Event marks celebration of UPAAM’s 35th year
Eleven Filipino-American high school graduates received the Outstanding Youth of Michigan (OYM) Awards from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan (UPAAM) at an event held last June 23 at the Ukranian Cultural Center in Warren.
Through its OYM Awards program, UPAAM honors Filipino-American high school graduates for their outstanding achievements not only in academics but also in creative arts, leadership, athletics and community service.
This year’s awardees were chosen by a committee composed of Dr. Enrique Ostrea Jr., Roy Coloma, Delia Rayos, Lavinia Mateo, all former UPAAM presidents, and Anita Sodawalla, incumbent president. The committee members alternated in presenting the awardees.
The 11 awardees and their respective parents are the following:
Gabrielle Dimaguila Adams, Mark and Sylvia Adams (parents); Elle Angeline Almendras, Doctors Sean Patrick and Emmeline Gemma Almendras (parents); Lea Nina Nucum Baker, Nenita Nucum and Marc Baker; William Joseph Bryan, Todd Albert and Victoria Bryan; GariAnn Beatrece Cadelina, Gary and Cantrece Ann Cadelina; Reginald James Roque Galanto, Roderick (Derek) and Maria (Bubot) Galanto; Elijah Noah Mamuyac Jaramillo, Rey and Mary Joy Jaramillo; Hunnah Antoinette Joseph, Dominic and Hana Joseph; Brianna Faith Nogoy, Andrew and Michelle Nogoy; Izaak Connor Ossege, Matt and Marita Ossege; and Sophia Alexis Timban, Demetrio and Cristina Timban.
The awardees graduated magna or summa cum laude or with distinguished honors and high GPA. They received medallions and checks of unspecified amount.
After the awarding, the awardees were called one by one to deliver short remarks. They thanked the UPAAM leadership for honoring them and their parents for their support for their education. They also disclosed the careers they will pursue.
The OYM awards program opened with a welcome address by UPAAM President Sodawalla, followed by the singing of the American and Philippine national anthems.
The invocation was led by former UPAAM president Delia Rayos.
State Senator Steve Bieda (9th district), who graced the event, delivered a brief remark, congratulating UPAAM on its 35th anniversary as well as the recipients of the OYM Awards. The awards, Bieda said, continue “the tradition of excellence in academics, leadership and service.”
After dinner, Elle Almendras, who was one of the awardees, performed a cultural dance. The other numbers in the entertainment program were musical presentation by Albert Catalan, Roy Coloma (piano) and Antonio Galinato (trumpet); and vocal presentation by Hunnah Antoinette Joseph, who was also one of the OYM awardees.
Dr. Enrique “Buddy” Ostrea Jr. was the inspirational speaker. He was introduced by Roy Coloma. (The news story on Ostrea’s scholarly speech will be published in the next issue of the Filipino Star.)
The event also marked the 35th foundation anniversary of UPAAM. In her message, President Sodawalla said, “We have a long way since June 15, 1983 when a group of UP alumni gathered together to organize this organization … and to continue to uphold the legacy and commitment to our dear Alma Mater.”
In recognition of their outstanding service to the organization, awards were given to past UPAAM presidents – namely, Delia Rayos, Bayani Domingo, Dr. Milagros Reyes, Dr. Enrique Ostrea Jr., Dr. Josefino Tunac, Helen Domingo, Lavinia OV Mateo and Roy Coloma.
The event was capped by community dancing. Music was provided by top DJ Allen Carter.