Ancelmo Catalla

Lucena City, Philippines

Ancelmo  Catalla

During his childhood, Ancelmo’s mother had to work double shifts to make ends meet, which meant that Ancelmo found himself spending a lot of time at home. However, this gave him the chance to explore books, read newspapers, and discover his own passion for writing – a realisation that has helped him throughout his journey as a student journalist and entrepreneur. 

Journalism has taught Ancelmo about the problems his country faces, but it has also shown him that the voice of youth is one of the most important factors in upholding truth and protecting individual rights. As the Editor-in-Chief of his school’s official student paper, The Velocity, he has learned how to give his writing a brave voice by emphasising the importance of press freedom. In May 2020, ABS-CBN, one of the biggest news outlets in the Philippines, was shut down by the government – forcing journalists, celebrities, and activists to speak out. In June 2020, Ancelmo played his part by releasing the first issue of Redshift, a newsletter publication filled with youth voices, artworks created by students, news reports on COVID-19, opinion articles on press freedom, and more. 

In addition to his writing career, Ancelmo is also a budding social entrepreneur. In 2018, he helped design the ACRISIUS machine (Activated Charcoal Chelation Reservoir for Industrial and Sewage Wastewater Initialized Using Sensors). ACRISIUS uses activated charcoal to treat and filter industrial and sewage wastewater for communities that have unsafe water sources yet lack the technology to treat them. Further, in December 2020, during the pandemic,Ancelmo realised that single-use waste like face masks was growing at an alarming rate. He helped design the digital prototype of CABIN – a smart garbage bin that eliminates physical contact through the use of sensors and usesultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect waste, preventing the spread of diseases like COVID-19.

Ancelmo’s academic achievements have been recognised throughout his school career. From more than 2,000 applicants, he was accepted as one of 80 students to the specialist Quezon Science High School. In four years of junior high, he also represented the school and won first place in a number of regional science and mathematics competitions. In senior high, he is now top of his class with a GWA of 98% and highest honours from his school. His ACRISIUS project has also won several awards, including first place in the National Science Quest, beating more than 30 other entries. And, in February 2021, CABIN was hailed as the champion at the ErgoCon competition organised by the University of the Philippines Industrial Engineering Club.  

If he wins the Global Student Prize, Ancelmo will use the funds to set up mini-libraries for public schools in remote areas of the Philippines. He will also help fund schools that cater to children with special needs, who are often neglected, bullied and stigmatized by society.