AT LAST: The First Summa cum Laude

By Charlie L. Simon

“For me I am a Titanium. Not the hardest metal, meaning not perfect, but gives quality and good performance when used.”

The statement above was his firm answer when asked about something he would compare himself to. It was a humble answer from a person who first received the highest distinction awarded to any graduating student, the summa cum laude. At last, after 41 years of waiting, Capitol University had her first summa cum laude in the person of Jimmy Jun T. Cuanan a graduate o Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering from the College of Maritime Education.

For us it is a rare spectacle, for him it is a blessing. For us it is something to look up, for him it is a humble beginning. Born on March 23, 1990, Mr. Jimmy Jun T. Cuanan also known as “Jun”, is by nature studious. The fourth among six children of Mr. and Mrs. Jaime Cuanan, Jun early grasped things in life. His father said that the best thing he did for Jun was “first, gipasabot nako sa iyaha kung unsa kalisod ang kinabuhi [I conveyed to him how difficult life is]. That way, he became more mature.  He was constantly reminded how important education is and was always taught the essence of constant studying of lessons.” His mother added that he is really obedient to them. “…I trust him and I felt secured, kay kung naa siyay mga lakaw ipahibalo gyud ko niya, [because every time he goes somewhere, he would let us know].”


Everyone might be wondering what does it take to be a summa cum laude. Jun shared, “I am a person that is “manhid” in some ways. I don’t give much attention to love life, I don’t weep for problems too long, instead, I get over them as soon as possible. I don’t stay in sorrow. I am straight forward in reaching my goals in life.” Jun also confessed in jest that he has never had a girlfriend since birth.  He often burns midnight candles in solving mathematical problems before he sleeps. He is patient in doing things in haste. For him, quality of output is the first thing to be considered.


“I am looking forward to be a chief engineer and then I’ll put up an agricultural business.” Mr. Cuanan said of his future plans. Some might even be awed by his simplicity of viewpoint when he said “I don’t have capricious goals in life. I only want to have a good life and a happy family”. Being a board passer of the Officer in Charge-Engineering Watch (OIC-EW) exam, Jun’s goal is indeed attainable.


“I don’t believe that there Is a “bugok” person. It’s a matter of discipline. Always believe in God. Prayer changes things, you know. Don’t be so attached to problems. Let them come but do not let them be the hindrance for your success. They just a test. After those problems, blessings will come overflowing.

He was Capitol University’s first ever summa cum laude. He considers it as a stepping stone. He believes that great things are attainable as long as one is dedicated enough to reach them. The achievement of Mr. Cuanan may served as a testament that all things are possible with dedication. Yes, it was something to be praised. But his dedication, effort and sacrifices were more worthy to be praised.

Mr. Jimmy Jun Cuanan’s achievement is rare like his favorite metal, Titanium. It is the result of the years-long effort of doing assignments and studying. It is the result of sacrifices he made just to maintain his grades and to put away distractions. It  is the very fruit of a wanting spirit and a strong will in being the best of what he can be. Perhaps, these are really the properties of Titanium.

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