St. Albert the Great School: Home of ASEAN quiz champions

QUIZ bee contests abound each month for various national celebrations and this is one area of competition where a school in Pangasinan excels, emerging victorious in past international tilts.

Let’s talk South East Asia-wide.

ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) holds a quiz bee tilt every two years with each of the ten member-nations taking turns to host the event.

The St. Albert the Great School (SAGS) in Dagupan City had a first run of the ASEAN quiz show organized by the Department of Education in 2002.

Quiz coach and reviewer Vic Agbayani, SAGS assistant principal, said the ASEAN quiz focuses on the ASEAN countries’ history, cultural and social development.

“The competition is very tough. Sa local level pa lang ay mahirap na, but with the grace of God and the support of our school administrators, we’ve been winning championships in both national and international levels,” Agbayani said.

For the first-ever ASEAN quiz show in 2002, SAGS fielded Retchell Catambay in the division level who went on clinch the regional and national competitions and earned the right to represent the Philippines.

Catambay became the first Filipino national and international ASEAN quiz champion and was personally congratulated by then President Gloria Arroyo for her accomplishment.

SAGS’ feat was followed by Retchell’s brother, Dexter, who represented the Philippines and finished first runner-up in the next quiz contest held in Brunei Darrusalam.

In 2012, PH and SAGS wrested back its stature and honor in the international scene. Its student, Francesca Inacay was declared the champion in the 5th quiz edition held in Cambodia.

In 2014, SAGS student Reysanelle Balolong, nailed the national championship and emerged first runner-up in the sixth international edition in Vietnam.

The 2016, Nadine Margaret Alejo was all set to compete in Lao PDR along with two other Philippine contestants when she fell ill.  She brushed aside her feverish state returned home as the first runner-up in the 7th edition, bringing glory to her country and her school as well.

When asked how she maintained her good academic standing in school and her review classes for the quiz, Alejo said balance is of utmost importance.

“Time management, discipline, patience to search for materials related to ASEAN are all important keys to success. Huwag kalimutang tumawag kay Lord because He will guide us all the way,” Alejo said.

SAGS Principal Adelaida Carvajal said the win of SAGS in the first competition set a standard for the school.

“It was a morale booster for all the students, parents and teachers of Saint Albert. It became natural for the students to strive hard to join and eventually win,” Carvajal said.

SAGS was the only school in Dagupan tapped by the city government to install a booth during the ASEAN Day in the city.

Sacrifice and handwork paid off for this humble school in Pangasinan that slowly but surely established itself as a premier primary and secondary educational institution in the North.  And, add to that the prestige and honor of being the Home of ASEAN Quiz Champions. (Venus H. Sarmiento, PIA-Pangasinan)

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