A Grade 12 student of the Philippine Science High School-Western Visayas Campus (PSHS-WVC) emerged as Grand Prize winner in the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Tropical Medicine and Public Health (SEAMEO TROPMED) Network 55th Founding Anniversary Essay Contest.
Altair Mizar Emboltura bagged the Grand Prize after besting 210 entries in the Senior High School Category from the member-countries of the SEAMEO TROPMED, the PSHS said in a statement on Saturday, Oct. 16.
Emboltura’s winning piece is titled, “A Thief, A Tyrant, A Teacher”. In his essay, Emboltura, editor-in-chief of PSHS-WVC’s school paper Banaag, discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic significantly redefined aspects of life.
This year’s theme of the SEAMEO TROPMED essay writing contest is “What COVID-19 means to me”. It focused on the integration and inter-relation between Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) # 3 “Good Health and Well-being” and SDG # 4 “Quality Education”, according to the PSHS.
Among the objectives of the essay writing competition were to gather information related to COVID-19 effect on students; motivate students to write and discuss their perspectives about COVID-19; promote listening to students’ voices; and document these perspectives for further use in school programmes and policies.
Emboltura cited the crucial role of the youth in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
“I believe in the power of the proactive youth. Our role in winning the battle against COVID-19 includes inspiring, impacting, and speaking up not just for our fellow youth but for our whole community as well. However, all of our dedication, effort, and active participation would be put to waste if our leaders won’t listen to us,” he said.
“I call unto our leaders to not just hear us but also listen to us because our voice matters, especially in this unprecedented time,” he added.
The PSHS said the student leader is planning to pursue either biology, public health, or an accelerated medicine course in college, but his ultimate goal is to be a physician for the Filipino people.
Emboltura expressed hope that the healthcare workers will receive the necessary assistance from the government, including wage hike and hazard pay.
“Young people like me have been championing change in our fight against COVID-19 from the very beginning. As digital natives, social media became our biggest platform to speak up, to initiate and conduct countless community projects especially for the underprivileged and marginalized sectors of our society, and to advocate for noble causes such as the #NoStudentLeftBehind,” he said.
Emboltura was named as Young Achiever Awardee by the Municipality of Oton, and Outstanding Student of Iloilo Awardee 2020 by JCI Regatta.
He was also selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Junior High School Students of Iloilo for Academic Year 2019-2020 by The Outstanding Students Circle of Iloilo (OSCI).