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67th annual merit scholarship awards

By: Donna Chan Chu, Board Director

“I want to acknowledge the fact that you are not alone. You do not have to carry the world on your shoulders. You do not always have to be the hero in the room. It’s okay to stumble every now and then.” These are just a few memorable statements made by Dr. Judy Ma,

Pharm. D as the keynote speaker.

On May 20, 2023 Wa Sung held its 67th Annual Merit Awards Event. This year’s celebration was held in the Donner Room at the Event Center in Rossmoor, Walnut Creek. The room was filled with many smiles, laughter and much conversation. Donna Chan Chu, 2023 Merit Scholarship Committee Chairperson, Board Director and Manyi Leung, Board Director and Junior League Representative were co-MCs for this year’s event. They welcomed everyone and began the program by sharing the beginnings of Wa Sung and the Merit Scholarship program. After the delicious buffet lunch catered by Creekside Grill, the main program began. Jennifer Cheung, Wa Sung President gave her welcoming remarks and then introduced our keynote speaker, Dr. Judy Ma, Pharm. D. Judy is a past Vice President of Asian Youth Services Association (AYSC) and the founding member of the Wa Sung Junior League program in 2010. She was also a recipient of the 2009 Victor & Bessie Mar Scholarship.

“I can guarantee that you will have your ups and downs, but what I ask of you, is in these moments, to acknowledge your mistakes. To acknowledge those negative inner thoughts. And for you to create an action plan to move on. What have you learned from your mistakes and what will you do to prevent the same mistake from happening again? What can you do to improve yourself and to quiet those negative inner thoughts even if it’s only by a fraction of a degree.” These were more quoted statements by Judy. Having her as this year’s speaker was a good choice as she connected to the winners in so many ways.

After Judy’s speech, Gary Xie and Chun Huang as representatives of the Junior League came up to share their experiences of being a member and why it is important to be a member.

This year we awarded thirteen merit scholarships totaling $20,500 to well deserving high school seniors. The award recipients came from eleven different schools across the bay area. During their time in high school, some were accomplished varsity team captains, fitness instructors, English tutors and translators. They were also environmental activists and urban planners, artists and chefs. Six will be going to a UC, four to a private university, two to a state university and one to a community college.

The first scholarships are funded by the Wa Sung Perpetual Scholarship Endowment funds. The interest incurred through these endowments fund our scholarship awards. Currently we have 22 endowment funds which includes one added last year.

We were not able to award a scholarship for each of the 22 endowment funds, but here we respectfully acknowledge and honor each one by name.

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, Arnold Mew Scholarship and Wilfred & Jane Tom Endowment Fund.

These endowment funds represent the heart and soul of Wa Sung. Many of them are in memory of loved ones who encompass Wa Sung’s mission of service. The endowment funds are created by a donation of $10,000 or more as a gift, special dedication or as a memorial to honor a loved one. We are grateful to our members and families who have made donations to this fund. We are also honored that many of our presenters represent the

many endowment scholarships as a family member or as a donor.

The presenters of these six scholarships were Deborah Chinn Murray and Randall Chinn, who are the children of Walter Y. & Mildred L. Chinn, Dr. Richard Lee & Dr. Jeffrey Lee, sons of Richard & Doris Wong Lee, Pattie Fong, niece of March Fong Eu & Karen Dea, niece of Joseph & Dr. Janet Lee and past president, Cathy Fong & Donna Tom, daughter of Wilfred & Jane Tom, Genie Young & Garrienne Nakano, both on the Board of Directors, daughters of Eugene & Ruby Yee and of the Francis & Eugenie Young Scholarship, and Rebecca Wong, former Board Director and of the Al & Becky Wong Humanitarian Scholarship. Manyi introduced the following winners of the six perpetual scholarships. Aileen Xie from Oakland High School - she will be attending UC Irvine/Urban Studies major. Gabrielle Moon from Head Royce School - she will be attending the University of Chicago/Biology major. Gavin Ginn from Monte Vista High School in Danville - he will be attending the University

of Washington/ Law, Societies & Justice major. Kylie Nguyen from Oakland Charter High School in Oakland - she will be attending UC Berkeley/Biology major. Alexa Hart from Livermore High School in Livermore - she will be attending San Diego State University/Hospitality & Restaurant Management major. Jeffrey Nguyen from Oakland High School in Oakland - he will be attending UC San Diego/Public Health major.

A side note about these winners – Aileen Xie is the younger sister of Gary Xie-a former scholarship winner, Gavin Ginn is the grandson of the late Hoover Ginn (past president in 1965, member of the year in 1975 and a life member) and Alexa Hart is the granddaughter of Gloria Louie.

The next scholarships were funded by donations from members-Edy Chan & her siblings, Roger Werner, Wayne Fong, and Delbert Gee, friends-Stephen & Theresa Woo, Bessie Lok, Martin Lim and families of Wa Sung- Jaclyn & Timothy Bosco, daughter & son-in-law of Richard & Adrienne Fong and Yvette Yip from Wells Fargo Bank.

The presenters of these five scholarships were Cyndee Lim-past president, Stephen & Theresa Woo, Adrienne & Richard Fong-past president, Mike Lok, Roger Werner, and Wayne Fong-past president.Donna introduced the following winners of the next scholarships.

Rei Tey from American High School in Fremont - she will be attending Ohlone Community College/Marketing major. Poinciana Hung-Haas from Oakland School for the Arts in Oakland - she will be attending UC Berkeley/Urban Studies major. Andy Chen from Oakland Technical High School in Oakland - he will be attending UC Berkeley/Economic major. Alyssa Fong from Acalanes High School in Lafayette - she will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo/Microbiology major. Haley Solis from Hercules High School in Hercules - she will be attending Stanford University/Environmental Systems major. Tony Wang from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton - he will be attending Stanford University/Biomedical Computation major.

A side note about these winners-Alyssa Fong is the daughter of Wayne Fong-past president and niece of Cyndee Lim-past president. Poinciana Hung-Haas currently has a quilt art exhibit at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and has designed a “Dragon Power” t-shirt which helps fundraise for ‘Friends of Lincoln Square Park.’

The thirteenth and final Community Service Perpetual Scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Justin Luong from Oakland Technical High School - he will be attending UC Irvine/Biology major. This award is presented annually by the interest from Nancy J. Lee’s large endowment fund.

Wa Sung congratulates all thirteen of our merit scholarship award winners!

Much appreciation goes to the Merit Scholarship Committee, Donna Chan Chu (Chairperson), Jennifer Cheung, Karen Dea, Adrienne Fong, John How, Manyi Leung, Cyndee Lim, Rebecca Wong, Peggy Woon and Linyi Yu who undertook the task of sorting, reading, scoring and then selecting the 13 winners out of the 75 applications received.

It took many people to make this event come to fruition. We acknowledge and thank each one-Karen Dea, Jennifer Cheung and Tim Chu for arranging the accommodations at Rossmoor, finalizing the room details, and organizing the catered lunch. Garrienne Nakano for creating and sending out the evites. Karen Dea for the printed programs. Manyi Leung for being the co-MC and arranging the Junior League volunteers. Robert Won, Gary Xie, Chun Huang, Limsokpov Song, Issac Tong, and Tsz Wai Kwok-volunteers who were asked to do many different jobs and did it. Adrienne Fong for the table decorations with the table numbers and the student’s names. Stephen Woo for being the photographer and Chun Huang for being his assistant. Linyi Yu for handling the money at the check in table, making sure each student got the right check and paid the Creekside Grill bill. Judy Ma, our keynote speaker, who at a chance meeting said yes to our request to be the speaker. Karen Dea

and Manyi Leung who arranged the flowers and the orchid plant for that day. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone.

Thank you to all the presenters either members or nonmembers, who said yes without hesitation. And to all the members who came to show their support of these students and for believing in the mission work of Wa Sung THANK YOU!

Make sure to be at the 68th Annual Merit Scholarship Awards in May 2024-you don’t want to miss it!

I end with one more from Judy Ma which is a quote from one of her favorite novels, The Help.

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

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