Antoine Philippe Cruz of Davao Christian High School (DCHS) recently won the award for Most Outstanding High School Graduate (MOHSG) of Davao City and was able to touch the lives of 43 young boys in the process.
Cruz, a swimmer and triathlete, acknowledges the role of sports in his recent academic success, mentioning that if not for the discipline he had learned in swimming, he would never have achieved what he has in school.
After being nominated to represent DCHS in the competition, Cruz decided to incorporate sports in his road to becoming the city’s Most Outstanding High School Graduate. This was the start of DULA.
As one of the five major components required of all nominees, Cruz planned a program to reach out to young boys at Boystown, a ‘home, school of life, and evangelizing community for poor and abandoned boys’ and teach them that sports build character.
Boystown, which is now managed by Welfare Action Foundation of Davao, houses around 40 young boys annually and provides them with shelter, food, and everything they need for school.
Cruz started going to Boystown on Saturdays of December 2018 along with DCHS Junior High School Principal Desi Dario Magnaye and other team members to hold sports clinics in basketball and badminton, as well as character formation programs to engage the kids in meaningful extracurricular activities.
The sports clinics were held with the help of 14 other students of DCHS, Dexter Cagampang, and Wynsjohn Te with ‘determination’ as the value in focus as a reference to Cruz’s personal experience with sports and academics.
The project was conceived and implemented in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, which was one of the main requirements for projects spearheaded by MOHSG nominees.
Aside from sports training and character development, Cruz and other members of his team wanted to do something to immediately impact the lives of the young boys they were reaching out to, which is why they decided to raise funds to provide Boystown with 10 sacks of rice, toiletries, clothes, and other gifts in kind.
The team initially planned to raise P50,000 for gifts in cash and kind, but ended up raising a total of P130,000 in cash, which allowed them to provide the kids with new pairs of shoes and new backboards for their old basketball court.
Magnaye told the Mirror that he is happy to see that members of the DCHS community are willing to help as long as they are given an avenue to reach out to people in need.
He also expressed his delight in seeing a random collection of students come together for a unified cause that turned out to be beneficial for both parties.
Magnaye said that they hope to be able to do what they’ve done for Boystown more often and maybe eventually reach out to more children in the future.
The team of students and adults that went out thought they would only be able to provide the kids with sports clinics and character development sessions, but were delightfully surprised by the additional support they received from members of the DCHS community, which allowed them to do more and provide a more meaningful experience for the children involved.