The Proclamation states that whereas the universal appeal of Astronomy encompasses all fields of human interest and endeavor; whereas Astronomy serves as our window to the beauty and wonders of the Universe and enables us to appreciate the uniqueness and fragility of our home planet, Earth; whereas the study of Astronomy, our people, especially the youth, will gain a better understanding of their planet and thereby encourage them to participate more actively in the conservation and preservation of their environment; whereas it is fitting that public attention be focused on the significant contribution of Astronomy to the advancement of science; President Ramos declared the third week of February as the National Astronomy Week under the auspices of the Philippine Astronomical Society, Inc. and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration.
To the Philippine Astronomical Society thus, the third Sunday of February has become the most-awaited day and most-prepared-for event of the year to gather high schools and elementary schools to join the fitting celebration of the Astronomy Week by participating in several contests during the Opening Day festivities. Even after the event has concluded, some late-responding schools still asked how to join the contests. (Ha ha. Slated for next year's celebration na.) Anyway, the cash prizes all the more motivated and inspired students to join the contests.
PAS has consistently/successfully attained its objectives for the public, especially the youth, to get more involved in astronomy. In fact, if you check out their on-the-spot posters, essays, photo-essays, astronomy quiz (written and oral) results in the website or in the upcoming March-April Appulse (PAS newsletter) issue, you would be surprised at how advanced, mentally sharp, and emotionally involved these kids have become in astronomy. PAS mission accomplished!
This year's 17th National Astronomy Week celebration was co-sponsored by the League of Ateneo Physicists, and the Opening Day was held at the Ateneo de Manila University campus specifically at Manuel V Pangilinan Building's roof deck.
What a difference a place makes. The roof deck was as spacious as a big gym with a towering roof and wide-open "window" spaces, providing a panoramic view of the entire Ateneo campus and an eye-level look into the surrounding crowns of trees seemingly within one's grasp. So peaceful, quiet, and breezy.
No problem for the parents, coaches, elderly guests who may be sporting arthritic knees, for the roof deck has a functioning elevator to transport NAW guests, participants, and PAS members to the top. The participants and all the guests and PAS members present had more-than-enough wide space for each activity and for each work to be done.
Everything went well and smooth-flowing thus without a hitch: participants' registration at 7:30 AM; Astronomy Quiz elimination round, poster-making contest, photo-essay contest, essay contest after the briefings at 9:30 AM; Astronomy final round at 2 PM, and awarding of prizes to winners at 3:30 PM.
This year's NAW theme was "The Universe Yours To Discover, But How?" The artists and writers developed their art posters and essays based on this theme.
Astronomy Quiz (four members in a team)
The Astronomy Quiz had two parts. The Elimination Round was a written examination taken individually by each participant. from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. It was composed of 50 multiple choice questions in astronomy, astrophysics, celestial navigation, practical astronomy, history of astronomy, and space navigation. Team ranking was based on the accumulated scores of each student on the written exam, and the top ten teams advanced to the Final Round.
The Final Round was divided into three levels of questions: easy, average, and difficult. The Easy level was composed of 10 questions with a time limit of 10 secs unless specified by the quiz master John Kevin Caballa. Every correct answer merited one point. The Average level had 10 questions with a time limit of 20 secs per item and every correct answer scored two points. The Difficult level with a time limit of 30 secs had 5 questions with each correct answer meriting 3 points.
Complaints and questions regarding the answers were directed to the Board of Judges Max Sacro, Julian Oliveros, and Ian Allas, whose decision was final and irrevocable.
The participating teams wrote their answers on 5 x 10" boards, which they raised when the allotted time was up. The final round, held at 2 PM after the lunch break, was a a laughter-filled, thunderous event as the participating teams clapped and jumped when they got the answers right and shouted in jubilation and in unison when no team got the answer to the tricky questions right.
Photo-Essay (three members in a team)
A participating school had three members in the team, and each team was required to bring a camera to use in taking the entry photo and a laptop for the editing. The photos were all taken within but not outside the Ateneo campus. The participants were given two hours of photocapturing and editing after which their photos were submitted to the Committee for processing and judging.
The participants were given 1 1/2 hours to handwrite the essay (in English), which was no less than 500 words and not more than 1000 words. The criteria for the different contests, known to participants only during the briefing for the Contests, were (%): A. Poster-making - originality (40), creativity (25), conceptualization (15), harmony (10), relevance (10). B. Essay-writing - originality (40), conceptualization (20), relevance to theme (20), organization (20). C. Photo-Essay - originality - 40, creativity - 25, conceptualization - 25, relevance - 10. Twenty-one schools participated in the different contests and following were the winners and their respective prizes:
Essay-writing Winners and Prizes (in Php) 1st - Caroline Jaro, Kalayaan High School; 3000 cash, gold medal, certificate. 2nd - Czarina Tuazon, Benigno Aquino High School; 2000 cash, silver medal, certificate. 3rd - Maria Manuel, Bitogo High School;1000 cash, bronze medal, certificate.
Poster-making High School 1st - Jamille Aguilar, MGC New Life Christian Academy; 3000 cash, gold medal, certificate. 2nd - Ruvan Solana, Benigno Aquino High School; 2000 cash, silver medal, certificate. 3rd -Argee Valderama, Cayetano Arellano High School; 1000 cash, bronze medal, certificate. Elementary 1st -Jamia Tolentino, St. Stephen's High School; 3000 cash, gold medal, certificate. 2nd -J ill Tolentino, St. Stephen's High School; 2000 cash, silver medal, certificate. 3rd - Hamzah Marbella, Fresh Mind Montessori Colleges; 1000 cash, bronze medal, certificate.
Photo Essay Winners and Prizes 1st - Manila Science High School; 4000 cash, gold medals, certificates. 2nd - Quezon City High School; 2000 cash, silver medals, certificates. 3rd - Benigno Aquino High School; 1000 cash, bronze medals, certificates.
Astronomy Quiz Winners and Prizes
1st - Pasig City Science High School; 5000 cash, gold medals, certificates. 2nd - Manila Science High School; 3000 cash, silver medals, certificates. 3rd - Benigno Aquino High School; 2000 cash, bronze medals, certificates. Highest scorer -Rigel Gomez, Pasig City Science High School; 1000 cash, medal, certificate. All contestants were each given a certificate of participation.
The 21 participating schools were the following: Benigno Aquino Science HS, Cayetano Arellano HS, Child Jesus of Praque S, Fresh Hills Integrated S, J Fabella HS, Kalayaan National HS, Manila Science HS, MGC New Life Christian Academy, PAREF Southridge S, Pasig City Science HS, Philippine Academy of Sakya, Philippine Buddhacare Academy, Pitogo HS, Quezon City Science HS, Ramon Magsaysay HS, School of Saint Anthony, Saint Mary's Academy, Saint Stephen's HS, Santa Lucia HS, Village School of Parkwood.
The whole Opening Day activities were emceed by two young and very goodlooking Ateneo physicists John Kevin Caballa and Irwin Angelo Amago from the NAW co-sponsor League of Ateneo Physicists.
Our deep gratitude to the League of Ateneo Physicists, Rizal Techonological University Astronomy students (John Lequiron, Francis Amoroso, John Marcelino, John Canlas, and Girlie Cortez), members/officers of the Philippine Astronomical Society who all helped in the preparations/coordination with schools, physical arrangements of the venue, and the actual management of the February 21 Opening Day activities.
CONGRATULATIONS!! NAW 2010 WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!!!