The 60th Annual Merit Scholarship Awards

by Donna Chan Chu

The 60th Annual Merit Scholarship Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at Pier 29 Waterfront Restaurant in Alameda. It was an inspiring and uplifting evening as we presented scholarships to 14 outstanding young people. As we enjoyed our dinner of prime rib, salmon or pasta there was no lack of conversations, smiles and laughter that filled the room as the presenters and their recipients got to know each other.

There were almost 100 people in attendance. They included the scholarship winners, their families, the presenters and their families, scholarship committee members, board members and general membership. All were there to show support of the recipients and also to be proud of Wa Sung’s achievement in giving back to the community through these scholarships.

President Karen Dea welcomed everybody and shared the many facets of Wa Sung which included many of the upcoming events – June General Meeting, 1st Tee, Rachel Dunn Chocolate Factory, July Annual Picnic, Job Shadowing, August Lobster Clambake, and of course promoted the Junior League. In each envelope the winners’ received included information about the Junior League and a membership application.

Our keynote speaker was the honorable Bruce E. Chan, Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco. Judge Chan is currently assigned to the criminal division. His message to the recipients started with three questions, “Where did I come from?” “Who am I today?” and “Who will I be tomorrow?” He shared his story of growing up in San Francisco, raised by a grandmother who had already raised 6 children of her own, a father who worked hard at many jobs and then finally his father and mother founded a very successful Auto Parts Warehouse. Judge Chan started as a Public Defender-a lawyer who defends those who cannot afford a lawyer. He was inspired to become a judge when Judge Leonard Louie shared with him, “Understand that everyone has struggles, take a chance on somebody and help yourself and others.” From these words he spoke about reading each essay the recipients had written and what he learned about them. They had different backgrounds and different family situations, but all had the same goal of attending college. He even quoted from a few of the essays. Then he went back to those three questions he posed in the beginning. He said they should all answer these questions now and continue to answer these important questions throughout their life.

Selecting 14 scholarship winners from the applications sent in was no easy task for the scholarship committee. Each student had to submit a 2-page application listing their scholastic achievements, extracurricular activities, employment and community service. They also had to submit their high school transcript, SAT test scores, a letter of recommendation and a 500 word essay. The topic this year was, “How has your Asian heritage shaped your outlook on life, with regard to your future in education and career goal?”

Here are the scholarship awards with the recipients and the presenters:

Richard & Doris Wong Lee Scholarship
presented by Richard Lee Jr.
Guan Qiang Li, Skyline High School, Yale University - Biomedical Engineering

Joseph & Janet Lee Scholarship
presented by Karen Dea
Shengmin Xiao, Alameda Science and Technology Institute, University of California, Berkeley – Business Administration

Nancy J. Lee Scholarship
presented by Audrey Huie
Isaac Tong James Logan High School, Johns Hopkins University – undecided

Anne Lukezic Scholarship
presented by Stan Lukezic
Elana Lim, Monte Vista High School, University of California, San Diego – Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Joshua Fong and Susie Oi Young Yip Scholarship
presented by Polly Fong & Loretta Siu
Aaron Mao, Oakland Technical High School, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo – Civil Engineering

Freeman & Mary Chan and Al & Becky Wong Scholarship
presented by Alfred Wong
Jeffrey Lu, KIPP King Collegiate High School, University of California, Irvine – Business Administration

Victor & Bessie Mar and Walter & Mildred Chinn Scholarship
presented by Colin Chinn Murray
Sara Tran, Oakland Military Institute, University of California, Berkeley – Cognitive Science/Pre-Med

Frank & Eugenie Young and Dr. Allan Nunn Scholarship
presented by Eugenie Young
Alexis Owens, Moreau Catholic High School, University of Portland – Science

Gordon & Mary Lee Scholarship
presented by Howard Lee
Joshua Hart, Livermore Valley Charter Prep, Eastman School of Music - Applied Music-Piano Performance

Sidney Fong Scholarship
presented by Esther Fong-Maynard
Cydney Vicentina, California Crosspoint High School, University of California, Los Angeles – Mass Communication/Journalism

May Mew Scholarship
presented by Arnold Mew
Joyce Lee, California Crosspoint High School, University of California, Los Angeles - undeclared Social Science

Hoover Ginn Scholarship
presented by Lisa Ginn Steel
Julie Ho, Pinole Valley High School, University of California, Berkeley - Integrative Biology

Fay Fong Soo Hoo Scholarship
presented by Will Tong
Jamie Li, San Leandro High School, University of California, Riverside - Social Work

Walton Lee and Dr. Neal Fong Scholarship
presented by Valerie Jew and Polly Fong
Cindy Tran, Indian Public High School, University of California, Berkeley – Public Health

The scholarships are funded by the Wa Sung Perpetual Endowment Scholarship funds, donations from members and friends and various fund-raising events held throughout the year.

For this year’s scholarship awards, we received generous donations from Esther Fong-Maynard (in memory of her husband, Sidney Fong 1964 Wa Sung President,) Mary Lee (in memory of her husband, Gordon Lee, Wa Sung Life Member,) Arnold Mew (in memory of his mother, May Jan Mew,) Hoover Ginn’s family (in memory of Hoover Ginn-1965 Wa Sung President, 1975 Wa Sung Member of the Year, and Wa Sung Life Member,) Will Tong (in memory of his mother, Fay Fong Soo Hoo,) and Ethnic Health Institute (in memory of Walton Lee-Wa Sung Life Member.)

We have also received philanthropy donations from Webster S.S. Joe, Jan Jee Wong, Franklin S.F. Jee, Adrienne & Richard Fong, Russell & Evelyn Chan, Dennis & Vidda Chan and Donna & Peter Chu to the Freeman & Mary Chan Scholarship. Shirley Yee & Danny Yee donation was designated to the Susie Oi Yip Young Scholarship.

Thank you so much to all the members, friends and guest who joined in us in celebrating our 60th year providing scholarships to Bay Area High School Seniors with a bright future before them.

Thank you to the 2016 Scholarship Committee for all they did to make this event so meaningful to all. Donna Chan Chu, Chairperson, David Chang, Karen Dea, Cimberly Eng-Tamura, Adrienne Fong, Richard Fong, Howard Lee, Deborah Pan, Kinley Wong, Annis Skousen and Genie Young.