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Excellence is a Habit

Philippines, November 2015

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word—excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck’s words clearly resonate with 12-year old Erika, a sponsored child from Bulacan, Philippines who graduated with high honors and numerous achievements.

Erika is the eldest of four siblings born to hard-working parents. Her mother owns a small retail store operated from their rented house, while her father works as a tricycle taxi driver. Her siblings look up to her because she is determined and excels in both academic and non-academic activities in her school and community. Recently Erika has received recognition and numerous awards at the Muzon Pabahay Elementary School commencement, including sixth grade class valedictorian, second place in a district read-a-thon, Mayor of Supreme Pupil Government, division placement for math and writing, and leadership and excellence awards.

When Erika humbly received these awards during her recent graduation, her parents were so proud. According to Erika, she is inspired by her parents, teachers and siblings, “I want them to be proud of me always, thus, I make sure that everything I do is something worthwhile and excellent,” she proclaimed. In preparing for her examinations and competitions, she credits her devotion to practice as key, having learned from one of her teachers that “practice does not make perfect, but permanent.” Erika’s parents take good care of the family and it is that same guidance she provides for her younger siblings.

Erika and her parents are very grateful to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines (PSBP), to Pearl S. Buck International, and especially to her Sponsor, Virginia, for giving her the chance to pursue an education so that she can realize her dreams of becoming an engineer. Erika is confident that with her determination and love for family, in fifteen years she will achieve that goal, along with financial stability and a happy family of her own.

Erika suggests, “As a high achiever, I believe that there should be a balance between academic and human excellence. Academic excellence is being competent in all the subject areas in education and this is a great endeavor, while human excellence is being active and involved in humanitarian and social activities that will benefit one’s entire community and this is notably a great undertaking.” Even with Erika’s self-confidence in her academic and human excellence, she remains humble. She strives to be a good daughter and ‘big sister’ to her other young siblings.

Erika proves that sponsorship makes a difference in the life of a child and her family. With the support of her sponsor, Erika has what it takes to build a better life: good habits and the right attitude.