Harold Pacaña was riding on a motorcycle with his father on the evening of May 29 when he shouted for joy. He received a text message saying that he and two of his classmates topped the government’s licensure examination for the accountancy program.
“I feel I was in cloud nine,” Pacaña, who graduated summa cum laude from USJ-R, said. “I had very little sleep because of the many congratulatory calls and texts that I received all throughout the night.”
The Professional Regulation Commission announced on its website that Pacaña landed on the sixth place of the top ten finishers of the May 2017 Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Licensure Examination with an average grade of 91.00.
Fellow Josenians Marie Claire Cortes and Jessele Ann Echavez — both magna cum laude graduates — shared the seventh spot with an average grade of 90.67.
“I am the only hope of my parents. My father works as a family driver and my mother is a house caretaker, and they see me as their only hope who could take them out of poverty,” said Pacaña.
The topnotchers credited the university’s Accountancy program — the flagship program of the College of Commerce — for their success in the board exams.
Mr. Brian Alenton, director of the university’s CPA Review Center, said the university doesn’t just prepare students to pass the CPA licensure exams but train them to become good CPAs as well.
He said aside from the “exhaustive review sessions,” they are also employing a “rigorous screening” process for the accountancy students so that only the best remain.
“Even in the undergraduate level, our training is already intensive,” Mr. Alenton said. “We set a passing grade of 2.0 for all major subjects and we give them qualifying exams every year so that we can truly screen who can make it to the next level.”
He said failure to reach the passing grade of 2.0 means the student has to retake the subject or is advised to shift to another program.
Failure to pass the qualifying exams, moreover, also means the student has to shift to another degree program.
“We tell our students that the training is tough and tedious, but it will all be worth it in the end,” he said.
Cortes, who was emotional when the topnotchers faced the Cebu media for an interview, said the whole process was far from easy.
“One needs to devote one’s time, to sacrifice a portion of one’s self in order to attain what one wants,” Cortes said. “It was really for us that our teachers squeezed every bit our character because it was only us who benefitted in the end.”
The topnotchers agreed that a good study habit helped them overcome all obstacles thrown their way.
Mr. Alenton said he is happy that of the top performing schools, it was USJ-R that produced 100 CPAs.
Of the 130 examinees from USJ-R, 100 passed or a 76.92% passing rate, way above the national passing rate of only 35.14% — or 3,389 passers out of the 9,645 takers.
The university will be giving the topnotchers P75,000 and a laptop each. Text by IPA; photo by Yoland Yap