THE Rotary Club of Bacolod South (RCBS) once again organized their annual Academic Excellence Contest. Now on its 43rd year, this Department of Education supported and approved endeavor is the longest running project of Rotary International District 3850 where RCBS belongs to.

Eight hundred six students representing 80 schools are some of the best and brightest minds the private and public schools of all 13 cities and 19 municipalities of our province have produced.

I can just imagine the electric excitement running through the University of St. La Salle coliseum and throbbing through these young people’s veins last February 10 with their parents and 590 teacher-trainers present.

After all, the RCBS Academic Excellence Contest is an awardee of the prestigious Rotary International Significant Achievement Award. Guest speaker Gladys Amylaine Sales, Schools Division Superintendent of Department of Education-Negros Occidental gave her inspirational message.

The contestants are distributed into three competition levels, i.e. Primary, Intermediate, and Secondary. Each Level has three rounds (Elimination, Semi-Final and Championship), with five questions each in Communication Arts, Social Studies, Science and Mathematics as the subjects, including Spelling.

This is in line with the holistic approach adopted by the club in this academic competition. The purpose of the contest is also “to encourage thinking and analysis, recognize outstanding achievements and promote academic excellence among the participating Primary, Intermediate and Secondary levels of Negros Occidental.”

RCBS president Elena Pineda Gatanela, addressing the participants, said: “the mere fact that you are here means that you are already the best in your schools.”

The February 10 event produced the finalists at all levels that will be competing in the final round on February 19 at the Robinsons Place Bacolod Activity Area, 8 a.m.

The finalists for the Primary Level are Paula Vasquez (SSA), Emerich John Ramojal (LSIS), Jacob Troi Canastillo (BTTHS), Mateo Sebastian Campos (SJI), Reeney Grace Napoles (BTTHS), Dean Terrence Garde (USLS-IS), Shieka Jalando-on (GEGMES), Benjamin Dacles (TCS), Nathaniel Flores (AMES), Rainer Shaun Ignes (SES) and Cailah Shane Umahag (BTTHS).

Intermediate Level finalists are Christian Yap (SJI), Leon Antonio Besar (USLS-IS), Andrea Bielle Gallo (USLS-IS), Janna Celestine Ledesma (USLS-IS), Carl Cedrick Sio (BTTHS), Kevin William Castro (USLS-IS), Marriana Sabine Cortez (TCS), Abram Zack Cajuelian (ABES 1), Mikhos Vinzon Velez (SJI), and Paris Miguel Bereber (USLS-IS).

Finalists for the Secondary Level Daniel Miguel Ong (SJI), Rafael Gabriel Arcolas (NOHS), Brynx Junil Alegarbes (NOHS), Kyla Shane Ganzon (SJS-LS), Acel Jone Cayot (BCNHS), Jenina Claire Yulo (UNO-R), Audrey Su (BTTHS), Sotea Louise Ko (SJI), Isabela Therese Dedel (BCNHS) and Josh Aldrich Diola (SNHS).

Six trophies will be given at the championship for both school and the student for all three levels.

The Rotary District 3850 of the Philippines is composed of Rotary Clubs from all over Western Visayas and Western Mindanao, from far-away Basilan province in the Sulu archipelago, to the exotic island paradise of Boracay, and in Bacolod.