Saint Stephen High School student won UN art contest and stamp unveling ceremony

Saint Stephen High School, Auditorium,1267  Guillermo  Masangkay Street, Santa Cruz , Manila –Philippines

facade of Saint Stephen High School

It was a bright sunny day when I arrived in Saint Stephen High School compound; this is one of the oldest Filipino- Chinese schools in the country.  This is not my first time to come to this school; some of my aunt, cousins and nieces are alumni if not currently studying in this school.

students playing traditional Chinese music

History :

Originally known as St. Stephen’s Girl’s School, it was founded on July 22, 1917 by St. Stephen’s Mission composed of the Rector and the Chinese members of the church. The school expanded from its initial elementary academic programs to include Kindergarten classes, Chinese Junior High, Chinese Senior High and English High School curricula. It became coeducational in 1945.

colorful Philippine costumes adorned Saint Stephen High School students 

Then, a group of teachers and staffs of the school greeted me. The lobby was filled with student playing traditional Chinese music.

L-R Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Bishop Dixie Taclobao and Dr. Judy D. Tan – Principal

I was then escorted at the second floor where I was greeted by Saint Stephen High School alumni president, Mrs. Elenita- San Diego ( Head – Philatelic and Postage Department of Philippine Postal Corporation)  Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak ( former stamp advisory committee member and alumnus of Saint Stephen High School) , Mr. Rey Ong de Jesus ( current stamp advisory committee member ) Mr. Robert Tan ( president of the Philippine Philatelic Federation ) Mrs. Judy G. Tan -principal of Saint Stephen High School and teachers of the school.

L-R Ms. Razel T. Nubla – trainer of arts , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Bishop Dixie Taclobao , Dr. Judy G. Tan  -Principal and Mrs. Conchita ” Bhaby ” Co-Reyes ( mother )

ceremonial autograph signing of first day cover led by Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mrs. Elenita San Diego , Bishop Dixie Taclobao and Dr.Judy G. Tan

International  Recognition:

20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

What significance do forests have to our everyday life?  Answers were given through paintings submitted to the 20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.  With the United Nations declaring 2011 as International Year of Forests, the theme chosen for this year’s competition was “Life in the Forests.” Some 600,000 girls and boys aged between six and 14 from 98 countries sent in their illustrated messages.

sample of painting courtesy of United Nation Environment Programme


A love of walking in the forests in her home country of the Philippines inspired the winning entry of 13-year-old Trisha Co Reyes.  The competition was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

stylized muslim ethnic dance performed by the students

cultural presentation

Trisha’s entry shows a young girl pulling back a large grey curtain covered in images of dying trees in a polluted landscape, to reveal a colorful forest filled with abundant wildlife. She says the painting is an appeal for people to appreciate the value of forests and to encourage them to plant trees.

L-R Ms. Razel T. Nubla – trainer of arts , Mrs. Conchita ” Bhaby ” Co-Reyes , Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes , Mr. Rey Ong de Jesus and Mr. Manuel Yuchio ( alumni)

“My painting shows two side of the story ;  A good and sustainable forest with flora and fauna  and the causes of forest destruction”, said Trisha Co-Reyes .  “Forests are essential for life on Earth, but the destruction of the forest has become a worldwide problem. We must treasure the earth’s greatest biological treasure, so that we will always have forests in our lives.”

Ms. Trisha Co-Reyes together with her teachers

She received $2,000 in prize money and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Tunza International Children and Youth Conference on the Environment in Bandung, Indonesia, where she will formally received her award last year.  Because of her honor brought to our country the Senate  Resolution No. 67,   commended her peat last 2011.

A light morning meal which consists of Filipino- Chinese foods were served to the visitors , guests and vips.

The young artist was awarded with a DENR scholarship grant that will cover tuition and other school fees for the regular semesters and summer courses in any college or university offering environment-related courses; monthly stipend of P3,000; book and school supplies allowance of P1,500 per semester and P700 per summer course; thesis or research allowance not exceeding P10,000.

First Day Cover with cache design from painting of Trisha Co-Reyes with 1,500 copies printed

Aside from winning last year’s painting contest, she also recently won the 24th Annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest.  Philpost then launched a stamp last June 18 , 2012 to honor UN year of the forest .

Her winning last year is  “the most rewarding in terms of prestige, international fame and financial benefits among the 80 plus awards she has received since she started competing in art contest 10 years ago,” according to her mother, Mrs. Conchita Co-Reyes.

“This is the first time her daughter’s  talent has been recognized with a scholarship award,” Mrs. Reyes said.

Note: As of this writing, the Stephen High School alumni association had ordered over Php 100,000 pesos worth of stamps and framed stamps from Philpost , aside from the hundred of stamps and FDC that was ordered by various stamp collecting clubs and art lovers. A stamp is considered as a miniature piece of art in which paintings , sculptures, wood crafts , architectures ,  national heritages are featured .

Technical Description :

9p   International Year of Forests  (60,000)

Painting by Trisha Co Reyes, St. Stephen’s High School, Manila

Layout Artist:  Victorino Serevo

Litho Offset.  Amstar Company, Inc.  Perf 14

                                                    Singles, Sheets of 40 (10 x 4)

 Date of issuance : 2012, June 18.  Global Winner – 20th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment

 Sources :

Media Kit from Philpost , UNEP and Saint Stephen High School

Philippine Postal Corporation:

Saint Stephen High School :

stephenianleaders. :

United Nations Environment Programme :


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