Campus journalism powerhouse Cavite province remained unshaken as it was hailed as Best Performing Schools Division in the recently concluded Regional Schools Press Conference (RSPC), completing its 14th straight victory after dominating the individual, group and school paper events, both in elementary and secondary level.
Gaining 529 total points, the province continued its supremacy, flaunting its red journalist’s vest after bagging the RSPC Hall of Famer awards for their dominance in the annual campus journalism competition held in Rizal Province from November 11 to 15.
Calabarzon Association of School Paper Advisers (Caspa) President Irlo Dumo said in an online interview that they were still aiming to defend their title as Best Performing Region in campus journalism in the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC), which will be held in February 2020 in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Valley, with the theme “Empowering Communities Through Campus Journalism.”
Region 4-A (Calabarzon or Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) remained on the NSPC throne for seven straight years, bagging schools press conferences against different participating regions of the Philippines.
Dumo said the key to success of Calabarzon was the unity between student journalists and their school paper advisers (SPAs) that pushed them to enhance their skills, and learning the authentic idea in promoting freedom of information and expression, through campus journalism.
Dumo added that all-out support from their regional office boost their performance through providing different intensive trainings to hone and prepare them in facing various participating regions in the said competition.
“We have the best journalism program in my point of view. First, because of our discipline in terms of training. We are very united in the nationals. Though there is competition in RSPC, Calabarzon remains united,” the Caspa chief said in English and Filipino.
“As they say, we have to help each other for the nationals. Second we have the usual training done by others. [But] our training is very intensive by the way. Third, we have the support of our regional office and divisions around Calabarzon,” he added.
Dumo also cited their campus journalism program “CalabarzonRoad Show,” an event which brings together NSPC winning coaches, Caspa officers and Most Outstanding School Paper Advisers who aim to share school press ideas and practices to improve RSPC-participating schools divisions all over the region, conducted in early month of May.
“As early as May, Calabarzon caravan speakers join forces… whose purpose is to help new SPAs and strengthen the Region 4-A teams’ journalism skills,” Dumo said.
“They go to all divisions in the regions to share the best practices of the best performing divisions,” he added.
“Sinuyod nila ang bawat isang dibisyon na sakop ng ating rehiyon para makuha ng karamihan ang best practices ng mga best performing divisons ng rehiyon natin.” he added.
Region 4-A is aiming for its eighth Best Performing Region title in campus journalism.
Batangas province, however, emerged as runner-up, garnering 261 total points behind Cavite province, followed by the Quezon province with 215 points, Batangas City with 212 points and Dasmariñas City with 211 points in the fifth overall.
“The real target of Region 4-A is to make all 21 divisions represent us in the NSPC. That is, all divisions would have a representative to the national [competition],” Dumo said.
’Listen to your heart’
Meanwhile, Judy Ann Sultan, a three-time NSPC qualifier and participant made history for herself after bagging the first place in Photojournalism-English Secondary in the recent RSPC, making her way to the biggest clash of best-of the-best’s student journalists in the country.
Sultan, a Grade 10 student of Casimiro A. Ynares Sr. Memorial National High School from the Division of Rizal province, advised aspiring campus journalists “to not give up on their dreams, instead, strive hard while waiting for their right time to come.”
She added that intensive training and self-discipline help her in achieving her goals. She also reminded everyone to be “brave-enough to face life-changing challenges that will strengthen them to also hit their own targets.”
“To all aspiring campus journalists, do not fear to try and try. Out trainers tell us to listen to our hearts because that is the answer to everything,” Sultan said.
Sultan went viral in social media after joining an entertainment show in a local TV network, the episode of which was aired on September 6. In the show, she narrated her inspiring life story — being a consistent honor student, struggling to meet her NSPC goals and being a daughter of an ice cream vendor.
Sultan said in an online interview that hardships and downfalls before reaching her goals contribute, not just to her journalistic skills, but also to building her personality.
From almost eight years of being a campus journalist starting in Grade 2, getting her sixth spot during the NSPC in Dumaguete City in 2018, Sultan thanked the Schools Division of Rizal and her SPA Joy Avelino, in teaching her on how to deal with challenges through their intensive journalism training together.
BY ADRIAN MERCADO, Grade 12
Sinalhan Integrated High School