BAYBAY CITY, Leyte – “Thank you, Jia. You had further reinforced my resolve to make good in my studies and appreciate the opportunity that God has given me in this learning institution.”

This was how the Visayas State University Senior High School (VSU-SHS) valedictorian, Jerome Zafico, paid tribute to his late classmate Jia Kissel Bornias, who died in February 26, 2018, after suffering from Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.

Zafico paid tribute to Bornias on May 30, 2018 in his valedictory speech at the VSU gymnatorium during the first Commencement Exercises of VSU-SHS.

He confessed that her desire to go back to school served as an inspiration for him to to do well.

“It broke my heart as her mom told us that before she went into comma, it was her wish to get well and to get back to school,” said Zafico.

He quoted Jia saying, “Ma, ganahan nako maayo kay ganahan nako mubalik ug eskwela."

[Ma, I want to get better already because I want to go back to school]

In the height of her hospital stay, Zafico further revealed that his former classmate pleaded to submit her chemistry project, an act that displayed Jia's perseverance and dedication to her studies.

“She even asked them [his classmates] to submit the soft drink bottles she has collected for her project in Chemistry. That even if she is still in her sick bed,” he said.

The incident, according to Zafico, left an impact that made him reflect on his own studies as well.

“Wherever you may be now, Jia, thank you for the inspiration and you will always be remembered.”

Zafico took the Accountancy, Business, and Management (ABM) strand and graduated with a GPA of 96.24% from among the VSU's pilot batch of Senior High School students

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