Jill Esther Parreño, a grade 12 student of Davao Christian High School, emerged as champion of JCI's 51st Search for the Most Outstanding High School Graduate (MOHSG) held at the Abreeze Activity Center on March 27, 2018.
Unlike previous MOHSG contests, this year's program focused heavily on community work done by the candidates. Aside from compiling a list of awards and leadership accomplishments, participants were asked to create a project for their local community using the guidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In line with this, JCI Davao have modified their preparatory activities to include leadership trainings, panel consultations, and project seminars to help equip participants for their campaign.
Parreño's project, called Sidlak Stories, publishes mother-tongue storybooks and conducts storytelling seminars for parents.
Parreño points out that many kids do not have access to stories in their mother-tongue, which in Davao’s case is Cebuano. "It's hard for kids to enjoy reading when most children’s books are in English or Filipino, languages that they’re still learning. Also, parents often do not take the time to read to their kids. The role of parents’ in their kids’ education is very important, and many of them aren’t aware of this," she shares.
Parreño assembled a group of student illustrators, translators, and editors, and republished four bilingual Cebuano-Filipino children’s storybooks, in addition to one written by Parreno herself. On March 3 and March 10, Parreno held two sessions of a storytelling workshop for the parents of the Barangay 12-B Daycare Center. Aside from winning the grand title, Parreno also won Best in Project Portfolio, Best in Panel Interview, Best in Project Implementation, and Runner-Up in Introductory Speech, where she shared about how her life changed after winning the Palanca Award two years ago.
The Search for the Most Outstanding High School Graduate is an annual competition hosted by JCI Davao for graduating high school students. It aspires to encourage the youth to take part in postive community development and sustainable nation building despite being young in age.