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Timbreza leads CDC graduating class

20 June 2019 by CSBucu

Grateful and humbled. This is how Samantha Johana Timbreza feels about graduating as valedictorian of this year's College of Development Communication graduating class.

Looking at her fellow graduates with high regard, she says everyone deserves recognition for reaching this far in the academic journey. "I know that I'm not the only one deserving of the honor when you talk about the effort and brilliance among the graduating class. I have so much faith in the talent and work ethic of Devcom students," she said.

Having finished her degree during the first semester of the academic year, she has already started working as an academic project assistant for the Ateneo School of Government's EU-funded project, Clean Energy Living Laboratories. In this line of work, she brings into her team the valuing for stakeholders by putting them first--a value that stayed with her since her days undergoing DevCom training--in every development initiative, including crafting of various communication materials.

For her, no development project is worthwhile if it is not designed according to the needs and preferences of stakeholders. "In everything I do, I always make it a point to listen and learn. That I guess is the best Devcom skill I learned," said Timbreza.

Timbreza is already 28, yet her wisdom comes not from the age difference from her peers but from her life experiences. She is a lupus survivor, diagnosed in 2005 during her third year in high school. During the active years of her disease, she was in and out of the hospital for treatments and relapses.
In 2011, when she was declared in remission, her family decided to enroll her in the Department of Education's Alternative Learning System Program. She finished the following year and gave the valedictory address as the student with the highest grade in the program's accreditation exam. Her entire eight years in college were still met with health woes, but going through her courses with three different batches allowed her to get to know more people and cultivate lasting friendships.

Admittedly, Timbreza was an enthusiastic student and she dreaded missing classes whether due to health reasons or weather-related class suspensions. Health, of course, was her top priority, and if that means taking a break and resting, then she does so.

She still considers herself average, having had her fair share of cramming, procrastination, and a slew of other mistakes. But, she said, she did her best in everything, even those without grades or recognition. She enjoyed quizzes and exams, even when she failed. She loved taking notes and attending classes.

Just feeling lucky and blessed to be alive, Timbreza considers everything else in her life a bonus.