talent. I did a fire breathing presentation."
She moved to a bigger call centre company which offered a bigger opportunity. She got promoted to team leader, quality analyst, product trainer, then to assistant manager.
She said it wasn't easy, but she made sure that her siblings were able to pay their school fees on time and at time ahead of deadline.
All the sacrifice of Martinez paid off when her siblings graduated, with one even finishing as cum laude.
"I am very lucky with my siblings. I will never regret making you my priority," she added.
"Even though I don't have a diploma, as long as you do, I'm okay with that. You are our family's wealth and I am proud of you."
As of writing, the post had garnered more than 18,000 reactions and 5,000 shares online.