JESSICA Soho advised new graduates: Stay in Cebu and share your knowledge.

The multi-awarded broadcast journalist and TV host was at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu to encourage graduates to practice their craft in Cebu.

Soho, a Mass Communications graduate of UP Diliman, was the keynote speaker of UP Cebu’s commencement rites this year.

UP Cebu Dean Liza Corro, in her speech, said that this year has the most number of graduates with honors—six Magna Cum Laude and 57 Cum Laude graduates.

“I express my fervent hope that some of our graduates will choose to remain in Cebu. Invest your talent here and create more opportunities for your province mates,” said Soho, who praised Cebu’s furniture, scenic spots, “wonderful” seafood and the hospitality of the Cebuanos.

The George Foster Peabody awardee said that every time she visits Cebu, her “faith in our country and in our people is renewed.”

Aside from the “bragging rights,” Soho said the most important thing she learned from UP is excellence.

Quoting her former professor Solita Monsod, Soho said, “honor comes first before excellence.”

Monsod is now her colleague in GMA News and Public Affairs.

Soho also shared a tip for those who want to become famous.

“Fame, like wealth, should only come as a consequence of hard work. Dadating ang mga yan basta mag-pursigi ka lang (Those will come eventually as long as you persevere),” she said.

“Prepare to fail. But of course it’s better if you can avoid or prevent it from happening. Now despite all your efforts and you still fail, don’t take too long on the ground. Get up, and get up fast and make sure you learned something from your failures,” Soho said.

When she accepted the invitation to be the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, Soho waived the P20,000 that she would have received from UP to cover her accommodation and travel expenses.

Instead, she gave it to an incoming second year Computer Science student, Aia Diana Pilar.

The P20,000 will be given as financial assistance for 10 months (P2,000 per month) to the 17-year old Pilar, who is the breadwinner of her family in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.

She works as an office clerk in a consultancy firm for a summer job.

UP Cebu’s Office of Student Affairs chose Pilar from a list of five students with financial needs as the beneficiary of the grant from Soho.

Before the commencement exercises, Pilar thanked Soho for the help.

Pilar said Soho’s party asked for her number and told her that she can call anytime she needs help.

She also said that she was not expecting the “blessing.”

A few weeks ago, she appealed for a tuition discount through UP’s Socialized Tuition System (STS).

To repay Soho and UP, Pilar said she will study hard and try to excel in the program she’s enrolled in.