TOSIA 2023 honors young Ilonggos’ service to school, community

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The 14th Outstanding Students of Iloilo Awards (TOSIA) once again honored students in the city and province of Iloilo for excellence not only in their academics, but also in their service to their schools and the community.

TOSIA 2023 held its traditional ‘Salute to Excellence’ awarding ceremonies at Robinsons Place Iloilo on Sunday, where they named the highly coveted ‘Circle of Five’ in junior high school and college students.

They were adjudged based on the four ‘pillars’ of TOSIA: academic excellence, leadership, community involvement, and faith.

A new feature to the awards is the live Advocacy Jam, which was kicked off last May 21 at the Festive Walk Iloilo in Mandurriao district, where the finalists discussed their advocacies not only to family, friends, and supporters, but also to mallgoers.

This portion of the TOSIA was started in 2021 virtually, but in its third year, it was held with a physical audience, and with an advocacy poster exhibit, where finalists’ advocacy projects were displayed for 10 days at Festive Walk Mall’s activity center from May 21 to 30.

The junior high school ‘Circle of Five’ included Rhianne Faye Alag (Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School), Romald Angelo Bayting (PAREF Westbridge School), Beneil Christian Caperocho (Central Philippine University), Gena Faith Cortez (Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School), and Reysheil Anne Doromal (Philippine Science High School – Western Visayas Campus).

In the collegiate category, this ‘elite’ group included Sam David Andrada and Jireh Daniel Tim Pinuela (Central Philippine University), John Paul Supapo (West Visayas State University), Kezia Camille Tenefrancia (John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Arevalo), and Ram Angelie Valasote (University of San Agustin).

Other junior high school finalists include Angela Francheska Amboy (Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School), Mark Francis Eusoya (Philippine Science High School – Western Visayas Campus), Mary Antonette Gison (Colegio de San Jose), Sheriemei Anne Hojilla (Central Philippine University), Akyzah Denyss Inate (Hua Siong College of Iloilo), and Harlene Faith Labos (Barotac Viejo National High School).

College finalists included Kriss Kringle Inge Bancolo (Central Philippine University), Mary Divine De Villaluna (University of San Agustin), Raymart Eufracio (West Visayas State University), Erica Opinion (John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Molo), and Lara Taclima (Iloilo Science and Technology University).

The finalists were also honored in specific areas, with Tenefrancia named as TOSIA Artisan and TOSIA Scholar, Doromal as TOSIA Scholar and TOSIA Speaker, Bayting as TOSIA Worker and TOSIA Leader, Alag and Pinuela as TOSIA Writers, Valasote as TOSIA Speaker, Supapo as TOSIA Worker, and De Villaluna as TOSIA Leader.

John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University-Molo Campus, Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School, and PAREF Westbridge School were named TOSIA Elite schools, having had finalists for the past five editions of the awards.

Pototan town councilor Paolo Tirador, who was the ceremony’s guest speaker, shared his journey of growth, from refusing to participate and interact as a child, to becoming proactive in his life as a student and as a leader, which he touted helped him to become one of TOSIA’s first honorees in 2010.

The 2023 TOSIA is organized by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Regatta in partnership with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, with Daily Guardian as one of its media partners.