University of the Philippines Rural High School Continuing the SPARK11

Since 2019, the SPARK11 (Samsung Philippines Algo Research for K11) program has challenged the youth to come up with innovative, future-forward ideas to address social issues using cutting edge technology, encouraging young students to take action in shaping the future that they want to see. Samsung R&D Institute Philippines (SRPH) successfully concluded this year’s SPARK11 in partnership with University of the Philippines Rural High School (UPRHS) last May 9, 2024 at the SRPH Boardroom located in Science Hub Tower 3.

This year’s program commenced with opening remarks from SRPH’s Managing Director, Yong Seok Park, in which he expressed his gratitude for the collaboration with UPRHS, which has continued since 2022. After a month of mentoring from SRPH’s top engineers, SPARK11 contestants finally reached the most crucial stage of the competition, the Idea Contest, where they are tasked to present their smart-tech solutions to address social problems in the Philippines.

Eight teams, Syntax Error, Algorhythm, Carebears, Pixelites, Blackbox, BuddyBears, AmiGOS, and OSO, competed for the prize. Finalists presented ideas that aim to solve issues related to disaster readiness, healthcare, nutrition, wiring installations, and configuration problems while adhering to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Each team was given a total of 15 minutes to share their ideas, with 10 minutes allotted for the presentation proper and 5 minutes for the Q&A. The panel of judges consisted of tech experts from SRPH: Alwyn Cardones, Goodwealth Chu, Blaise Cruz, Silver Rae Garcia, and Jeffrey Kenneth Go, along with Prof. Romeo Lacro III and Asst. Prof. Leopold Laset from UPRHS. Contestants’ ideas, which included a diverse range of algorithm applications to solve pressing social problems, were evaluated according to innovativeness, necessity, suitability, and feasibility.

Through a short video, finalists recalled their experiences in collaborating during difficult times, and shared how they were inspired to gain more tech experience to become globally competent in the IT industry. Mabel Buela, UPRHS Assistant Professor, delivered a special message of support for the finalists before the announcement of the winning team.

Finally, after careful deliberation from the judges, The winning team, CareBears, was presented with a Certificate of Recognition, and each member took home a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds. Additionally, all participants received exclusive SPARK11 merchandise.

In his closing remarks, Michael Pascua, management sponsor of SRPH CSR, reminded everyone of SPARK11’s mission and vision: to empower the Filipino youth and to enable them to adapt to the digital world through the use of innovative global technology. He hopes that the SRPH CSR program continues to light a spark within each participant, inspiring them to take charge in shaping the future through technology.