Joachim Joseph Ramirez, Maxine Angelica Dela Cruz, and Francheska Wyette Gaerlan, students from UP Rural High School won in the recently concluded virtual Global Leadership English Challenge Vietnam 2021 held last November 6, 2021 which qualifies them to participate in the Global GLEC Conference, an international academic conference on the UN Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
For winning the Outstanding Award in the GLEC Essay Writing Category, Ramirez will also receive a full scholarship grant for the Yale Model United Nations training program. Meanwhile, Dela Cruz and Gaerlan won the Distinguished Award in the same category which grants them 50% financial support for the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) Model United Nations training program which will happen in August 2022.
GLEC is an international English public speech and essay writing contest for students on the subject of the UN and international issues, calling on participation of the youth by selecting the theme of the competition as an annual UN agenda or desirable targets for everyone. The objectives of GLEC essay writing contest is to deepen the understanding of the students about the UN agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); contextualize the UN Agenda and the SDGs in the Philippine setting and in the unique experiences of the Filipino youth; and develop the advocacy writing skills of the students.
The program has three parts: preliminary essay writing, journal writing on SDGs, and the mock final round. The said students of UPRHS skipped the preliminary round because they were nominated by the school but they underwent a series of workshops, leading to the final round. Twelve students from Grades 9 to 12 were nominated but only 11 of them responded and actively participated in coaching and workshops thru Google Classroom as a drop box of their outputs.
The final round was an on-the-spot writing contest done virtually. Contestants from various countries joined via Zoom conferencing and were given access to an internet-based testing platform (similar to the one used in IELTS). They were given 50 minutes to write a 500-word essay on a topic that was given on the spot.
Ms. Julienne M. Urrea, instructor from English and Literature Department who served as their coach, said, “All the while, akala namin about climate crisis kasi kasabay n’ya halos yung COP 26 kaya yun ang binigay ko na topic for the mock final round. Kaya I was pleasantly surprised din na nakapasok yung tatlo kasi di namin masyado na-cover yung refugee crisis.”
Despite limited time and heavy academic load, these Ruralites managed to train and comply with the requirements of the GLEC. Indeed, it was a great privilege to represent the Philippines and a worthwhile learning experience for the students.
— JF Pozon