70-year-old to graduate from P’sinan university

70-year-old to graduate from P’sinan university

DAGUPAN CITY – He is 70 and proud to be the oldest graduate of Pangasinan State University (PSU), batch 2014-2015.

Jesus Peralta Martinez of Barangay Malued will march along with 1,376 other graduates on April 14 during PSU commencement ceremonies at the CSI Stadia.

Martinez told The STAR on Wednesday that he is excited because after he dropped out of college more than 40 years ago, he finally managed to pursue his life-long dream of having a college diploma. In 2013 he enrolled in the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) in PSU’s Lingayen campus.

He took another year to finish his Masters in Development Management in PSU’s Urdaneta City campus.

The ETEEAP is an assessment and accreditation program in which prior work experience and other non-traditional means of education are awarded corresponding academic credits.

Run by the Commission on Higher Education in partnership with colleges and universities nationwide, academic credits could also be chalked up for a corresponding graduate degree in the applicant’s preferred field.

The program is open to all Filipino high school graduates or those with higher educational attainment, at least 22 years old and have been employed for at least five years in the field or industry in which she or he is applying for an equivalency.

“I had worked so hard in my life. It’s about time to take care of myself and pursue my dream,” he said.

He said his graduation from college and eventually getting his master’s degree on April 14 is for “self-fulfillment and contentment.”

Martinez said he stopped schooling when he migrated to the United States where he worked as an insurance agent.

He later became an insurance broker and put up the Jess Martinez Insurance Agency from 1970 to the present.

A dual Filipino and US citizen, Martinez has seven children, all professionals and living in the US. He has nine grandchildren.

Martinez said he focused first on the education of his children.

After that was over and done with, he said he still felt “something lacking.”

“This time I have to think of myself,” he said, deciding to hit the books again.

A friend encouraged Martinez to use ETEAAP to earn his college course. It was easy for him to finish his MDM degree due to his work experience as retirement adviser, notary public and tax consultant in the US.

He said most people dream of having a college degree but sometimes circumstances are not favorable.

“To me it was others first before self. But now that my children are professionals, it’s about time I also go back to school and earn my dream degree,” he said.

As a senior citizen, he said he did not get any special attention from his classmates and professors. “We were treated equally,” he said.

“For sure I would feel elated and good because this never happened before in my life,” Martinez said about his graduation on Tuesday.

He said one of his children gave him $1,000 as graduation gift.

He encourages other dropouts who failed to get their college degree “to do it, despite their age, when you have already the chance to do so because it will make you feel good.”

He said that in their high school yearbook, he wrote that he wanted to become a lawyer.

Martinez said that this summer he would enroll in law school here, “to keep me alive and going.”