UB’s Leo Mar Ellema (4th from left) with the other awardees. (Photo Credits: www.adnu.edu.ph)
Leo Mar Ellema, a senior Bachelor of Secondary Education (Major in Mathematics) student of the University of Baguio (UB), was hailed as one of the Ten Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines, an annual nationwide search that recognizes young Filipinos who best epitomize the qualities of the national hero and martyr.
Ellema, consistent on the dean’s list, is the lone winner from the Cordillera Administrative Region. He was awarded a medal, certificate and cash prize during a ceremony held last Dec. 29 at the Luneta Park in Manila.
From a poll of over 200 entries, the 20 finalists were named to move on to the final interview, Ellema said.
The selection of the Top 10 then followed, wherein the finalists were interviewed about Rizal’s writings and works. They were also asked to prepare an essay on the hero’s life. Their academic, co-curricular and community involvement was also assessed.
“We were tasked to prepare an essay on whether the teachings of Rizal were relevant and useful as guide for voters in the upcoming presidential elections. And then we had to face a seven-member panel interview after,” Ellema shared.
“I was apprehensive about the final selection phase but I drew confidence from the intensive practices and reviews particularly with our dean Dr. Bernardita Ayunon and my Social Science instructor Ms. Vilma Deponio,” he said.
“I will continuously pursue the vision of the University for academic excellence, at the same time live up to the ideals of Dr. Jose Rizal,” Ellema added.
Ellema is a recipient of the Commission on Higher Education and Rotary Japan International full merit scholarships. He is currently a council member of the UB Supreme Student Council and the editor-in-chief of Spectrum, the official student publication of the UB School of Teacher Education.
He is the second awardee from UB, following Bennette Kathleen Alinduza in 2007.
He is now a member of La Liga, the official alumni community of the winners and finalists of the search.
The search is organized by the Order of the Knights of Rizal, a fraternal and cultural organization. – Calvin Gutierrez and Leo Mar Ellema