Compassion-Sponsored Teen Named Top Student in the Philippines

After a yearlong search, the Philippines Government awarded a Compassion-sponsored teenager the title of “Most Excellent Child in the Philippines.”

Meet Jay Mark, the prizewinner!

A teen boy, the "Most Excellent Child in the Philippines," wearing a black jacket and white shirt holds his arms out to the side, smiling, standing in front of a large group of children in front of a church.

On Dec. 1, 2018, 15-year-old Jay Mark became 2018’s “Most Excellent Child in the Philippines.”

This is no small accolade, as Jay Mark, a Compassion-sponsored child from the island of Mindanao, was awarded the title after a yearlong, nationwide search. The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development bestows the award to a child in the Pantawid Pamilya, a government program that supports the poorest Filipino families.

To be named Most Excellent Child in the Philippines, Jay Mark participated in academic tests, talent competitions and panel interviews. Over the course of several months, the competitions progressed from interschool, to provincial, regional and, finally, a national level.

“It was definitely an experience and honor I can never forget,” says Jay Mark.

A teen boy stands outside a window, holding an award plaque for the Most Excellent Child in the Philippines.

The award ceremony — shown on national television — featured an interview with Jay Mark. During the presentation, he received a plaque, gold medal and U.S.$575, which he used to buy a laptop.

“There were politicians, national leaders and well-known celebrities attending the awarding ceremony, which was held in the capital city,” says Jay Mark. “It was my first time to ride an airplane, see the capital city and meet famous people. I never thought I would see Manila in my lifetime!”

The Road From Poverty to Most Excellent Child in the Philippines

Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost group of islands and the location of Jay Mark’s hometown, Kapatagan, is riddled with social conflicts and political unrest. His father works as a pedicab driver, earning about U.S.$7.70 per day to support his family of seven. The family’s poverty qualified them for the government’s Pantawid Pamilya program. Jay Mark also qualified for the local church-based Compassion center, where he has become an outstanding young leader.

“I grew up under the shadows of poverty, but I never wavered in my dream of pursuing excellence in my studies,” says Jay Mark.

A teen boy sits in a classroom, wearing a black jacket, surrounded by other boys.

His Compassion center ensures that hardworking students like Jay Mark can attend school by providing for educational necessities such as books, supplies, school uniforms and shoes. Children also receive tutoring at the center to help ensure they succeed academically.

“Being part of this program is one of the biggest gifts God has given me, because my parents haven’t had to worry about my school expenses.”

Maricris Quinimon, Director of Jay Mark’s Compassion center, describes him as respectful, funny and attentive in class. He’s active at church and a good role model. In school, Jay Mark has maintained a 95.7% grade average. And besides all that, he writes for the school paper, participates in a jazz club and leads the debate team!

Jay Mark credits the church and Compassion center for enabling him to overcome the challenges experienced by the young people of Kapatagan.

“In our community there are lots of challenges that teens like me face. Drug addiction, school absenteeism, gangs and teenage pregnancy are rampant here. This is why many youths don’t succeed in finishing their schooling,” he says.

A Bright Future Ahead

Juanita, Jay Mark’s mom, knows her son has a lot to look forward to.

“He is very confident, and I think he could be a good lawyer some day. I believe he developed his talents and self-confidence at the Compassion center.”

A woman has her arms around a teen boy in a white shirt, standing in front of a green field.

As this year’s Most Excellent Child in the Philippines, Jay Mark will represent the awards body in several academic activities. Many students now recognize him around the province, and he hopes that this momentum will lead to an opportunity to study in one of the leading universities in Manila.

“It’s a big deal having won,” says Jay Mark. “I am grateful to my family, church and Compassion. I intend to continue to join such competitions and win!”

Please congratulate Jay Mark in the comments on this remarkable accomplishment of being the Most Excellent Child in the Philippines!

29 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Ayzha January 1, 2022

    Congratulations on what you have done and using it to glorify God by giving the credit to him. God loves you and is proud of you!! 🙂

  2. Anita Coursey August 14, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! You have used your own abilities, and let God help and bless you. Good for you! I pray that you will continue in God’s care, and be successful as He wants you to be.

  3. Godfrey Wayengera August 8, 2019

    Congratulations Mark upon that achievement. It is so great having you attain that honor. I’m so glad you are a focused person and one who is respectful and attentive in class. May the Lord lead you on this new found journey of your life. You have made us proud.

  4. Sandy Taylor August 6, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! That is a huge accomplishment, and I am so happy for you. God has blessed you, and will continue to bless you as you look to Him for wisdom and guidance.

  5. Judy Gill August 2, 2019

    Congratulations JayMark! I’m so happy for you and pray God will continue to bless you.

  6. Melvin Clemons Jr. August 2, 2019

    God bless you and your family Jay!! Keep up the good work and know that God loves you!!

  7. Deborah Flowers August 2, 2019

    Congratulations Jay Mark!
    That is quite an amazing achievement. God has surely blessed you.
    I pray that you will always stay faithful to the Lord and He will continue to bless you.
    In Christ,
    Deborah Flowers

    ps… my sponsored child, who is also 15, is from your Country.

  8. Deborah Flowers August 2, 2019

    Congratulations Jay!That’s quite an achievement! God has surely blessed you. I pray that you will always be faithful to Him and He will continue to bless you and your family.

    In Christ, Deborah Flowers

    ps.. my sponsored kid lives in your Country also!

  9. Lyn August 2, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! What an accomplishment! May you continue to use your many talents to give glory to God and spread His love. We are so very proud of you!

  10. Debra McCarty August 2, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay! This is an awesome accomplishment! God bless you!

  11. Corne’ Harvey August 2, 2019

    Congratulations dearest Jay Mark on this incredible achievement, may God use this amazing victory to inspire other children.
    Prov.3 Verses 5 to 6

    [5] Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

  12. Sheri August 1, 2019

    Congratulations Jay Mark! So proud of you for this amazing accomplishment!

  13. michelle August 1, 2019

    congragulations Jay Mark may JESUS continue to bless you and your family

  14. Lori Matarazzo August 1, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! My best wishes to you! As you continue on life’s path, rely on God and He will be with you every step of the way.

  15. Irene Plummer August 1, 2019

    Praise the Lord God for such good news in regard to your achievement–you bless all of us.

  16. Sam Curcio, Jr. August 1, 2019

    GOD BLESS you in all that he has planned for you… brother in CHRIST JESUS


  17. Sharon Garritson August 1, 2019

    Congrats, Jay. Very proud of you and your hard work. I sponsor a young boy in Elsalvador. I wish good things for him as well. God has a plan for you both. Keep up the good work, and God bless!

  18. Wendy Hunter August 1, 2019

    Keep on keeping on Jay Mark. I know that with your abilities, scholarship, and most importantly FAITH in the Lord Jesus, you will go far and do great things to benefit your country!!! -from Virginia Beach, where many Filipinos live and work for US Navy!

  19. Lorraine Sedeyn August 1, 2019

    What an awesome accomplishment Jay Mark! May your road ahead be marked with Godly accomplishments, and may you lead many to Christ through your example!

  20. Carol Ward August 1, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark!!!! This is a wonderful honor you’ve earned!! May God bless you and guide you as you continue growing in His wisdom and shining His light for others! We’re cheering you on and praying for you!

  21. Jeanne Moss August 1, 2019

    What an amazing accomplishment!! Congratulations, Jay Mark!! I am so proud of you and all the things you have done to achieve this!

  22. Sue MILLS August 1, 2019

    Congratulations to you Jay! You are a deserving young man who has taken advantage of opportunities that have been and are being offered to you. Let God continue to lead you and you will gain much success in His name!

  23. Curt & Mary Nicolaisen August 1, 2019

    Jay Mark! Congratulations!! What an amazing accomplishment…..may God continue to bless you in your future.

  24. Kathy Wenrich August 1, 2019

    We are so proud of you, Jay Mark!! We know God has big plans for your future and He will prepare your way and meet all your needs. Continue to follow His lead. Congratulations on your win.

    Jim and Kathy Wenrich

  25. Steve F Horne July 31, 2019

    Wow, Jay Mark! We’re so proud of you and thankful for how Compassion was used by God to make this all possible for you!

  26. Marcus July 31, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! Now go rock this world in Jesus’s name!

  27. Diana Torgerson July 30, 2019

    Congratulations, Jay Mark! We are very, very proud of you! What an example you are to other children! May our Lord bless you and keep you safe!

  28. Pamela Madril July 29, 2019

    Love it! When you have that kind of motivation and support there is nothing you cannot accomplish! Let the Lord lead you and guide you. ?

  29. Bookwatcher July 26, 2019

    A truly awesome boy! He worked so hard and came so far with God by his side. May he continued to be blessed and achieve his dreams.

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