Besting the 196 graduates of her class, the daughter of a farmer and a public school teacher from Echague, Isabela, wows netizens as she graduates as Valedictorian of ‘Masidlawin’ Class of 2020 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Cadet First Class Gemalyn Deocares Sugui, 25, earns the distinction of being the sixth woman to top the class since 1993, an impressive achievement highlighted by the fact that the academy was founded in 1905.
The 25-year-old Sugui admitted that she did not expect to become the Class Valedictorian.
“Siguro may plano ang Diyos bakit nilagay Niya ako sa position na ito kahit na hindi ko man ito pinagdarasal na makuha, binigay Niya sa akin kasi kaya ko,” she said.
The young woman will also receive several awards, aside from her medal as Class Valedictorian. Sugui will be conferred the Presidential Saber, the Philippine Army Saber, the Achievement Award for Academic Excellence, the Spanish Armed Forces Award, the JUSMAG Award, the Social Sciences Plaque, the Rule of Law Award, and the Management Plaque.
She plans to join the Philippine Army. Of the 196 graduates, 100 will join the Philippine Army, 51 will join the Philippine Navy, and 45 will join the Philippine Air Force. The following are the Top 10 of Class 2020:
- Gemalyn Sugui of Echague, Isabela
- Jade Villanueva of Tacloban City
- Jefferson Salazar of Zamboanga City
- Rojes Gaile Jamandre of Lamut, Ifugao
- Jeb Bay-an of Kabayan, Benguet
- Catabay Ladyong of Tabuk, Kalinga-apayao
- Vanelyn Angel Tabao of Tuguegarao City
- June Giel Anne Factor of Ilocos Norte
- Rubenson Abgao of Baroy, Lanao Del Norte
- Dencel Aina Bayaca of Pampanga
This year, the graduation rites will be different from tradition. There will be no testimonial parade and review to honor retiring alumni and Trooping the Line where cadets are supposed to assemble in formations on Fort Del Pilar’s Borromeo Field in Baguio City. Instead, the ceremony will smaller and won’t include the graduates’ parents and the media.
Unlike other schools, the PMA can still hold a real graduation with the students in attendance because they had been staying at the PMA grounds, away from ‘outside’ contact. However, their families can’t be in attendance as precautionary measures against COVID-19.
“Malungkot talaga ako kasi ito talaga ang hinihintay ng family ko na masaksihan sa lahat ng event ng PMA, ito ang pinaka importante kasi ito na ang pagtatapos ng paghihirap ko dito sa academy,” Sugui said.
The last time the PMA was unable to hold graduation rites was during World War II.