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Atenean graduates summa cum laude, class valedictorian

Lisa Marie Mesiona/AdDU Intern


“Do things with love and you can move mountains.”

Those were the words that kept John Paul Sapsal, the summa cum laude and class valedictorian of the Ateneo Batch 2024, spirited. 

Graduation is a momentous feat, but ‘JP,’ as fondly called by those endeared to him, has always been an achiever. Not only him though, as he shares his achievement with his section 4A classmates, who all graduated with Latin honors.

Recounting his early childhood, he has always had that drive to learn. “Even when I was young, my parents saw the potential in me, and so they pushed me to strive,” JP recalled.

Among his achievements were Most Outstanding Student, Highest QPI, Most Outstanding Jubilee Scholar, and Isla Lipana & Co. Academic and Leadership Excellence Award. With the plethora of accomplishments, JP’s parents could not help but beam with pride.

JP has always been a motivated student. His days back in Our Lady of Fatima Academy also ended with him as the class valedictorian. When asked about his Ateneo journey, JP could not help but be candid. “I struggled, especially in an online set-up driven by the pandemic,” he said.

For his freshman year, JP admits his routine was all over the place. He realized what he knew was just the tip of the iceberg. He was overwhelmed with the set-up and Accountancy itself, so much so that he considered shifting to a different program. 

Favorably, he persevered and continued his sophomore year in the same program. But neither was it short of problems. As he vividly recalls, he was disconnected for 30 minutes in the final exam, which determined the final grades, due to a typhoon. 

“I was crying in the arms of my father,” JP related. “I reviewed one month for the exam and I was not able to safe-keep my answers on a paper.” 

But he prayed to God for signs, and he was answered. After cries, hiccups, and calls from professors, JP was reconnected and discovered his answers were auto-saved. He was able to finish his second year with a flat 4.00 grade.

A hump came in junior year, though, as his longstanding straight As streak was broken by a summer course. He admitted it was a sacrifice he had to make to juggle classes and extracurriculars. 

“I was disheartened, but I took it as a sign that I cannot always get what I want,” JP shared. “It  changed my perspective and helped me grow further.”

Equipped and experienced, JP braved through his senior year acing classes and mentoring fellow students. “Everything that transpired through my three years in college enabled me to become an Ateneo sui generis leader,” JP said. 

In leaving the halls of Ateneo, JP also leaves advice to students and dreamers alike; find your own tribe, learn to say ‘no,’ and trust the process.

As for his next route, JP plans to review for the CPA Licensure Exam and take it thereafter. For now, he finds pleasure in revisiting hobbies, rekindling with friends, and resting. He’s taking his time to breathe before braving on another journey ahead.



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