The Department of Education congratulates the 2022 Global Student Prize Top 50 Finalists, Leah Angela Cioco and Zanti Alfonso Gayares.
Leah Angela Cioco studies Applied Math at the University of the Philippines. She is an entrepreneur, published writer, and dreams of redefining her country’s education system for the next generation of Filipino students.
She is co-founder of The Independent Collective (IndieCo), a media production start-up that pushes boundaries through socially engaged conversations.
Through IndieCo, Leah aims to create a safe space for young thought leaders, innovators, and the youth at large to see themselves reflected in the media and make them feel empowered to create change. It aspires to help the next generation of independent leaders and thinkers to stay informed about news they care about, to be able to see and share stories of amazing people doing important things and to provide more opportunities to showcase humanity.
IndieCo’s ‘Young Blood Writers’ Program’ has helped high school students get published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the New York Times, and other news publications and academic journals. Its podcast episodes have been used as supplementary educational resources by local high schools. To date, it has reached 2.3 million people globally and has garnered support and funding from the National Development Research Council of the Philippines (NDRCP), start-up incubator Brainsparks.ph, and AIESEC.
Zanti Gayares is a writer, journalist, scientist, and activist at the Holy Child Catholic School in Manila. He has won numerous journalism prizes and awards at both regional and national levels, carries out advanced scientific research, is a passionate advocate for science, press freedom, climate action, and LGTBQ rights.
Zanti uses his platform as a journalist to tell the stories of marginalized or oppressed sections of society such as indigenous people, give voice their struggles, and bridge gaps between disparate groups. In his term as the Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper, Zanti pushed for a renewed focus on environmental actions and promoted the importance of science literacy to counter pandemic misinformation. At the national level, Zanti is an opinion writer and columnist for Explained PH, a youth-driven publication where he writes about social justice in the education and science sectors. He is also National Secretariat of the Science and Technology Editors Guild of the Philippines (SENTINEL)