ZNNHS-Guided by the tradition of cultivating research culture in the academic community, the Senior High School Unit of Zamboanga del Norte National High School held its 4th ZNNHS Research Congress (ZRC) – the first ever virtual research congress organized in Dipolog City – last April 5 to 9, 2021 via ZOOM and live-streamed in the official ZRC official Facebook page.

This year’s theme “Cultivating Evidence-Based Research in Times of Uncertainties” was a call for unending quest of understanding human behavior through quantitative research. The event gathered a diverse audience composed of scientists, experts, decision makers, experts, researchers and students. The event recorded an average of more than 200 daily participants both in ZOOM and Facebook platforms.

The culminating activity for Practical Research 2 was an action research initiative under Shaping Researchers Program (SRP) (Marticion, Saldon, Mercadera, dela Cruz, Ramos & Testa, 2021). SRP aims to provide alternative classes for students who have the interest of conducting research in the new normal set-up. Even with the challenges brought by the pandemic in providing authentic learning, the innovators wanted to go beyond the contents of self-learning modules. Thus, learners who have the access to Internet, compatible devices and the eagerness to produce academic papers, were encouraged to join SRP and undergo writeshops, online meet-ups, online advising and mentoring. At the end of 1st Semester, program participants presented their full-blown research study through virtual paper presentations.

The virtual congress was officially opened by the OIC Schools Division Superintendent of Dipolog City, Virgilio P. Batan Jr., CESO VI. He recognized the commitment of ZNNHS in promoting research culture amidst pandemic. “DepEd Dipolog City is indeed grateful for ZNNHS for continuing the development of research culture,” he said during the Opening Ceremony.

The Day 1 was attended by Dr. Maricar S. Prudente, action research guru, National Scientist and Full Professor of De La Salle University – Manila, as the keynote speaker. She lauded the efforts of the teacher, organizers and students in coming up with this academic activity “My heart is just filled with gladness that at the very early stage at Senior High School you have taught of this”. In her keynote speech entitled “Challenges and Opportunities of Research in the New Normal”, she suggested strategies in conducting research which are feasible albeit the limited resources of students and teachers. 

Mr. Dandi Romano, Executive Manager of D’Hotel & Suites, delivered his keynote speech on Day 3. The speech revolved around “Weathering the Pandemic in Hospitality Industry and Preparing for Professional World in Post-Pandemic Era”. His keynote speech was a narrative of the innovations of hospitality industry in facing the health emergency crisis. The talk was also a glimpse of how learners could learn lessons from this situation as they become the next generation of the professional world.

On the 4th day, Dr. Rex A. Lim, Faculty of Davao City National High School, shared his best practices in promoting research culture in their school in his speech entitled “The Story That Was and The Story That Is: A Narrative of Research Practices Before and During the Pandemic. Dr. Lim believes that the theme of 4th ZRC was timely, relevant and responsive to a period of uncertainties.

On the last day of the week-long virtual congress, Dr. Jomar Fajardo Rabajante, Dean of Graduate Studies, University of the Philippines Los Baños and one of the most sought scientists for COVID-19 projections, delivered his keynote speech on “Rome wasn’t built on a day so is the scientific community”. The talk calls for young minds to become part of an evergrowing scientific community.

Throughout the 5-day congress, various papers under the following themes: (a) remote learning, (b) Framing Information Literacy in the Pandemic Era, (c) Business as Usual and (d) Mental Health and Well-being were presented. Panel members and experts were invited – Mr. Danilo Rogayan, Jr., University Director for Communications and Publications of President Ramon Magsaysay State University, Dr. Paterno Baguinat III, Professor III of Jose Rizal Memorial State University, Dr. Venus Marie Rojas, ZNNHS Distinguished Alumna and General Practitioner of Medicine, Mr. Arneil Enario, University Librarian of Western Philippines University, Angelea A. Testa, former ZNNHS Faculty and currently Faculty of College of Arts and Sciences from Jose Rizal Memorial State University, Mr. John Philip S. Racaza, Faculty of College of Business and Accountancy from Jose Rizal Memorial State University, Kristine Carl P. Bartonico, RGC, Guidance Counselor of Saint Vincent’s College Incorporated and Amie Rose M. Lacaya, RPm, Guidance Counselor of Andres Bonifacio College. The panelists facilitate the discussion on the research papers presented and integrated suggestions in polishing their papers.

France Garnett D. Icalina, Reina April J. Ablao and Clintonn Renn B. Cuyos, authors of the quantitative study entitled Inquiry-Based Learning in the New Normal: The Crucial Role of Teachers, Learners, Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Learning, with their research adviser, Mr. Jeovanny A. Marticion, was the recipient of this year’s Best Paper Award.

Chonilo S. Saldon, Senior High School faculty for Mathematics Education and main proponent of ZRC, hopes to sustain the research congregation, build linkages with local community and increase participation of teachers and students. This should build an opportunity to share best practices for the different schools to adopt and an avenue for learners to hone their research skills as they pursue higher education, livelihood and employment. The ZRC Working Committee is grateful with the overwhelming support of its newly installed School Principal, Dr. Joselito S. Tizon, research advisers, students and parents of ZNNHS community.

The organizers are now currently preparing for the upcoming 2nd School-Based Congress for Qualitative Inquiry (SCQI) and 4th STEM Expo (National Virtual Congress).

By: Jeovanny A. Marticion