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66th Annual Merit Scholarships Awards Celebration

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

By: Donna Chan Chu

On Saturday, May 14th, the 66th Annual Merit Scholarship Awards Celebration was held at Pier 29 Restaurant in

Alameda. The panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay added to the excitement of the many conversations, smiles and laughter as this event was finally in person after being on zoom for the past two years.

Limsokpov Sung

Donna Chan Chu, 2022 Merit Scholarship Committee Chair and Limsokpov Sung, Junior League member, past director on the Wa Sung Board and a 2019 scholarship recipient were co-MCs for the event. They welcomed everyone and began the program by sharing the

beginnings of Wa Sung and the Merit Scholarships. After lunch, everyone was treated to a cake that celebrated our high school seniors and everybody’s birthday. Garrienne Nakano led us all in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone.

Donna Chan Chu and Janelle Bitker

President Karen Dea gave her welcome message, congratulated the winners and shared a story before she introduced our keynote speaker, Janelle Bitker. Janelle was a scholarship recipient in 2009, an Alameda native and a graduate of UC Davis. She is now Senior Editor with The San Francisco Chronicle’s Food & Wine department. “You are doing great.” “You’re going to be fine.” “What you do does matter.” These were just a few of the memorable statements Janelle shared. “Find something you love because you’ll have to spend most of your life doing it” was the advice she received from her father when she was in the midst of making her career choice. Many of the Wa Sung members nodded in agreement with those words. In closing, she recommended the high school seniors to “seize opportunities and create your own opportunities” and “to do what makes you fulfilled.”

Invited to speak next was Board member Chun Huang and Aileen Xie. Both are Junior League representatives who spoke about Wa Sung’s Junior League program, events and encouraged the scholarship recipients to join. Scholarships were awarded to eleven bright, enthusiastic, and ready to change the world high school seniors. Selecting eleven winners was not an easy task to do when forty-four applicants applied. Much appreciation goes to the 2022 Merit Scholarship Committee Members: Donna Chan Chu (Chair), Edy Chan, Karen Dea, Adrienne Fong, Jennifer Gee, John How, Oshi Jauco, Manyi Leung, Cyndee Lim, Priscilla Mah, Rebecca Wong, Peggy Woon, and Linyi Yu.

The first six scholarships were funded by the interest incurred through the twenty-one Wa Sung Perpetual Scholarship Endowments. These are the names of the endowment funds: Richard & Doris Wong Lee Memorial Scholarship, Joseph & Dr. Janet Lee Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Allan Nunn Memorial Scholarship, Susie Oi Young Yip Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Joshua Fong Community Service Scholarship, Mildred L. & Walter Y. Chinn Scholarship, Nancy Jo Lee Memorial Scholarship, Victor & Bessie Mar Scholarship, Freeman & Mary Chan Memorial Scholarship, Al & Becky Wong Humanitarian Scholarship, Ann Mon Wai Lukezic Memorial Scholarship, Francis & Eugenie Young Scholarship, Dr. Clifton Fong Memorial Scholarship, Karen Dea Scholarship, Tommy & Rosalie Chan Scholarship, March Fong Eu Scholarship, Ching Ti Lam Endowment Fund, Leung Family Scholarship, Eugene & Ruby Yee Memorial Fund, Mary & Gordon Lee Endowment Fund, and Arnold Mew Scholarship.

The presenters of these six scholarships were Pattie Fong, Audrey Huie, Cyndee Lim, Wayne Fong, Becky Wong, Donna Chan Chu, Genie Young, Garrienne Nakano, Janelle Bitker, Loretta Siu and Jeff Lee. These presenters were either donors, a family member or close friend of an endowment scholarship.

The first six recipients announced by Lim were Irene Kou from De Anza High School in Richmond (she will be attending UC Berkeley-Ethnic Studies Major.), Alexandria Reyes from Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon (she will be attending New York University-Global Public Health Major.), Adrian Segura from Oakland High School in Oakland (he will be attending UC Berkeley-Computer Science and Cognitive Science Major.), Ethan Ye from Irvington High School in Fremont (he will be attending UC Berkeley-Molecular Cell Biology Major.), Abigail Lau from Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon (she will be attending Harvard University-English and Biology Major.), and Janice Tran from Holy Names High School in Oakland (she will be attending Wesleyan University-Molecular Biology Biochemistry Major.)

The next four scholarships Donna introduced were made possible from Wa Sung members and family, friends and two corporate foundations. We thank Roger Werner, Edy Chan and her siblings (Dick Chan, Paula Chan Carpenter and Barbara Chan), Stephen & Theresa Woo, Howard Lee, Network for Good Facebook and Regal Foundation for their generous donations. Presenting these awards were Roger Werner, Priscilla Mah, Peggy Woon, John How, Chun Huang, Aileen Xie, Adrienne and Richard Fong.

Yaozu Li from Oakland Charter High School (he will be attending UC Berkeley-Bioengineering Major) was awarded a scholarship donated and presented by Roger Werner. Thanh Ong from Oakland Technical High School (he will be attending San Francisco State University-Nursing Major) was awarded the Edward H. & May Chan Memorial Scholarship. YuBao Lin from Castro Valley High School (she will be attending UC San Diego-Data Science Major at Revell College) received a scholarship in honor of Lena Fong donated by Stephen & Theresa Woo. It was presented by Chun Huang and Aileen Xie, Junior League and AYSC (Asian Youth Services Committee) members. Li Ping Huang from Antioch High School (she will be attending University of Southern California-Music Industry Major) received a scholarship donated by Howard Lee, Network for Good Facebook and Regal Foundation presented by Adrienne and Richard Fong.

Karen Dea, Hillary Khuu and her mom

The eleventh and final scholarship awarded was the $2,500 Community Service Perpetual Scholarship. The interest from Nancy J. Lee’s large endowment enables this award to be presented annually. This scholarship was presented by Karen Dea and Deborah Pan to Hillary Khuu from Hercules High School-she will be attending UC Berkeley-Engineering Major.

Each of the recipients received a Wa Sung Certificate, their scholarship check and a special Certificate of Congratulations from Phong La, Alameda County Assessor.

Wa Sung is honored to be able to award scholarships annually to help these young people with their educational goals. In the future they will be physicians to help those in their communities, they will be researchers to develop new and better ways to enrich their communities, they will be helpful and caring nurses, they will be software engineers to create equitable and accessible technology specifically in healthcare, they will be teachers, they will be attorneys and the list goes on.

Congratulations to our eleven scholarship winners! Wa Sung wishes you the best as you graduate from high school and move on to your school of choice.

Merit Scholarship Winners

Wa Sung is thankful to all the Wa Sung members, their families and friends who help support this event by attending our Annual Crab Feed event, participate in the Shop with Scrip program and donate towards a scholarship.

Another way to support the Merit Scholarship Awards program is by establishing a named endowment fund in the Wa Sung Perpetual Scholarship Fund. This can be done as a gift, special dedication or as a memorial to honor a loved one for $10,000 or more through outright donation or through a will or trust.

Many thanks to those who helped to make the awards ceremony an event enjoyed by all. If you missed this year’s event don’t worry you’ll just have to attend next year’s 67th Annual Merit Scholarship Awards! Be sure to catch the collage of photos from the event in the July Newsletter.

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