Los Angeles – It was another awe-inspiring banquet honoring The Outstanding Filipino-American Senior Students (TOFASS) from various high schools in Greater Los Angeles for 2012 held recently at the CBS Studios Center in Studio City.
The five male and five female awardees received their plaques of recognition and supplemental scholarship grants of $1,000 each from APOGLA President Emma Rubina-Galang and Board Chairman Eric Serrano. They were assisted by TOFASS Overall Chairman Bro. Tony N. Amon.
Now on its second year, TOFASS is another service project of Alpha Phi Omega (Philippines) Greater Los Angeles in partnership with Asian Journal, Kababayan L.A. –KSI Channel 18 and 19th Tee Golf Club. The Awards Night was hosted by Screening Committee and Media Relations Chair Bro. Dan E. Nino and Sis Daemma Mendez-Yazon. The awardees’ credentials of outstanding scholastic achievements and academic excellence during their four years in high school were cited by the two co-hosts and were also part of the slide presentation graphically crafted by Bro. Sancho Sy.
Sis Emma R. Galang delivered the welcome remarks. Past APOGLA President Francis C. Mejia delivered the invocation while Bro. Eric Serrano introduced the guest speaker. Bro. Tony N. Amon did the closing remarks and in a rising crescendo towards the end of his speech boomed, “Let’s Rock & Roll” to the delight of the brods and sis who filled the dance floor and took advantage of the open bar and had more fellowship.
This year’s 10 crème of the crop include Althea May Alquitran of Narbonne High School who is taking up Political Science at UCLA in preparation for her law school; Louie Kristina Angeles of Mayfair High Schoolnow pursuing Nursing at Cal State University-Long Beach; Neil Joachim Borja of North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet School now taking up Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jocelyn Kate Castro of Mendez Learning Center now attending UCLA where she is majoring in Neuroscience; and Elisha Charnel Marquez of Eagle Rock High Schoolnow attending Stanford University majoring in Economics en route to law school;
Rae Adrian Obnimaga of Los Angeles School of Global Studies now attending Cal State University-Long Beach taking up Civil Engineering;Dawn A. Rice of Mayfair High Schoolnow taking up Biochemistry at UC Davis; Justin N. Sao of Benjamin Franklin High Schoolnow pursuing Chemical Engineering at Stanford University; Albert Francis Tan of North Hollywood High School taking up Business Management at Cal State University-Northridge and Frederick Jan Velez of Los Angeles School of Global Studiesnow attending L.A. Valley College pursuing Respiratory.
Four of the awardees flew in that Saturday just in time for the Awards Night.
Former mayor and current Artesia Councilman Victor Manalo, Ph. D., delivered the inspirational remarks. He told the 10 TOFASS awardees that your “education is not in the degree, but it is what you do with your education. It should come from an understanding of your core values. Dedicate your education to improving the common good, to improving your neighborhoods and communities. Like Dr. Jose P. Rizal, an educated man who used his education to fight for Filipino self-rule and Filipino nationalism. We must use our education for the benefit of others. Councilman Manalo, also a professor at Cal State of Los Angeles in Social Work, commended the APO-TOFASS organizers when he e-mailed them with inspiring notes: “You should be proud of the work you are doing to support the best and the brightest of our community to achieve their goals! Congratulations on a wonderful event and thanks again for allowing me to be a part of it.”
The 17 original nominees who were pruned down to 10 were recommended by their school principals and counselors and were thoroughly reviewed by a five panel of judges namely: ABC School Board Member Lynda Johnson, journalist Mylah De Leon, Transportation Commissioner of Buena Park Felix B. Lopez, Immigration lawyer Mel G. Oxciano and journalist Lydia V. Solis.