Text by Stephen J Pedroza and Alex Belen
Photo courtesy of The Crusader Yearbook 2017

After five years of defying odds and exerting sheer determination, Jay Nelson Corbita rose as a summa cum laude in Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering of the Class of 2017 — and now, he is the Top 1 in the latest Mechanical Engineer Licensure Exam (MELE).

Bearing a cumulative rating of 92.20%, Corbita is the second Mechanical Engineering graduate of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan to land on the highest spot of MELE. (The first one was Mark Anthony Pana in April 1993.) 

Based on the official results released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Tuesday, October 3, only 3,517 out of 5,098 passed the test, earning a national passing rate of 68.98%.

Including Corbita, 25 Xavier Ateneo graduates passed the MELE, reaping a passing rate of 71.43%.

The exam was administered by the Professional Regulatory Board of Mechanical Engineering on September 28 and 29 in Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, and Lucena. Its coverage included Power Plant Engineering (35%), Mathematics, Engineering Economics and Basic Engineering Services (35%), and Machine Design, Materials and Shop Practice (30%).

(For the Roll of Successful Examinees in the Mechanical Engineer Licensure Examination, pop over here.)

Throwback: #XUSummaCumLaudeSeries

In the #XUSummaCumLaudeSeries published earlier in March, Corbita shared that his road towards becoming a summa cum laude was not an easy trail. It was one that he could not have done all by himself.

Jay’s father worked as a school janitor in a private school near their home and his mother sold ice candies, hotcakes, and banana cue, all so that they could have a roof over their heads, a meal in their bellies, and quality education.

He was raised to never have an idle moment and to study hard, especially when it comes to preparing for exams. It was because of his parents’ persistence and guidance that Jay graduated from elementary school as class valedictorian and was able to get a scholarship at a nearby private high school.

He also graduated valedictorian in high school and in the process bagged a college scholarship at Xavier Ateneo.

He said that his two brothers influenced him to take BS Mechanical Engineering. “My brothers influenced me to take mechanical engineering. During the time when I had to choose a program, one of them was already a licensed mechanical engineer and one was a graduating mechanical engineering student. Aside from the free books I can get from them as references, they could also give me pieces of advice in one way or another as I take my course,” Corbita recounted.

Although they did not have much financially, Corbita said that his family has always been close to one another.

“Ever since we were little, our parents always taught us to help each other in times of problems and to share what we have with each other. My parents were the ones who disciplined me to work hard in school, especially when it comes to studying. Besides being disciplinarians, they always find time to bond with me and my siblings,” he said.

Pressure and success

Corbita described his student life at Xavier Ateneo as “a life in pursuit of academic excellence and quality learning.”

“As a valedictorian back in high school, a lot of things were really expected of me, especially by my high school teachers. When I entered college, I really had that big dream of graduating a summa cum laude. At first, I had a lot of doubts. But when I received my final grades in my first semester in college, I realized that I could make that dream come true.”

With the boosted confidence and “pressure” he received from almost everyone he knew, he thought of that dream all the time, something that’s etched deeply in his core.

"I feel a certain excitement every time I learn something new, especially in the field of science. For me, that passion contributed a lot to my academic success,” Corbita said.

“I am who I am now because of my family and because of God who was always there for our family.”∎

(FULL STORY: #XUSummaCumLaudeSeries: Jay Nelson Corbita defies odds in the name of his dreams)