17 Fil-Am students in DC reap Rizal awards
WASHINGTON, DC – Seventeen young Filipino American students from various schools in Metro DC are this year’s honorees of the 25th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards held at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on December 15.
The elementary, middle school and high school students underwent a two-step process to be selected, including the submission of personal essays on topics related to the Philippine National hero’s life.
“The Philippines, home to more than 35 million individuals under the age of 15, has always been mindful of the youth’s potential and that the Government has the responsibility to cultivate their gifts and instill values in them,” said the Philippine Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, in his keynote address. “Jose Rizal had a lot of faith in the youth.”
Ramon Antonio Paterno, co-founder of Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards Day, spoke on Rizal’s passion for history, fight for liberal reforms, advocacy of education as the path towards prosperity and progress, and vision of an enlightened nationalism.
“Rizal’s message is a message of hope for he has addressed you, the youth, as the hope of the fatherland. Finally, discover your roots, learn your history, take pride in your cultural heritage and above all, love your country,” Paterno told the awardees.
Chuasoto and Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC) President Aylene Mafnas awarded the certificates of recognition to the outstanding students in a simple ceremony graced by the awardees’ respective families, PAFC officers and members, and several guests.
The program was even made more exciting by the guitar and violin performances of selected students, and the traditional reading of the winning essays.
The Rizal Youth Awards is an annual recognition program spearheaded by the PAFC, in partnership with the Philippine Embassy.