A SCHOLAR of Carmen Copper Corp. and sole graduate from Cebu topped the September 2022 Social Worker Licensure Exam.

Ann Millennie Antoque of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) landed in ninth place with a rating of 86.40 percent. She is the first scholar to top a licensure examination since the Carmen Copper Scholarship Program started in 2012.

“I am blessed to become a registered social worker and immensely grateful to be a topnotcher. This was made possible through the scholarship grant from Carmen Copper Corp. I was fortunate enough to receive,” she said.

Antoque, who hails from Toledo City, also attributed her success to the mentoring of her professors, the unceasing support of her family and friends and her faith.

The 22-year-old’s academic journey had not been easy. She recalled being in a quandary about what degree program to take in college, given her family’s growing financial needs.

Her father works as a truck operator at Carmen Copper while her mother manages their small sari-sari store.

At that time, her two older brothers were in college and their youngest was also in high school.

“Pursuing tertiary education seemed like a luxury for me. I was trapped in a state of whether or not to pursue it but a passionate heart seeks her way out,” she said.

Fresh out of senior high school, Antoque passed the entrance exam for psychology at the Cebu Normal University. However, she decided against enrolling at the state university because she believed she was meant for something else.

The search for her purpose led her to the course that changed her life forever.

“I truly desired to make an impact, to be a catalyst, to be an agent of change. I found out that my heart beats for the social worker profession,” Antoque said.

Antoque juggled work and her studies as a working scholar of USPF. It was a tedious responsibility, especially for a college freshman.

She took a leap of faith during her second year when she heard that Carmen Copper was accepting scholarship applicants. The rest is history.

As a Carmen Copper scholar, Antoque enjoyed full tuition and monthly allowances, among others.

“This opportunity comes with hard work, so I worked hard every day to get a pleasing grade. I focused on my studies and learned about the things that will hone me into a social worker who can deliver quality service,” she said.

After finishing school, Antoque spent two months preparing for the licensure exam. Although it had been hectic, she was grateful she was able to emerge victorious.

“The key is self-discipline and most importantly, having faith that God will put you in the right place. As what my father tells us, ASAP—Always Say a Prayer,” Antoque said.

It takes a whole community to educate a child. As such, Carmen Copper Corp. allocates a significant amount of its resources to help provide access to quality and inclusive education.

Through its Social Development and Management Program, the company has sent to school 1,953 children of underprivileged families to date.

Antoque is one of 79 Carmen Copper scholars who graduated last school year. Of the number, 43 were recipients of academic awards and Latin honors.