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Outstanding pupils and students of Mt. Diwata Elementary School and Mt. Diwata National High School received their medals but those who garnered first honors were not just given medals - but real gold medals.

All first honor awardees from Grade 1 to fourth year high school received gold medals.

Robec Jose Calunia, Grade 6 valedictorian, was one of the recipients of the gold medals, and he has received five of them since the program started in 2003.

"Nakatanggap ako ng medalyang ginto. Masaya ako dahil pinangaralan ako," said the beaming young Calunia.

His father Rolando said: "Proud ako sa anak ko. Mabait talaga siya at matalino."

The medals made of 16-carat gold weighed more than 10 grams and had silver in the center. They reportedly were worth more than P11,000 each.

Even with it’s high cash value Donna Rose Mayola, high school valedictorian, would not part with her award and wants to keep her gold medal in her collection.

"I-keep ko na lang ito," said Mayola.

Since Mt. Diwata is known for its gold mines the tradition of awarding medals with real gold to outstanding graduates would continue.

Franco Tito, barangay chairman, said in the vernacular: "It is not that we are bribing them but we would like them to have funds for college."

The medals were from contributions of barangay officials of Mt. Diwata as rewards for their outstanding students in the area known to have the biggest gold deposits in the country.


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