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No More “Grad-waiting” for this Hyundai Scholar

Posted September 22, 2020

Bret’s HNTC Journey: in 2015 with team mates and their winning H2O Flood Project (top photos) and a Cum Laude in BS Environmental Science, Ateneo Class of 2020 (lower photos).

Ateneo de Manila University’ Bret De Leon emerged as one of the successful scholars of the Hyundai New Thinkers Circuit (HNTC), a flagship program of H.A.R.I. Foundation, Inc. (HFI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

HNTC was crafted to discover and train deserving public high school students to be leaders and innovators in climate change. The program consisted of boot camps and exploration activities in the country’s famed nature spots to elicit from the chosen participants’ innovative projects that would help solve the climate change concerns of their specific communities. The activities culminated with the awarding of college scholarships to the best-performing participants.

Bret, a graduate of Valenzuela City Science High School, was among them.

“He wrote us a very heart-warming thank you card,” said HFI President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo. “Bret’s university journey ends, but he is up for even better journeys ahead. This is the ‘heart’ of HARI Foundation: to fulfill the deepest aspirations of the people we touch. My dream for Bret and his fellow-HNTC scholars is that they persevere in their commitment to provide solutions to the country’s environmental issues.”

Now that he has crossed the finish line with a Cum Laude degree in BS Environmental Science, Bret never ceases to be proud and grateful for HFI’s opening windows of opportunity to him and his fellow scholars. “The HNTC has really empowered us as we were given the chance to execute our efforts in addressing the impact of climate change.... The HNTC experience made me realize that I wanted to dedicate a portion of my life to knowing and caring for the environment. Apart from helping me in this realization, HNTC also definitely laid out the bridge towards this dream through this scholarship.”

Neither did he imagine that he would set foot on the Ateneo campus, much less spend the best years of his young life there. “The tuition fees are not a joke, so I made sure that I made the most out of my five years in the BS ES program,” he recalls. And shine he did, as a Program Awardee and with consistently excellent grades overall in both his Science and Humanities subjects. Bret was also a handpicked exchange student to the 2019 Spring Program of the Kumamoto University in Japan and a delegate to the 2018 Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Indonesia.

“I will be forever thankful for this opportunity. I hope Hyundai continues to trust the youth and give them the same opportunity that I had.... I look forward to a much sustainable and environmentally-friendly Hyundai in the next years,” he continued, looking forward to march at the university commencement exercises later this year.