Blind College Student Graduates From the University of Santo Tomas (UST)

Meet Jerome Santiago, the First Blind Graduate from UST

JEROME SANTIAGO – The 28-year-old student has made a significant achievement as the first blind graduate from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Commerce and Business Administration. Born with visual impairment, Santiago’s sight deteriorated further during his pre-teen years, yet he has demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination throughout his educational journey.

Despite the challenges posed by his disability, Santiago proved that it was no hindrance to his academic success. He remained motivated by the opportunity to study at UST, a dream for many, and was determined to make the most of it, even in moments of doubt and discouragement.

Santiago also sought to raise awareness about the capabilities of visually impaired individuals, emphasizing that disabilities do not diminish a person’s worth or abilities. He highlighted the importance of educating society about how individuals with disabilities cope and continue to lead fulfilling lives.

“Kahit naman may disability ‘yung tao, meron pa rin siyang worth. Meron pa rin siyang abilities. Meron pa rin siyang mga kayang gawin,” Santiago stated.

His mother, Elena Santiago, expressed her pride in her son’s achievements despite facing misunderstandings and criticisms from others. She encouraged him to ignore those who could not comprehend his situation and to persevere.

“Meron din kasing mga tao na hindi makaintindi kung ano ‘yung kalagayan nila pero hayaan mo lang sila, basta go on. Maligayang-maligaya ako kasi kahit na may kapansanan, nag-struggle pa rin siya,” Elena said.

The University of Santo Tomas sees Santiago’s accomplishment as a milestone that underscores its commitment to inclusivity. Associate Professor Elizabeth Magbata, PhD, chair of the Department of Financial Management at the College of Commerce, affirmed that the university welcomes all students, recognizing that everyone has the right to education.

“Ito ay isang patunay na ang university ay inclusive so sa lahat ng klase ng bata ay dapat tanggapin kasi karapatan nila na pumasok sa isang ganitong pamantasan,” Magbata concluded.

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