EXCELLENCE IN PERFORMING ARTS. Dr. Buddy Ostrea (right) congratulates Ian Christian Espiritu who was one of the seven outstanding youth honored by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan (UPAAM) last June 18 at the Ukranian Cultural Center in Warren. Espiritu received the Award for Excellence in Performing Arts. Doctor Ostrea presented the awardee. (Photo by Percy Antonio)

The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Michigan (UPAAM) honored seven top Filipino-American high school graduates at an event held last June 18 at the Ukranian Cultural Center in Warren.

The seven graduates were given Outstanding Youth of Michigan (OYM) awards for excellence in citizenship/community service, academics, performing arts, community leadership and athletics.

Honored at UPAAM’s 33rd annual OYM presentation were Andrew Arche, Tonimarie Catalan, Ian Christian Espiritu, Nolan Felicidario, Hope-Marie Olivan, Ciara Timban and Tru Michael Wilson.

Arche received the award for Excellence in Citizenship/Community Service for, among others, his “extensive involvement in many activities both in school and in the community.” For four years, he served as volunteer “at Special Olympics in Central Michigan University, did work for Habitat for Humanity in Indiana and Tennessee and helped in giving presents to families in need during the holiday season.”

Arche graduated magna cum laude from Sterling Heights High School with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.603 and ranked No. 76 of 380 seniors. His parents are Riniel and Dorothy Arche of Roseville, Michigan.

Catalan got the award for Excellence in Academics. She graduated “valedictorian, summa cum laude” from Bishop Foley High School and ranked No. 1 in her class. She has a weighted GPA of 4.8 and a cumulative GPA of 4.5. Also good at acting and dancing, she performed in school productions of “The Crucible,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Boyfriend,” “Anything Goes,” “The Mikado,” and “Cinderella: The Musical.”

Catalan’s teacher in Advanced Placement in English Language described her as “an extremely hard worker, excellent writer, actively engaged student, intelligent, kind, and bubbly.” Her parents are Antonio and Dr. Marissa Catalan.

Espiritu received the award for Excellence in Performing Arts. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, with a cumulative GPA of 3.58 throughout high school. “Having taken multiple Advance Placement and Honors classes, Ian excelled in academics. He received magna cum laude in National Latin Award and was first honors every semester throughout high school.”

Espiritu was also involved in the Theatre at University of Detroit, playing significant roles in two musicals, “Les Miserables,” and “Big Fish,” and one play, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” He likewise played the violin in the Suzuki Royal Oak Orchestra and had travelled to Carnegie Hall and Europe for student performances. He will take up nursing at the Loyola University Chicago Marcella Neihoff School of Nursing and “has received the Jesuit one-half tuition scholarship worth $81,400 over four years. Her parents are Dante Espiritu and Dr. Doree Ann V. Espiritu, who is a 1982 graduate of UP-Diliman.

Felicidario got the award for Excellence in Community Leadership. He graduated from the Athens High School in Troy with a career GPA of 4.0732 and scored a composite mark of 32 in his ACT. He headed the charity organization at Athens High School which donated over 2,000 pairs of shoes to the less fortunate Maasa people in Tanzania, Africa. He was founder and executive director of Step On Poverty, a non-profit organization that supports charities for poor people in Africa.

Felicidario was also webmaster of the Troy Foundation for Educational Excellence, an NGO that gives grants to teachers. He was likewise voted into the board of Leadership Troy (LT) as the youngest director in the 40-year history of LT. His parents are Iryl Jude and Jocelyn Sison Felicidario of Troy, Michigan.

Olivan received the award for Excellence in Citizenship/Community Service. She graduated summa cum laude from the Bishop Foley Catholic High School (BFCHS) with a GPA of 3.92 throughout high school.

She was elected member of the National Honor Society in 2016. Her social studies teacher described her as “one asks excellent discussion questions, offers intuitive responses, leads group projects and is a very good public speaker. Her English teacher commented that she “has exceptional writing skills, high level of critical thinking and her ability to analyze literature exceeds the expectations of high school students.”
Olivan was likewise active in a number of organizations. She is a daughter of Jose and Margarita Olivan of St. Claire Shores, Michigan.

Timban got the award for Excellence in Academics. She graduated summa cum laude from the Troy High School, and throughout high school she was included in the Principal’s Honors List for maintaining a score of straight A’s and a weighted GPA of 4.23. She received 2,240 in her SAT and 34 composite score in her ACT. She has taken nine Advanced Placement courses “for which she received the National AP Scholar Award.”

Timban is a member of the National Honor Society and the Symphony Orchestra for which she plays both the piano and the upright bass. She was also a member of the Girls Golf Team. She is a daughter of Demetrio and Christina Timban of Troy.

Wilson received the award for Excellence in Athletics. He graduated magna cum laude from De La Salle Collegiate with a cumulative GPA of 3.7 throughout high school. While consistently in the Honor Roll and Principal’s List, he received many awards as an athlete. He bagged the Tony DeSantis Man of the Year Award for being one of the top athletes at De La Salle. He played football for four years, competed in wrestling for three years and played baseball for one year. He made it to the state wrestling tournament and won a state championship in football. Other honors in football include the Semper Fidelis All-American, All-State, All-County TV Player of the Year and overall MVP for leading his team to the playoffs.

Wilson was described by the United States Marine Corp as “a young man who always leads by personal example, who inspires his friends and teammates through his work ethic and dedication.” His parents are Michael and Angela Wilson of Warren.

The awardees were presented by the members of the board of judges, namely Delia Rayos, Helen Domingo (chairperson), UPAAM President Roy Coloma, Dr. Enrique Ostrea, Jr. and Bayani Domingo.

The emcees at the event were Carmen Perez-Villanueva and Joseph Estrada.


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