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Posted on Sunday the 10th of September 2017

By: Dr. Derek A. Vallesteros

The most-coveted 15th Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKOR) perpetual trophy is finally home once again in Doha!

Philippine School Doha was avowed for the 6th time as the overall champion in the recently concluded Order of the Knights of Rizal Talents and Skills Competition. The school won defeating five other Philippine schools in the Middle East in the contest held last Sep. 2-4 at Swiss Palace Hotel, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. It edged out Philippine School Bahrain (PSB) and Palm Crest International (PCIS) in a wide range victory with mileage of points in the overall score. Dr Alexander S Acosta, school principal, spurred the PSD delegation on to reclaim the much coveted perpetual trophy. ""Our OKOR participants did their best to humbly represent our school, assuring that they prove to be the best crop of PSD whose accolades were made possible because of their perseverance, determination and positive attitude towards facing the challenges. May we always mirror their achievements with humility in the heart and wisdom in the mind. Indeed, PSD is simply the B.E.S.T," Dr. Acosta said.

The first day of the 3-day long OKOR competition started Sept. 2 at the Swiss International Palace Hotel which also served as the venue for the following days. The schools all gathered in the hall to have the OKOR Regional Assembly. It was initiated with the Floral Offering by the Knights and VIP guests, followed by the Entrance of Marshall by the cadets from Philippine School Bahrain. Regional Commander Sir Zane M. Thirwall gave his welcome address which was mainly about paying tribute to all the members of the Middle East and African Region-Knights of Rizal (MEAR-KOR). He quoted Jose Rizal and said, "A life not consecrated to noble deeds is like a stone thrown into the fields and will never be a part of an edifice." The re-enactment of the Martyrdom of Rizal consequently followed and a fraternal sign was performed by the knights to conclude the first day of the OKOR competition.

The second day was the official start of the competition. It was during this day that the on-the-spot painting and essay writing contest were held. Likewise, the Search for the Young Maria Clara and Young Jose Rizal also commenced on the same day. The competitions simultaneously took place at different parts of the hotel. The third and last day of the competition featured the Battle of the Brains. The battle of brains showed the capabilities not only of the students, but also of the coaches who never hesitated to make a stand whenever a question or answer was deemed invalid all throughout the event.

The delegation of Philippine School Doha was spearheaded by Dr Paulita Pal who continually shows positive outlook to PSD delegation in the entire duration of the competition. "The competition made the PSD OKOR delegation form a substance to realize the aim of the school, which is to endure the passion for service and excellence"Dr. Pal cited. PSD OKOR delegation embraced the true meaning of victory.The delegates achieved awards in every category. Arnon Aradaza and Miguel Golez awarded as 2nd runner up for the Battle of the Brains. They were trained by Dr. Julius A. Reyes, Ms. Sherilyn D. Apruebo and Ms. Mylene Santiago. Wenna Manongsong, trained by Mr. Efren Burgos and Ms. Eva Roca, won 1st-runner-up in the On-Spot-Essay Writing Contest Filipino category. Thea Astley, trained by Mr. Carlo Ebrada, won 2nd runner-up in the On-the-Spot Essay-Writing contest in English. Rosgh Garcia was proclaimed the 1st runner up in the On-the-Spot Painting contest while Alexandra Belgica got the 2nd runner up. They were trained by Mr. Jesus Vega and Ms. Camille Balela.

Moreover, it is the first time in Philippine School Doha history to win a back to back title for the search for Young Jose Rizal and Young Maria Clara. Ma. Hannah Danielle Leanda mentored by Ms. Monette Cayatoc and Mr. Carlo Ebrada. was crowned as this year's Young Maria Clara and attained the Best in Oration and Best in Gown. Xandre Immanuel Acosta, trained by Dr. Don John A. Vallesteros, was declared as this year's Young Jose Rizal. Dr. Nida H. Garcia, Vice Principal of PSD Preschool Department and Dr. Noemi Formaran, SHS Faculty, Engr. and Mrs. Josel Leanda, and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Astley, PSD parents, also showed their valuable assistance in the entire duration of the competition.

The OKOR, chartered under Republic Act 646, is a civic, patriotic, cultural and non-sectarian organization in honor of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. The Middle East and Africa Region chapter annually holds an interschool, academic, talents and skills competition in Bahrain which coincides with the annual assembly of the Knights of Rizal. With the cooperation of the whole PSD family and the assistance of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers (IIEE), Mr. Saed of Nayong Pilipino, Ms. Becky Tiwan of F.C.C., and PTA-BOD, PSD has once again proven that PSD only delivers the B.E.S.T. (Balanced Education in Science and Technology).