Night of Celebration

by Donna Chan Chu

Keynote speaker Wendy Tokuda

The night was full of smiling high school seniors, proud parents, laughing guests, hungry club members and a very charming keynote speaker. What night is this you’re probably asking? Why it was Wa Sung’s 54th Annual Merit Awards Ceremony held on May 12, 2011.

This year the ceremony was a dinner held at Aroma Restaurant in Alameda. To change it up a bit, instead of a luncheon as in years past, we had a dinner. The night started out with members, presenters and donors getting to know the scholarship winners and their families. Raymond Tang served us a delicious menu of crab cake appetizer, raw potato salad, prime rib with mashed potatoes or salmon with noodles and tiramisu for dessert. He even served an eggplant meal for a few of the vegetarian diners.

There were 56 applicants who applied for one of thirteen scholarships. The applicants of Asian descent came from 29 different high schools around Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

They all had outstanding GPA scores, SAT scores, glowing recommendation letters, moving personal statements and creative essays. The scholarship committee had a hard task before them to select only 13 out of the 56. The applications and all required information were reviewed, narrowed down to 30 then eventually the winning 13 were reached.

These scholarships are funded from the Perpetual Scholarship accounts, Wa Sung fundraising events and the generous donations from individuals. The continued support from the donors, Wa Sung members, and friends of Wa Sung make these scholarships possible every year.

Before the presentation of the certificates and scholarships, President Roland Hui gave a few words of congratulations to the winners and then Wendy Tokuda, this year’s keynote speaker stepped up to the mic. Wendy is best known as a broadcast journalist with KPIX CBS 5 and the founder of “Students Rising Above,” a program that empowers low-income, at-risk Bay Area youth to go to college. There were moments of sound equipment malfunction, but the professional in her managed through it. She spoke of the importance of education and of giving back. She shared some stories from “Students Rising Above” of young people without parents, abusive families, but determined to rise above and be better. Many of those attending the dinner were seen wiping away a tear or two. She said the money that is given is not free, it is but a loan and to pay back is to give others the same chance they were given. Wendy was very personable and down to earth as she stayed till the end of the program, taking photos with just about every one and even gave out autographs. We thank Wendy for making time in her busy schedule to be with us and for encouraging the winners.

Scholarship Committee Co-chair Donna Chan Chu

Each of the scholarship presenters gave a little insight of the student’s awards, achievements and community service activities. All the winners graciously thanked Wa Sung for their scholarship award and especially thanked their families for their support.

Three of the thirteen winners have a connection with Wa Sung. Alicia Fong is the daughter of member Dr. David Fong, Jason Won is the nephew of member David Won and Alyson Au is the granddaughter of honorary member Lena Fong.

Some of the past recipients of a Wa Sung Scholarship present that evening was Dr. Richard Lee, Harlon Fong, Becky Wong, May Sun and Judy Ma.

The Wa Sung Community Service Club Scholarships were funded by a combination of individual donations made directly to fund scholarships and the Club’s fundraising events such as Easter Pancake Breakfast, Crab Feed, and Golf Tournament. Thank you to the following members and friends of Wa Sung for their generous donations to the Merit Scholarship program: John Tam, Arnold Mew, Mary Lee, Lena Fong, Yukiko Sakakura, Esther Fong-Maynard, Steven Woo, and Vaughn Lee, DDS. We also want to acknowledge the Perpetual Scholarship Fund Trustees under the chairmanship of Ken Pon and the Wa Sung Board Members for their support of the Merit Scholarship program.

Many thanks to the Wa Sung members who helped made this event so successful.
Committee members: Cimberly Eng-Tamura, Donna Chan Chu, Adrienne Fong, Karen Dea
Essay Evaluators: Nancy Tsui, Susie Farris, Becky Wong, William Wong, Tilton Quon, Nora Yee, Jeanne Pong, Adrienne Fong, Cimberly Eng-Tamura, Donna Chan Chu
Selection Committee: Ben Yee, Deborah Pan, Judy Ma, Karen Dea, Adrienne Fong, Cimberly Eng-Tamura, Donna Chan Chu
Program Design: Karen Dea
Dinner and Accommodations: Raymond Tang
Photographers: Roland Hui, Richard Fong and dozens of families and Wa Sung members

Donations to the scholarship fund can be made by sending your checks to the Wa Sung Community Service Club – Scholarships, P.O. Box 1561, Oakland, CA 94604. More information can always be found at

2011 Merit Scholarship Awards

In Memory of Richard and Doris Wong Lee, presented by Dr. Richard Lee
Joanna Lu, Oakland High School, University of California, Berkeley, undeclared

In Memory of Joseph Lee, presented by Dr. Janet Lee
Irene Lieu, Oakland High School, University of California, Berkeley, Pre-Med

In Memory of Bill Sakakura, presented by Yukiko Sakakura
Crystal Chan, University of California, Berkeley, Business

In Memory of Dr. Joshua Fong, presented by Lena Fong
Alyson Au, Alameda High School, University of California, San Diego, Business Administration

In Memory of Susie Oi Young Yip, presented by Loretta Siu
Lily Thi Mai, Oakland High School, University of California, Berkeley, Business

Victor and Bessie Mar Scholarship, presented by Victor Mar
Da Ming Ou, American Indian Public School, University of California, Berkeley, undeclared

Al and Becky Wong Scholarship, presented by Al and Becky Wong
Jenny Wong, Skyline High School, University of California, San Diego, Psychology

In Memory of Freeman and Mary Chan, presented by Adrienne Fong
Alicia Fong, Alameda High School, University of California, Berkeley, Media Studies

In Memory of Nancy J. Lee, presented by Linda Wong
Ada Chao, Oakland High School, University of California, Berkeley, undeclared

In Memory of Sidney Fong, presented by Ether Fong-Maynard
Rowena Kuang, Skyline High School, University of California, Berkeley, Animal Science

Gordon and Mary Lee Scholarship, presented by Mary Lee and Harlon Lee
Ryan Fong, Skyline High School, University of California, Berkeley, Mathematics

Lena Fong Scholarship (donation by Steven Woo), presented by Barbara Hing
Jason Jie Won, Head-Royce School, University of California, Berkeley, Bio-Engineering

In Memory of May Jan Mew, presented by Arnold Mew
Julie Huang, Alameda Science & Technology Institute, University of California, Davis, Chemistry

Back row, from left:
Wendy Tokuda, Cimberly Eng-Tamura, Alyson Au,
Jason Jie Won, Da Ming Ou, Irene Lieu, Rowena Kuang,
Lily Thi Mai, Ryan Fong, Alicia Fong, Donna Chan Chu

Front row:
Julie Huang, Jenny Wong, Ada Chao,
Joanna Lu, Crystal Chan