By Gwyneth Jemima Morales

Explained PH Science and Technology Secretary John Anton Benedict Garcia is the first runner-up in BLAZE Extemporaneous Speaking Contest and the champion in SMART Idea Pitch Competition of the 19th National Youth Congress (NYC) last November 20, 2022.

Photo Courtesy of John Anton Garcia, National Youth Congress

Garcia, currently a grade 12 student at Philippine Science High School - Central Luzon Campus (PSHS-CLC), said that while he was confident that they did their best, he did not set any expectations to avoid disappointments.

“I always went about competitions setting no expectations for awards as this allowed me to focus solely on having a great experience and doing my best, aiming for awards while minimizing possible frustrations,” he said. 

The BLAZE Extemporaneous Speaking Contest was an individual sub-contest of NYC, with a picture prompt tackling inclusive growth and economic equalities. He was given a total of 6 minutes in the competition, 3 minutes each for brainstorming and speech proper.

When he was asked about his performance in the said competition, Garcia said: “There were a few things that I wish I could have said better, but none really stood out negatively.”

Meanwhile, the SMART Idea Pitch Competition was a group contest and also NYC’s headline competition, with a prompt revolving around the 9th sustainable development goal of the United Nations: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Specifically, they were tasked to craft a project-innovation proposal using the resources and products of the Philippine indigenous groups.

Garcia and his four PSHS-CLC co-members “tackled PH Indigenous Textiles using their proposal ‘Isang Habilin, Isang Pangako: Lingap sa Katutubong Habi (IHIP-LIKHA)’.”

He further shared that he was already familiar with competitions due to his past experiences. 

“Working with my teammates, all of whom were quite sociable and had great work ethics, was a great experience. There were some nerves here and there but they seem to be casual parts of all competitive opportunities,” he added.

Despite the relaxed COVID-19 protocols, the 19th edition of NYC was still held purely online. The congress started in 2004 and is hosted by the UP School of Economics.