Life Lessons

A story about resilience, never giving up, and selflessness.

In 2004, a tragic event in Philippine history occurred when a flash flood hit Infanta, Quezon. Many people lost their lives and livelihoods. Maridel Torres and her family, who lived on a small farm in the area, were fortunate to survive. However, they faced a heavy loss as their farm and livelihood was destroyed in an instant. This is the story of how Maridel overcame tragedy and built a life to be proud of. 

“They are the ones who are there for me no matter what happens, why not provide for them as long as I can?”  


Life was hard growing up for Maridel. Sometimes, they did not have enough food on the table, but they always had enough love and that was more than what she needed to keep going. Her family’s love for one another was her inspiration to succeed in life, because when she succeeded, she knew they did too. Believing that education would set a good foundation for a brighter future, she worked hard in school. She consistently came out at the top of her class and graduated high school eventually. Life forced her to grow up quickly, but she and her family were resilient and connected by an unbreakable bond that made things possible despite the hardships they faced. 

“Growing up poor, it’s not like you can do what you want” 

Never Giving Up

Maridel wanted to become an engineer first, but because of financial challenges her family couldn’t afford tuition. She chose to become an educator instead. With a strong determination to achieve her goal, Maridel graduated from university and became a high school teacher in her province. She still found a way to share her passion and taught Math for seven years.

Her life became one of service to her family and students. Maridel was driven by the belief that she must do everything that she could to make life better for her family. That has been her motivation since she was a little girl and still remained when she decided to take a chance and move to Canada. Miraculously, Maridel and her family were able to gather the funds so she could take the next step in her life: attending Stenberg College. She is now building her foundations in a new land, away from her family, but they remain in her heart. As part of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, she continues her devotion to serving others. There is no sign that Maridel will give up on her passion for education and helping others, not even a hint of slowing down. 


Maridel is working hard to build the future she believes she can have, a future that she and her family can enjoy together. Her journey has involved many sacrifices to get to where she is now. This is a testament to her selflessness and unwavering love for her family. Currently, her top priorities are becoming a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Canada, find a pathway to permanent residency, and continue to assist her family in the Philippines. She hopes to bring her family to Canada someday so they can be together once again and enjoy the promise of a better life. 


John Santos graduated with distinction from Stenberg College’s Business Diploma (Marketing Specialization) in 2024. He is currently interning with Stenberg College’s Marketing Department. He was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines where he lived with his parents and 3 other siblings. He has always had a great interest for sales and marketing and graduated with a bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Santo Tomas. John plans to continue his studies at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the fall, stay with his family here in Canada for good, and establish himself as a successful digital marketer in the future.

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Program: Early Childhood Education
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