October 05, 2021— The Department of Education (DepEd) recognized the outstanding achievements of two public school teachers and a student journalist after making it to the Top 50 of Global Teacher and Student Prize 2021.

“Our teachers and learners are really our treasure for their innovations and passion, even amidst the pandemic. These recognitions for them inspire us at DepEd to continuously support their careers and dreams,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

Shortlisted from over 8,000 nominations around the world, Teacher Bryant Acar from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu and Teacher Michelle Rubio from Sorsogon City earned a place in the Top 50 of the Global Teacher Prize, a prestigious awards body that aims to recognize the efforts of teachers and their impacts not only inside the classroom but also in their communities. Apart from the recognition, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize will also receive $1 million in prize.

Teacher Acar of Science and Technology Education Center – Senior High School (STEC-SHS), not only helped his students thread the difficulties of online learning during the pandemic but also provided opportunities for his students to be scientists.

Traveling for 16 kilometers a day just to attend his class, Mr. Acar built a make-shift laboratory in his school and trained students who became winners of different national and international science competitions.

“The essence of a teacher is to guide, motivate, inspire and transform students so they can be a better version of themselves. We are in dire need to produce students who are not only competent but persons with character. Teaching creates a gold mine of other professions in the world and this is a gargantuan task we must strive to achieve,” Mr. Acar expressed.

Meanwhile, Teacher Rubio of Calao Elementary School created a “Techno-classhome,” and turned her car into a “Reading Car” where she would take reading lessons and broadcast them on Facebook. She also pioneered “Resort for Learning”, where a part of the school is decorated with beach decorations and a mini library with an internet connection to support distance learning.

“To all the teachers out there continue innovating and doing extraordinary things that would help our learners cope with this pandemic. Never be discouraged. Look at the positive side of every situation and use it as our stepping stones to continue doing our mission as educators. Our learners need us to give hope for their future,” Ms. Rubio shared.

In the Global Student Prize category, Ancelmo Catalla, a Senior High School student in Quezon Science High School, also joined the Top 50 finalists out of 3,500 nominations across 94 countries.  A wide reader as a child, Ancelmo is currently the editor-in-chief of his school’s official student paper, The Velocity, and a budding social entrepreneur. He eyes to dedicate his possible $100,000 winning to building mini-libraries for remote public schools.

“Honestly, it is very taxing to keep being excellent amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a scholar of the people, I have to serve – and part of my service is to keep learning so that the taxes that the people pay do not go to waste. What keeps me going is knowing the fact that I have to study not just for me and my family, but also for the community,” Ancelmo shared.

The selection committee  or the “Prize Judges” will select 10 finalists out of the 50 on October 2021. From there, one winner per category will be chosen. The announcement and awarding of the winners will be on November 2021.