Since moments like this don’t happen a lot, let me indulge in it just for a little bit.

Many people say one of these three things:

  • The price of victory is always ridiculously high.
  • A victory which is hard-earned would always be sweet.
  • Most people don’t see the scars behind the story.

All of them are true.

I’ll be frank: I wanted to win this one, this year, so badly.

That explains a lot of it, to be honest.

When this thing started back in 2015, I had no idea how to handle the resources and students that I had. Regardless, we still took places (a second place and a fifth place, along with some other awards and medals) – it was a proof of concept that showed everyone – something could be done here.

Then, there came the paper. It was alright, though to be honest, my teaching skills and experience were so low at that moment that I wondered whether I should have just quit the profession and move on to the writing industry or somewhere I could feel that I could use the skillset that I have (clue: it has a lot to do with writing. Hehehe.)

Second year of teaching.


That was a very bad year, to be honest.

I just had to make the most of out a bad situation. So we tried to win, while at the same time we watched our high school counterparts shine and rise during said competition.

Needless to say, with a senior batch that and a junior batch that can’t make yet something on their own…no paper at all.


That was a year of failures, despair and sorrow.


Many joined and I actually tried to field eight or so students in the Individual Category.

Out of the four, two went through (a second place in Science and Technology Writing as well as a third placer in Photojournalism), while the rest were made to stay by the judges.

It was better, way better in fact – we had two medalists that year, as well as three or four individual awardees.)

And we had a school paper.

Except that it did not get published for a ton of reasons.

I actually wavered so hard and got so demoralized. I thought to myself, was it actually worth the pain train?

Of course, I hid it from a lot of people. No one knew that it was a bitter, bloody, nasty experience.

Then, I realized that I had one more year to get it right. Time to move mountains, as they say.


This time, I decided to pick and train students one more time.

The batch (composing of five students named S.D, A.K, D.A, A.A and N.R) was so enthusiastic about the whole thing that it created a very good vibe for this year.

But the challenge was to make a passable paper until September 20…and truth be told, there wasn’t enough time. Yet, everyone helped in their own little way.

S.D and A.K went on to win 1st and 4th place in the DSPC, respectively, so I guess my instincts were right about this particular batch.

September 20. We were so tired, but we still made the paper and gave copies to the people concerned.

The judges cliniqued the paper.

We made it again.

And again.

And again.

Then on my birthday, September 28, after saying luck to my students, I passed the final copy as the Division Office closed down.

My flu already started by then.

I knew the paper wasn’t really that good (it still needed to be fixed thoroughly), so I just hoped that the paper would win top three so that the students would be able to have a treat the following week.

I was surprised when I found out that the newspaper (called the Blue Silhouette) won 1st PLACE in the Elementary English School Paper Category.


I smiled so widely at that announcement. I was proud of what we had achieved.

That was a big upset.

Seems four years of hard work and banging at Fate’s door works after all.

There is an exchange in the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” where the Muslim conqueror Saladin talks with Balian.

Balian of Ibelin: What is Jerusalem worth?

Saladin: Nothing. [walks away]

Saladin: Everything!

Yes, it may be just a small thing in the greater scheme of things, but for me and the students who have worked hard for this issue, it’s a dream come true!

So, I (on behalf of the whole team), would like to first thank the Almighty for letting us bag a win like this, after four years of neck-breaking ground work.

Then, my thanks to the school’s administrators (Sir Kilicaslan, Mrs. Palmero and Sir Arac) who have mostly supported the school’s campus journalism program since its inception in 2015.

Next, I dedicate this win to this year’s team, who have worked so hard to cover events, contribute articles and shape the newspaper into the form that it has today.

Of course, the paper would not be possible without the teachers who contributed to the school paper (Miss Josie and Miss Pat, specifically), as well as the rest of the faculty for their understanding and patience especially during those hectic days.

Finally, to my family and friends who have supported this venture from the very beginning, thank you for your kind words!

Now the challenge is to pass the knowledge and know-how and continue at a certain level.

Hope we can accomplish that one too!

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