Siti Marfuah has worked incredibly hard throughout her life, not just to become the valedictorian of her graduating class at Magelang’s Universitas Tidar, but just to be able to go to university at all.
Siti, who graduated with a 3.87 GPA in her accounting program, is the child of two humble sate (some countries know it better as “satay”) sellers who always made sure she and her four siblings had a roof over her head and food to eat, but were never able to make enough money to fully fund their daughter’s education.
Her parents said that even from a young age Siti worked to earn money to cover her school fees.
“Since elementary school, Siti found a way to pay for school herself. She was able to go to university without burdening her parents at all, alhamdulillah, let alone became the valedictorian,” said her father, Jalaludin, yesterday as quoted by Jawa Pos.
After graduating from high school, Siti, who is now 26, had to work for five years before she could earn enough money to pursue her university degree.
“I’d earn the money any way I could, ranging from tutoring elementary, junior and high school students to helping make cakes, selling books, picking up children or selling goods,” Siti said as quoted by a release on Universitas Tidar’s website.
At her graduation ceremony on Saturday, Jalaludin and his wife arrived at the university with his sate cart in tow. He intended to sell skewers to the crowd as he normally worked Saturdays anyways.
But upon learning that his daughter had graduated at the top of her class, Jalaludin’s pride and joy was so great that together with his family they decided to give away 1,000 servings of sate for free to everybody at the graduation.
Siti even happily helped out her parents serve up sate to her classmates and teachers.
The valedictorian told Jawa Pos that she’s never felt embarrassed about her family or their economic status.
“I’m not ashamed. I just keep moving forward, go to college and continue to work hard, never losing focus,” Siti said.