A High school student from Chiang Kai Shek College has set a historic feat in the prestigious 24th Asian-Pacific Math Olympiad (APMO) as he won the Philippine's first ever silver medal from the prestigious competition. 

Philippine Mathematical Olympiad and International Mathematical Olympiad veteran Henry Jefferson Morco scored 23 points to nail the country's first ever silver medal in the APMO, a correspondence type competition held last March 13. 

Morco shared the stage with Philippine Science High School - Diliman's (PSHS) Kenneth Co, who marked 16 points, to win the bronze medal. The Philippine contingent also seized four honorable mentions thereby securing one of the most successful outings for the country. 

Winning honorable mentions are Adrian Reginald Sy, Mikaela Angelina Uy, Camille Tyrene Dee and John Thomas Chuatak. 

At least 12 points are needed for a student to get a bronze medal, while 18 points are required to win silver. The precious gold, meanwhile, warrants 24 points at the minimum. 

Science Education Institute Director Dr. Filma Brawner congratulated Morco for achieving the highest award yet by a Filipino student. 

''I congratulate all our students who represented us, especially Henry (Jefferson Morco) and Kenneth (Co) for winning silver and bronze medals, respectively,'' Brawner said. "This is what we emphasize when we support our students in these kinds of competitions--that Filipinos are winners." 

Just last year, Morco together with PSHS bet Amiel Sy grabbed two bronze medals as the Philippines ranked 23rd out of the 35 participating countries in the 23rd APMO. In 2010, Carmela Antoinette Lao of St. Jude Catholic School also took home a bronze medal. 

The Philippines has been consistent in bringing home at least the bronze medal since 2008, with the most (three) coming in 2009. 

The APMO started in 1989 in hopes of discovering and challenging mathematically-gifted students in Pacific rim countries. It also nurtures partnerships between neighboring countries' students and mentors and offers an ideal setting for regional exchange of best practices and school syllabi on mathematics teaching. In the competition, students were exposed to five difficult questions and were given four hours to work on each question. Each problem carried a maximum score of seven points. 

The Philippines garnered a total of 97 points which ranked 20th out of the 37 participating countries. Once again, South Korea topped this year's APMO followed by USA, Thailand, Russia and Japan. 

Brawner acknowledged that APMO, just like any other science and mathematics-focused competitions abroad, is indeed challenging and therefore requires intensive training and support from various entities. 

''This competition is really difficult and hence, for our students to win some medals is very commendable,'' Brawner said. ''We hope that this inspires our future delegates to strive more in coming competitions.'' 

The winners of the 24th APMO shall represent the country in the upcoming IMO in 14-16 July 2012 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Morco and Co will be joined by Uy as contestants, while Dr. Julius Basilla and Dr. Job Noble will serve as Team and Deputy Team Leaders, respectively. The team will also be joined by Lao, a bronze medalist both in the APMO and IMO, as observer. 

Finally, Brawner urged the winners to continue valuing their gifts in science and mathematics as they are sure to be key pieces to the country's future roster of science and technology professionals. 

''We hope that our students consider this victory and experience as a whole as their calling to be future leaders in the field of science and mathematics,'' Brawner added. (30)