CEBU CITY -- One of Cebu’s biggest universities found "vindication" in the fact that one of its graduates joined six other examinees from Cebu in the top 10 of the latest nursing board exams.

Marie Kathrina Toralba Tojong of the University of the Visayas (UV) in Mandaue City ranked eighth in the Nursing Licensure Examination, with a rating of 85 percent. She shared the spot with Jose Mari Abella Flores of the Cebu Normal University (CNU).

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They are among the seven students from Cebu schools who made it to the top 10 in the Nursing Licensure Examination held last July.

Five of the seven local graduates in the top 10 are graduates of CNU, while one is from Velez College. Nationwide, 90 examinees made it to the top 10 list.

The results of the licensure examination were released Friday, barely a month after the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) was reported to have issued an order closing the nursing programs of at least 147 schools, including UV.

According to Ched, these schools performed below the national passing percentage rate of 46.14 percent in the board exams of the past five years.

But UV president Eduardo Gullas said the Ched director already made a formal apology to him for UV’s inclusion in the list.

Proof

When the reports of Ched’s low-performing schools list surfaced, Gullas said, UV presented to the commission proof of their students’ performance in the nursing board.

The university’s passing percentage was above the national percentage in the six most recent nursing board exams.

Gullas, who also represents the first district in the House of Representatives, said he was elated with the feat of Tojong and the rest of the university’s successful examinees.

For her achievement, Tojong will be reimbursed all her school fees.

Passing the nursing board exam was all they wanted. But what Tojong, Jose Mari Flores, Razel Mae Libot and Kristine Macasero achieved was far greater: they all made it to the list of top passers.

In separate interviews, the four said they were overwhelmed.

“I didn’t expect it,” said Macasero, 21, a graduate of CNU. She ranked tenth with a score of 84.60 percent.

Disbelief, joy

Flores was busy cleaning their house when the news of his achievement reached him. “I acted crazy for a while. I ran around the house,” he said. Also a graduate of CNU, he ranked eighth with a score of 85 percent.

Tojong said she was surprised after several text messages congratulating her filled her inbox. “I immediately looked up the results over the Internet. I’m very happy,” she said.

Libot, who ranked tenth, felt disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. Libot, 21, is a graduate of CNU.

The four attributed their success to their prayers and the efforts they exerted in preparing for the exam, which was held last July 3-4.

“I studied hard and prayed for divine intervention,” said Macasero. She said she dedicates her success to God and her supportive family.

Flores, who admitted he is carefree most of the time, said she prayed every night and studied “intently.” Libot, who has sung for her church’s choir since high school, said her success was an answered prayer.

Tojong said it was her prayer, confidence and diligence that brought her success.

Although they love to stay and work in Cebu, they said their career paths might eventually lead them abroad.

Macasero said she will probably go to New Zealand or the United States after gaining enough work experience in Cebu.

Flores said he will likely work in Colorado, USA, where he has an uncle working as a physical therapist.

Paying back

Libot, a scholar of Ched, said will likely grab the opportunity to work abroad if she finds one. “I want to pay my country back. If I get compensated well enough here, then I would stay,” she added.

Taking advance studies abroad is one of Tojong’s plans. She is presently completing a masteral degree in nursing. “I want to help my fellow Cebuanos. But it really depends on a lot of things,” she said.

Dr. Emma Amores, dean of UV College of Nursing, said she’s very proud of Tojong, who was a transferee from another nursing school. She described Tojong as a very diligent student.

“We not only trained our students with highly qualified instructors, we also nurture them,” she said.

The other passers from Cebu are Cris Ray Dumaguin (7th) of Velez College, and Merjorie May Adolfo (7th) and Ivy Barrete Susvilla (9th) of CNU. (Garry Carbotaje/Rebelader S. Basilan of Sun.Star Cebu)