Visayas State University (VSU) started as a small agricultural school and then gradually developed as time went by. In its 100 years of service, it has produced notable individuals in the field of agriculture, just like these two #TatakViscan who were shaped to be a sower of change – an agriculturist who cultivates success.


Dr. Milagros C. Bales and Sean Jade Nicole Picorro-Lejas, both Viscan agriculturalists in different disciplines, shared one trait worth cultivating: a compassionate heart. Although separated by time, both shared one vision: to help those who are at the grassroots.


Herewith, Amaranth shows another aspect of what makes a #TatakViscan story, one that radiates passion and compassion through hardships.

Sean Jade Nicole Picorro-Lejas: Green will, Gold heart

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Sean Jade Nicole Picorro-Lejas, from Gandara, Samar, is currently taking a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He is in his second year. He applied for the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) by DOLE during his senior high school days, which made him see the hardships of farmers. Sean relates to the local farmers and wants to share what he learned at VSU with them. Driven by empathy, he aspires to be the catalyst for change by lending a helping hand in agricultural innovation and crop protection for more fruitful yields. He planted his dreams with the hope that they would be nurtured alongside the bountiful smiles of the people he helped.


Sean is one of the Viscans selected for the EAsY Agri Scholarship Program in the Department of Agriculture (DA) by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and is a member of The Visca Polyphonics, a choir organization in The Holy Spirit Parish.

Dr. Milagros C. Bales: Fulfillment in helping others fulfill their dreams

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What makes Dr. Bales stand out is that she is a visionary. As one of the graduates of the Visayas State College of Agriculture (ViSCA), she witnessed how VSU honed her passion for creating projects for farmers and fellow viscans.


Dr. Bales graduated with a Bachelor's degree of Science in Development Education majoring in Agricultural Extension in 1980, a Masters Degree in Agricultural Extension in 1995, and a PhD in Agricultural Education in 2010. During her time at ViSCA, she experienced hardships just like any other student. These experiences did not stop her from helping her peers. She joined organizations to help others, forming unbreakable bonds that are as unbreakable as her will. She continued doing all of these until she became a research assistant after her bachelor's degree. 


She also helped in the planning of Farmers and Fisherfolks Day in 1983 as well as the Search for Outstanding Farmers proposed by her in 1996. Dr. Bales served 43 years of service in the Department of Agricultural Extension before she retired last 2023.


A Lesson Worth Sharing


When asked about lessons he learned in life, Sean imparted five that he wants to share with his fellow Viscans. 


"We all have potential; we just have to unlock and find the key within us. If our body demands rest, give it. Always prioritize health. Time management becomes useless if you don't make it a discipline. If you truly want to achieve your dreams, you need to fight for them and find something to encourage and inspire you to continue.” Lejas said.


“Before I applied for the scholarship, I doubted myself if I could pass it, knowing that only 14 slots were available out of the numerous students who aspired for it. But because of my courage and my inspiration, I found the audacity to try. That attempt is something I don't regret now. Let your passion be your energy to continue, but always remember, never just go with the flow. You always have to assess your path." Sean explained.


Meanwhile, Dr. Bales emphasizes that you must love what you do.


"We create our own student life, if we don't create our student life more meaningful and vibrant, it would be meaningless. If you are not committed to something you want, you won't sustain if you don't have dedication or passion ". Dr. Bales said.


From potency to act itself


Highly competitive human resources, cutting-edge scientific knowledge, and innovative technologies for sustainable communities and the environment –– this is the mission of VSU that every Viscan aspires to be. Two of the many are Dr. Bales and Mr. Lejas, who compassionately bridge the gap between education and application in the field of Agriculture. 


As VSU celebrates its centennial anniversary –– the hundredth year after its humble start as Baybay Agricultural School inspiring stories of Agriculturists that are rooted in the roots of our school itself showcase the enduring legacy of innovation and dedication that has defined our institution through its rich history. Its past success, present actions, and plans, all started as a sprout that grows into a fruition of success both locally and globally. That's what a #ProudViscan is.


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