21 February 2018

HISTORY MAKERS. The 2017 Youth Excellence in Science (YES) awardees pose for a group photo with DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the awarding ceremony at the PICC. 

There’s no stopping our young math and science geniuses on their record-breaking trend. 

When the Youth Excellence in Science (YES) Awards first started recognizing the victories of young students in international science and math competitions, there were only 70 awardees. Ten years after, the number of awardees reached a record-breaking 1,195 – an impressive 45.55 percent increase from the previous year’s already historic 821. It’s also the highest total since the event began in 2007.

“If the number of YES medals awarded is any indication of our future in science, I’m happy to say that it looks more than promising,” shares Dr. Josette Biyo, Director of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) which organizes the YES Awards.

Biyo welcomed the 548 awardees from the national capital region and nearby regions in an awarding ceremony held on February 20 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. The 647 student-medalists from other regions will be honored in separate events courtesy of DOST regional offices. 

Also present in the ceremony are national organizers of science and math competitions, school officials, teachers and parents of the awardees, and DOST officials. 

The young champions received the Secretary’s Medal from no less than the DOST Secretary, Hon. Fortunato de la Peña, who lauded the decade-old YES Awards for being a cradle of pride for Filipinos. 

De la Peña assured the students that the DOST is always supportive of programs that will strengthen all the relevant sectors in S&T development. He cited the scholarships provided by the SEI as well as other programs of the department that stimulate innovation, facilitate promotion of local technologies, and promote resiliency amid disasters that the country faces yearly.

Aside from student-medalists, the top three schools in terms of medalists produced were recognized through the Gold Ribbon School Award - a new tradition that YES started this year and will be awarded every three years henceforth. This year’s awardees are Philippine Science High School Main Campus with 278 medals, followed by St. Jude Catholic School and Grace Christian College with 265 and 175 medals. 

Top YES Awardees Andres Rico Gonzales III of Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Hillary Diane Andales of Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus urged their fellow YES Medalists to continue chasing excellence for themselves and for the country. Also in the photo are (from L-R) SEI Deputy Director Albert Mariño, SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo, and DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. 

The event also celebrated the momentous wins of math whiz Andres Rico Gonzales III and 2017 Breakthrough Junior Challenge champion, Hillary Diane Andales. Andales spoke at last year’s awarding ceremony about not being afraid of failures and repeats after placing sixth in the same competition that she topped the following year. 

DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services, Dr. Carol Yorobe, in her message, called for students to find purpose in their award and use their YES achievements to build fruitful collaborations and serve the country. (30)