MANILA - Talent and personality are more important than grades, said 19-year old Paulene Puno Thursday, after a Facebook post of her brother graduating from Grade 6 with a 76-percent grade average went viral.
In a Facebook post, Puno said her adopted brother Izhar Wayne Alfon one day came home in disbelief after finding out that he would be graduating.
"One day, after school, he came running home, excitedly shouting "mama, gagraduate daw ako (Mama, I will be graduating)!" He sat down between me and our mama and he continued with "Ate totoo pala ang birthday wish kasi ang wish ko sana maka-graduate ako tapos nagka totoo (Ate, my birthday wish came true)," she wrote.
Alfon apparently has "difficulty" reading, writing and speaking and is smaller compared to other 12-year-olds, Puno said. The family had been resigned he would repeat the grade level. But he somehow pulled through.
On April 1, Alfon marched alongside the 6th grade graduating class of the Fairview Elementary School in Baguio City.
"Grades are actually important, but above that, I think talent and personality is more important. Marami po kasi ang hindi magaling sa academics pero magaling sa sports, sa arts, or sa ibang mga activity (Many are not good in academics but are good in sports, the arts and other activities)," Puno told ABS-CBN News.
"Grades will never define him. He may have low grades, but he has a great character, an attitude that we will never exchange for anything. He can't explain himself clearly with words, but his actions speak for him," the post said.
Puno posted an image of her brother and his report card with grades that ranged from 74 percent to 79 percent. His highest grades were a score of 81 for his Arts subject and an 83 for his Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao class.
As of this posting, it has garnered over 150,000 reactions and has been shared 41,000 times since it was posted on April 5.
"We never made him feel bad about himself because we know that behind those almost failing grades... [are] dreams and a great character," the viral post said.
Puno said Alfon, whose biological mother died of Lupus and whose father has a new family, needs to be assessed by professionals but it has not been done due logistics and financial concerns.
Despite the challenges, Alfon has "kept on trying." He is currently enrolled in Taekwondo lessons and has shown interest in music, particularly beat boxing, Puno said.
He also wants to become a police officer, she said.
"Dream po ng brother ko ang maging pulis. Dream niya po maka-graduate ng college. Dream niya rin po makabili ng bahay at kotse para daw sa family namin. I guess, my dream for him is for him to reach all of his dreams po," she said.
(It is his dream to become a policeman. It is his dream to graduate from college. It is his dream to buy a house and a car for our family.)