By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones expressed joy over the “growing interest and appreciation” of the general public in mathematics as she lauded the national champions of the 2019 Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC).
“I’m very happy na naabutan ko na at my age, things have changed radically,” said Briones during the awarding of 2019 MMC champions at Metrobank Plaza recently. Together with Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepeña and Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines (MTAP) President-Emeritus, Sr. Iluminada Coronel, F.M.M., Briones led the conferment of awards to the “math geniuses” who came from a roster of 403,707 students from 27,089 elementary and junior high schools who competed in the nationwide elimination rounds.
Briones also shared the stereotypes and biases against math enthusiasts during her time. “We now know it’s not all about race, it’s not about gender,” she added, stating that she looks forward to the time when a math contest will just be as “overcrowded with fans as any basketball game.”
Meanwhile, Briones further underscored the importance of mathematics in the daily lives of people. “We have to use reason to come to conclusions about what is happening in society, in our families, and in our personal lives,” she said. “And we have to think logically, and that is exactly what mathematics tells us, shares with us…also, the most beautiful creations of human beings are made by people who are trained in mathematics,” she added.
Briones also recognized the teachers for their continued contribution. “We give special thanks to the teachers and to the coaches who have made mathematics, geometry, algebra, and all the so-called hard sciences, interesting and exciting, and have taken our learners on journeys of discovery,” she said.
The DepEd Chief also thanked Metrobank Foundation and MTAP for sponsoring and supporting MMC, as well as for “the assurance that there is good news” in education.
Help in nation-building
Briones congratulated all the winners and participants to the 2019 MMC. “Not all of you may become engineers and space scientists, but we look forward to you building a better world and a better Philippines for all of us,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sobrepeña expressed hope that the students will “use your talents not just for personal glory but for a greater purpose, and may you become the mathletes that will help build our nation.” The MMC champions were awarded with cash prizes, medals, and trophies.
For the Grade 6 Individual Competition, 1st place was awarded to Mohammad Nur Casib from My Precious Child Learning Center, Marawi City (Coach: Michael Ike McMichael); 2nd place went to Tracy Lauren Lei from Saint Jude Catholic School, Manila (Coach: Betty Marie Mijares); and the 3rd place was given to Miguel Cayetano of Tuguegarao West Central School, Tuguegarao City (Coach: Janet Canapi).
For the Grade 6 Team Competition, Tracy Lauren Lei and Nicholas Marcus Lua from Saint Jude Catholic School, Manila (Coach: Betty Marie Mijares) bagged the 1st place while the 2nd place was awarded to Francis Rafael Flor and Muhammad Farouk Tan II from Silangan Elementary School, Taguig City (Coach: Cheryll Laurente)
For the Grade 10 Individual Competition, the 1st place was awarded to Bryce Ainsley Sanchez from Grace Christian College, Quezon City (Coach: Owen John Laurent Reyes); 2nd place to Stephen James Ty from Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Zamboanga City (Coach: Samuel Gayangos); and 3rd place: Kiel Sam Talosig from Bataan National High School, Balanga City (Coach: Cherrie Bantay).
For the Grade 10 Team Competition, the 1st place was awarded to Stephen James Ty and Aiman Andrei Kue from Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Zamboanga City (Coach: Samuel Gayangos); 2nd place went to Paul Samson Topacio and Al Patrick Castro from Makati Science High School, Makati City (Coach: Arnel Olofernes); and the 3rd place was given to Charles Dwight Pelaez and Joerenz Espillardo from Quezon Science High School, Tayabas, Quezon (Coach: Hermenegildo Pineda).
Now on its 18th year, the MMC is carried out by the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), the DepEd, and the MTAP. Considered as the “most widely participated math competition in the country among elementary and high school students,” the MMC aims to “awaken greater interest in Math among students, challenge them to strive for mathematical excellence, and empower mathematically talented learners with awards and recognitions for them to serve as models to the youth.”
Over the years, the MMC has produced national winners who get to compete and eventually win in international competitions, like the 57th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Hong Kong where the Philippines garnered its first gold medals.