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After a rigorous search that took months, the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) 2016 were awarded last Feb. 9 in Malacañang Palace. Hundreds of students were nominated but only 30 made it through the national screening process.
My father, Jose Concepcion Jr., founded the TOSP Foundation 55 years ago. Of the hundreds of students that have been recognized since then, many are serving in government, some are in private companies, while others are supporting advocacies.
I attended the awarding ceremony together with my father, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, TOSP president Marie Concepcion-Young, and TOSP head of the board of judges Dr. Ryan Guinaran. Michael Tan of the LT Group and Alice Eduardo of Sta. Elena Corporation also joined us.
The Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines are Anne Malazarte of the University of San Agustin, Arizza Nocum of University of the Philippines Diliman, Nafieza Mohammad of the Universidad de Zamboanga, Ronalyn Pordan of Far Eastern University, Andrienne Boado of the University of Northern Philippines, Janssen Ramos of the University of the East, Gimar Reyes of Xavier University, Ladielyn Fuderanan of the University of Bohol, Vryxonval Del Valle of First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities, and Riego Garcia of Central Philippine University.
I advised the students, “You have a bright future. Only 10 will be chosen but nevertheless, among the millions of students out there, you are part of the brightest of the country… But in the end, with all of these, it’s all up to you. Many of you will be part of the government one day. Maybe one of you will be a president someday. Nothing is impossible. It all starts with a dream. You cannot wait for destiny. You will have to work hard for that. And if it’s meant to be, it will happen.”
Secretary De la Peña represented President Duterte in the ceremony. In an inspiring message, he said, “The recognitions serve as a reminder to the youth of today that learning is as much as a right of every young Filipino as much as it is a responsibility for those who have received it, not only to oneself or the family but also to our nation.”
The search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines honors graduating college students who have not only excelled academically, but have also dedicated themselves to serve their respective communities, organizations, and other spheres of interaction. It is the domain of dedicated servant-leaders who have heeded the call of lifelong learning, leading and serving.