The seventh child of a farmer with nine sons, Romnick L. Blanco lived a poor life in a quiet village in Bulacan, set in the northern foothills of the Sierra Madre.
Like many poor folks living in hinter barangays in the Philippines, Romnick had to walk several miles to school and cross a bridgeless river that’s impassable many days during the rainy season.
He could have quit school out of exhaustion but Romnick had big dreams. Instead, he never missed a day of school, as long as he could cross that river!
In 2011, his diligence was duly noticed by GreenEarth Heritage Foundation, a charity organization that helps poor farmers’ children gain access to English and computer literary classes. Romnick was among those chosen by the foundation as scholars, providing him with allowance to help cover the costs of going to school.
Smart and diligent, the young man would impress the foundation. He would soon receive scholarship to the International School Manila, known as the oldest international high school in the country.
He didn’t fail their expectations. He continued to excel in school, despite his difficult background.
Amazingly, as he graduated in 2017, Romnick was offered full scholarship by several foreign schools, including the prestigious ivy-league Harvard University! He was also granted full scholarship at Wesleyan University, New York University at Abu Dhabi, and Dartmouth College.
This young lad chose Harvard. The university will provide him with full scholarship, including tuition fees and miscellaneous, board and lodging, clothing allowance, and plane tickets. Wow!
Who would have thought that a poor farmer’s son who used to walk several miles to schools would now be walking in the walls of Harvard University?
It was an incredible blessing that Romnick was certainly thankful for. To give back, he chose to take a gap year so he could volunteer in providing tutorial services and classes to fellow foundation scholars.
Aside from this, he also planted more trees as part of his advocacy for a greener Earth; he has already planted over 1,500 trees even before he graduated from high school.
As he starts his first year in Harvard, he keeps an open mind as to what course he would focus on. At Harvard, incoming freshmen are not expected to choose a course yet, but Romnick feels he might focus on math, history, economics, or environmental studies next year.
But what this young man really wants is for more farmers’ kids to enjoy the same opportunities he’s had over the years.
“Right now, my mind is focused on preparing for my next mountain to climb—Harvard. But if I may share what is in my mind—I yearn to see many more farmers’ children experience my blessings.
If not for my foundation coming to our neck of the woods teaching us to live, hope and dream and backing us up all the way, you would not be writing about me today. There are a number of other farmers’ children who are very promising in our community.
If only GreenEarth had more resources to look after many of us, my beloved foundation has proven that it knows what to do to help get a farmer’s child to Ivy League!
I pray more people will consider supporting us in our movement of transforming land, transforming lives.”
What a truly inspiring young man!