The 63rd Annual Merit Scholarship Awards
By Donna Chan Chu
Were you there? Did you see the winners? Do you know how much money was given out? If you answered yes, no need to read on (just read on you know you want to.) But if you answered no then you need to keep reading to find out all the answers.
On Thursday, May 9th over 85 people-members, families and friends gathered at Alameda’s Pier 29 to celebrate Wa Sung Community Service Club’s 63 years of awarding scholarships. These scholarships were awarded to high school seniors of Asian descent going to college in the fall. Scholarships totaling $22,000 were awarded to fourteen young people living in Alameda County or Contra Costa County. The winners were selected based on their scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service. They also submitted a 500 word essay and a letter of recommendation.
President Richard Fong welcomed everyone to the awards dinner and then introduced the keynote speaker, Aimee Eng, President of the Oakland Unified School Board. She is the granddaughter of Raymond Eng, the first elected Chinese American City Councilman in Oakland. She is also the niece of Cimberly Eng-Tamura. This time of year is her favorite, in which high school seniors are celebrated for all their hard work. She shared her thoughts about life and some wisdom her grandfather taught her. She learned at a young age local public service was important. Aimee told the seniors, “know yourself, be proud of who you are.” She also said, “Once in university you’ll get to learn more about yourself. As an Asian, learn your history, your journey, your family’s journey. Be confident and proud of your own upbringing. You’ll face many challenges, so navigate the resources available to you. Ask for help, find support systems. You might struggle once you’re there, because the transition to university is hard. Get involved in groups, not just academics, but service groups. Feed your passion – find your passion.” And lastly she told them, “The most important thing is to remember your roots. Come back and serve your community that gave you so much. Remember where you came from.”
After her inspiring speech thirteen students were awarded a scholarship of $1,500 each. These winners were Melody Cao from Oakland Charter High School, Kristen Chan from Alameda High School, Anya Holbrook from Clayton Valley Charter High School, Michelle Huang from Mission San Jose High School, Xingzhen Ma from Oakland Charter High School, Pei Yi Tam Peng from Oakland High School, Steven Quoc Pham from Hayward High School, Joshua Phelps from Alameda High School, Yang-Jie Qin from Castro Valley High School, Ava Jih-Schiff from San Ramon Valley High School, Alvin Tang from Oakland Military Institute, Amy Xiao from Oakland Charter High School and Gary Xie from American Indian Public High School. One exceptional student, Limsokpov Sung from Oakland Technical High School was awarded the special community service scholarship of $2,500.
Four of these high school seniors will be attending University of California, Los Angeles, three will be attending University of California, Davis, two will be attending San Francisco State University and the other five will be attending one of these-University of California, San Diego, University of California, Merced, San Jose State University, Stanford and College of Alameda.
Thank you to the following people for representing and presenting the scholarships – Dr. Richard Lee, Stan Lukezic, Pattie Fong, Karen Dea, Polly Fong, Adrienne Fong, Al Wong, Loretta Siu, Dr. Wayne Fong, Genie Young and Deborah Pan, Audrey Huie, Stephen Woo, Arnold Mew, Esther Fong-Maynard, Sum Woo and Wilma Wong.
Knowing that these high school seniors want to go on to college and were very grateful to Wa Sung for selecting them to receive a scholarship was a big “thank you” to Wa Sung for all the fundraising done during the year, all the work the Perpetual Committee did to keep the funds growing and to the members and friends who donated towards a scholarship.
Wa Sung Community Service Club extends congratulations to each scholarship winner and a thank you to all our donors who made this event possible.
2019 Wa Sung Merit Scholarship Committee – Donna Chan Chu, Peggy Woon, Jennifer Gee and Becky Wong.
Essay Readers: Jennifer Gee, Becky Wong, Richard Fong, Deborah Pan, Larry Woon, Midori Lambert, Sue Morrison and Debbie Powell.