Wa Sung’s 57th Annual Merit Awards Dinner

by Donna Chan Chu

On May 8, 2014, Our Awards Dinner was held at the Legendary Palace Restaurant on 708 Franklin Street, Oakland.

"Event was the best merit award dinner ever. It was nice to hear and acknowledge the kids hard work. The way the presentation was done also allowed everyone to learn about the great people behind the scholarships. The entire theme was very inspirational to all of us. An impressive event which placed Wa Sung’s work center stage".
“The mood was set with the Guest Speaker motivating everyone, especially the young people stepping out in life. It was great to hear from the recipients acknowledging their parents.”
“Speaker was uplifting. And I was very impressed to see how poised the young people were when they spoke.”
“I love it that each recipient was well introduced and that each one had a chance to talk about themselves and the focal point of their essay topic.”
“Promoting our events and the junior league at the end was a great way to draw would be Wa Sung members in and I hope that all the recipients will continue to stay in touch.”
“The Mango Mousse cake was delicious! I couldn't help but had two pieces.”

These were just a few of the comments I received regarding the 57th Annual Merit Awards.

2014 Merit Scholarship Recipients
Back row, left to right: Christina Yee, Emily Hong Bin He, Kelsey Wong, Tamilyn Chen,
Stephanie Thai, Jarren Suzuki, Terence Tang, Katie Chang, Amy Huang
Front row: Simran Disabar, Cheyenne Chen, Veronica Wu,
Nora Jang, Sonia Xu, James Nguyen, Susan Wang

Scholarship recipients and their families started arriving before 6:00 p.m. which gave them a chance to meet their presenter and the presenter got to spend some quality time getting to know more about the student. Each of the sixteen recipients came to the dinner with either one parent, parents or a sibling. Quickly, all nine tables were filled.

After the introduction of the Wa Sung Board and members, dinner was started. Dish after dish came out in quick succession with a plate of fried rice as the finale. But wait there’s more-a dessert plate of jin duey and cookies.

Doreen Lew shared her message of appreciation to the families and how impressed she was with the student’s essays she had a chance to read. Drew Sanders, the Keynote Speaker for this year spoke of many things for the students to be successful. His three key points were, “Great Question” (how will what I am doing affect others and my future), “Destination” (know where you are going) and “Memory” (remember where you come from and remember those who helped you get where you are).

The sixteen merit recipients and their presenters were each announced individually with the presenter mentioning a few of the student’s awards, achievements and community service. Then each winner was handed the mic to tell of their future education, expressions of appreciation to their parent or parents and to Wa Sung. Each student received a Wa Sung Certificate and a $1,000 check.

This merit awards dinner would not have been possible without the tireless work of the Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs: Kinley Wong, Adrienne Fong and Donna Chan Chu. Essay Readers: Nancy Chang, Peter Chu, Allan Wong, Richard Fong, Cheryl Yukumoto, Clayton Yukumoto, Arnold Mew, Doreen Lew, Annis Skousen, Karen Dea and Michael Wong. Accommodations and Cake: Raymond Tang. Program Designer: Karen Dea. Event Photographer: Roland Hui.

You are all encouraged to be a part of next year’s Merit Awards. It is very simple, you can donate towards a scholarship in your name, participate at a Wa Sung fundraising event, be on the scholarship committee and help read essays, or even be a presenter. And lastly, there was this suggestion given to me:

Wa Sung should give an after party for all the seniors who applied for a Wa Sung scholarship. Wa Sung could hold a dance party or just a get together social. These students are all ‘cream of the crop’ and might win other types of prizes donated by our members.