ILOCOS NORTE PRIDE. Ilocos Norte’s Math wizards (from left): Charlie Quetula, Cesar Respicio Jr., Jesrel Gudoy Jr., Ma. Cassandra Reich Duque, and Christian Ray Malvar. The five will compete in the World International Mathematical Olympiad in Bangkok, Thailand on Jan. 7-8, 2023. (Photo courtesy of SNHS)

LAOAG CITY – Financial donations from various public and private donors are pouring in for the Ilocos Norte team who will be competing against thousands of math wizards in the World International Mathematical Olympiad (WIMO) next year.

As of November 30, the Ilocos Norte team from the Sarrat National High School (SNHS), who earlier bagged five gold medals during the Thailand International Mathematics Olympiad last April, has raised a total of PHP878,715.

The fund that is being raised will cover the students’ travel expenses for the WIMO set in Bangkok, Thailand on Jan. 7-8, 2023.

The five students who won gold medals for the country were Ma. Cassandra Duque, 15, Christian Ray Malvar, 16, Cesar Alejandro Respicio, 18, Jesrel Briones Gudoy Jr., 18, and Charlie Quetula, 19.

They will represent the Philippines in the WIMO in Thailand instead of an earlier proposed venue in Seoul, South Korea.

Michael Malvar, senior lead coach of the five math wizards who will be joining the international competition told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview on Wednesday that there are so many competitive students in the province but they rarely join international competitions due to time constraints and most importantly, due to financial difficulties.

On the part of the SNHS, Malvar said they are lucky enough that Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc supports the youth, especially those who are high achievers and those who have less in life.

“It was the governor who requested several benefactors to help us raise these funds,” he said as he particularly expressed his gratitude to donors who are supporting the team.

He cited Mirae Asia Energy Corp., Sta. Clara International, North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp., as well as the offices of Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, Laoag City Mayor Michael Keon, and the local government unit of Sarrat led by Mayor Remigio Medrano, among those who shared their resources to cover the airfare, accommodation, food and other incidental expenses of the students, coaches, and school administrators who will accompany them.

As the only school in Ilocos Norte with a special program for Mathematics under the Department of Science and Technology, SNHS school principal Dr. Marietta B. Yap and Math head teacher Edmund T. Respicio expressed hope that more students would be tapped to join international events in the future.

To date, the Sarrat school has 27 enrolees under its special program for Mathematics.

Of the 27 students, three will also compete in the Guangdong-Hongkong-Macao Greater Bay Area Mathematical Olympiad 2022-2023 online on December 4. (PNA)