FOUR public schools in the region were recently named The Outstanding Watch (We Advocate Time Consciousness and Honesty) Schools or TOWS for school year 2009-2010.

A joint values advocacy movement hatched between the JCI Senate Philippines with the Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Office of the President for Education, the top plum was given to Magugpo Pilot Central Elementary School (MPCES) of Tagum City Division, under the supervision of School Division Superintendent Nenita Lumaas.

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EPS in Makabayan Antonia Bugna was named the country's best punctuality and honesty advocate.

The other winners are Don Manuel Gutierrez Elementary School in Davao City, which got the second place, and Paaralang Elementarya ng Salvacion in Panabo City, Davao del Norte, and Guihing Central Elementary School in Davao del Sur completed the TOWS top awards.

That's the four of top five schools from all over the country coming from Region 11. A big haul indeed for the public education system here.

Now for the real work. Being recognized for time consciousness and honesty means having to uphold this, and make this evident even among the public school students. Most especially the students.

Laurels earned should be celebrated, but most of all, such distinctions should be seen in how the education system hones our children. Starting with time consciousness and honesty, in fact, goes well with the marching orders of the new President Benigno C. Aquino III to dispel with vehicle sirens and to crack down on graft and corruption.

There is no better way to start than in imbibing among the young how these two seemingly simple values can in fact change a whole generation. By winning the top plus, Region 11 has just committed to make sure these values are indeed imbibed by even among the poor performers. After all, values and morals are not about academic excellence but about the human spirit.