WATCH: Inspiring stories of simple people who overcame odds to graduate with honors | MMK

Maalaala Mo Kaya not only features the tales of individuals who faced terrible hardship and overcome the ordeals, but also inspiring stories of people who set a good example for us all.

Having been jailed for selling illegal drugs, Ayan (Vance Larena) thought he had reached a dead-end in his life. Yet, he was enlightened after his life turned for the worst inside the penitentiary and decided to continue his studies behind bars. While there may be distractions or disturbances in prison life, his determination to earn a diploma. And not only did he graduate, he became one of the top students in Quezon City—and got a scholarship from the city’s polytechnic institution. And because of his achievements and good behavior, Ayan was pardoned and released from prison to start a new life.

With the many ordeals in life he encountered even when he was just a little kid, Jarel’s (Zaijan Jaranilla) determination to succeed overcame any doubts and hindrances. Since poverty forced him to work as a houseboy, he would still juggle his time cleaning, preparing food, doing the laundry and focus on schoolwork. He was able to enroll in a top university in Cagayan, and his perseverance paid off—and became a scholar. But that didn’t stop the difficulties he faced, including losing their home and livelihood due to a storm, and his mother’s illness. But knowing that his family believes in him, Jarel withstood all his troubles and graduated Magna Cum Laude, which he said is merely the start of his journey to uplift the plight of his family.

Aetas have faced countless difficulties, from protecting their ancestral land to making a living. And, Norman (Zaijian Jaranilla) would realize that education is the primary weapon to end all their woes. As such, he would try his best in exceling in his studies, enrolling in the University of the Philippines Manila. And with his father Roman (Jhong Hilario) by his side, Norman achieves what was believed as improbable—being the first Aeta to graduate from the state university. He would attribute his success to his tribe, wearing the traditional lubay in the graduation rites.

Emman (Joem Bascon), who worked as a tricycle driver and a janitor, struggled in making both ends meet for his family. But with his innate intelligence, he passed the scholarship exam at the College of St. Benilde and pursued a degree on top of the daily hardships he and wife Maricar (Denise Laurel) faced. And despite all of his countless trials, Emman finished his degree, and got the respect he deserved, now providing a better income for his family.

While getting pregnant and having a baby at a young age may be seen as a screeching halt to a girl’s future, Vin-zl (Erich Gonzales) didn’t think so and tried her best in balancing her life as a teenage mother and a student. Her determination in finishing her studies had been overwhelming prospect for her. And with even bringing her baby to school since no one could take care of her, Vin-zl inspired everyone on how to value their education, even if difficulties arise. She was a consistent Dean’s Lister and graduated with honors.

Indeed, no one can stop anyone from achieving what they thought to be impossible. All it takes is grit and fortitude to reach anyone’s dreams, just like these people whose stories inspired viewers.