BATCH 2015. Eighteen Filipino-American graduates pose for a souvenir photo shortly after they were honored in a program held on June 19, 2015 at the social hall of the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan (PACCM) in Southfield. Fifteen of them graduated from high school, and three from college. Honoring graduates for their accomplishments is a yearly program of PACCM. (Photo by Percy Antonio)
BATCH 2015. Eighteen Filipino-American graduates pose for a souvenir photo shortly after they were honored in a program held on June 19, 2015 at the social hall of the Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan (PACCM) in Southfield. Fifteen of them graduated from high school, and three from college. Honoring graduates for their accomplishments is a yearly program of PACCM. (Photo by Percy Antonio)

The Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan (PACCM) honored last Friday (June 19) evening 18 Filipino-American youths who graduated this year from high school and college.

The event, which was held in the PACCM building in Southfield in partnership with the Michigan Circulo Pampangueno (MCP), is a yearly PACCM program to honor graduates for their milestone accomplishments.

Most of the graduates graduated with flying colors. Fifteen of them graduated from high school, and all of them will be attending college in the next school year.

Attorney Carol Anasco D’Agostino, who was the guest speaker, told the young graduates “not to be afraid of trying something new, and whatever you do, do your best.”

D’Agostino, who was introduced by Arcie Gemino, advised the graduates “to be always nice to people, treat people with respect and always be grateful.”

She said, “You will have your opportunities, and what you will do with the opportunities is all that matters.”

She said she had struggled hard as a new immigrant and as a student and worked as a front-desk personnel in a hotel receiving a minimum wage.

D’Agostino recalled there were “bumps along the way,” but she persevered and 12 years later, she became an immigration lawyer.

Delivering the opening remarks, PACCM President Becky Tungol said, “Today, we honor our 2015 graduates for their great achievements. We express our thanks to the parents who inspired, guided and supported their children in accomplishing their goals through education.”

Tungol told the graduates to be proud as Filipinos, appealing to them “not forget your roots and pride yourselves with our rich Filipino values and traditions.”

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PACCM Board Member Teresa Duller, who was the chairperson of the overall event committee, delivered the welcome remarks. She told the graduates, “Remember that knowledge is one of the most powerful gifts you have the privilege of receiving, and so don’t take it for granted.”

Filamcco Foundation President Ernie Mac delivered a brief remark. She said, “This is your night. Keep it in your heart wherever you are that your education is a gift of love.”

MCP President Flor Sitchon was the master of ceremonies.

The 15 high school graduates honored were:

  • Andrew Afante, who graduated from Troy High School
  • Santos Matthew Cardenas, Groves High School
  • Naomi Caridad, Sterling Heights High School
  • Diana Lee Dionisio Carpena, Sterling Heights High School
  • Nina Duller Cedro, International Academy
  • Maxine Angela dela Paz, Walled Lake High School
  • Danica Rose Demano, Warren Towers High School
  • Teresa Mae Duller, Troy High School
  • Brittany Jerzowski, International Academy East
  • Francis Macatula, Rochester High School
  • Jaeina Larein Limbo, West Bloomfield High School
  • Jeremy Henry Marcelo, International Academy
  • Aleana Teresa Siacon, International Academy
  • Jessie Elijah Tremucha, Stevenson High School
  • Gabriel Sean Rojano Villa, West Bloomfield High School.

The three college graduates honored were Victor Alava, BS in nursing, Madonna University; Samantha Ramirez, BS in speech language pathology, Eastern University; and Jerahmeel Vedua, BA in advertising, concentration: Management and media, Michigan State University.

Jerahmeel, a son of PACCM Treasurer Jeff Vedua, started recently working as project manager for Agency 720, an advertising agency in downtown Detroit.