Overseas alumni aid new grads | Global News

Overseas alumni aid new grads

REY LACHICA, UK-based scientist, receives his own plaque as BPInoy awardee in rites last year.

Graduation rites in schools all over the country this month would not be the same without the generous support of their overseas Filipino alumni.

Overseas Filipinos do not just see their own children through school.  As they reap successes abroad, many  look back at their hometown alma mater and lend a hand to motivate other young students to pursue their dreams.


At the Bagong Barangay Elementary School in Pandacan and Roxas High School in Paco, for example, over a dozen students this year will receive the Ulirang Kabataan Awards—thanks to London-based power plant chemist Reynaldo Z. Lachica, who remembers his own excitement when he graduated from those two schools many years ago.

This year, the recipients of  medals sponsored by Rey at the Bagong Barangay Elementary School are: Maria Angela C. Kahanap, valedictorian; Jarel Renz Lacambra, salutatorian; and Mary Joyce Tapales, first honorable mention.


At the Manuel Roxas High School, Student Excellence Awardee medals go to: John Rey P. Cuaresma, valedictorian, Most Outstanding Student in Science IV and Most Outstanding Student in Mathematics IV; Ciara May C. Lachica, salutatorian and  Journalist of the Year in Filipino; and Rebecca Razon, salutatorian and Editor of the Year in Filipino;  Shyluck Panisa, Most Outstanding Student in Social Studies IV; Jem Marie Pantorilla, Overall Journalist of the Year; Imee Dawn Pasman, Overall Journalist of the Year in English; Trishia Martinez, Editor of the Year in English; Siegfred J. Solidum, Science Researcher of the Year; and Dayann Lourds Delizo and Gio Quezada, Journalism Awardees.

Rey, who went on to get a chemisty degree from Adamson University, said he sponsored the program in order to “motivate, inspire and recognize elementary and high school honor students.”  In fact, he started this project in 1990, even before he went abroad in 2002.

The medals for Ulirang Kabataan Awards which Rey sponsors in his elementary and high school alma mater

“I want to inspire and motivate others to reach their goals through academic excellence,” said Rey, who picks up the bill for the students’ medals.

“Given the chance and the opportunity, Filipinos can excel in their chosen field no matter where they are,” said Rey, the rare Filipino among the 15,000 United Kingdom Chartered Scientists.


Rey was one of two Europe-based Filipinos honored with the 2012 BPInoy Award for their “outstanding achievements in their chosen fields of endeavor, for being a  role model, for  their tremendous contribution to nation-building and for being an exemplary overseas Filipino.” The other was Junix Inocian, international theater, film and television professional. The event, held last year in London, put Rey and Junix  on a prestigious roster of BPinoy awardees that include world renowned musical theater artist Lea Salonga; internationally known fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, heart surgeon Dr. George Garcia; international record producer and music artist Allan P. Lindo Jr., aka Apl de Ap; fashion designer and entrepreneur Josie Natori; White House Executive Chef Cristeta Pasio-Comerford; world boxing legend Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao; and the only Asian female General manager for Procter and Gamble, Ma. Fatima “Fama” de Vera-Francisco.

After working as laboratory analyst, petroleum inspector and math tutor for 10 years in the Philippines, Lachica went to the United Kingdom and was hired as a senior inorganics chemist in North Wales.

Rey moved up to become  a chemist at Magnox Nuclear Power Plant in the Magnox Oldbury site. He delivered  chemical services  and assisted in the site’s nuclear defueling program. (The Oldbury power station, on a 71-hectare site, 24 kilometers north of Bristol, is a twin reactor station.  After 44 years, having generated enough electricity to power one million homes for 20 years, Oldbury stopped generating in February 2012, Rey said.)


For his outstanding technical contributions in his workplace at Lynn Power Station of Centrica Energy British Gas, he was promoted as power plant chemist in January 2011 and carried out chemistry and environmental monitoring.

Lachica said he missed the 2012 London Olympics because he started a new job as a plant chemist for Edmonton Energy Center in North London.

Lachica was earlier nominated for the 2010 UK Centrica Energy Awards for his pioneering Steam Degassed Conductivity Meter Project in improving Kings Lynn Power Station’s plant reliability and faster unit start-up. Centrica, though its British Gas brand, is the UK’s largest energy supplier, with seven gas-fired power stations.


Having proven that his job requires physical and mental strength to accomplish, he was the grand prize winner in the 2010 “Toughest Jobs Philippines” search organized by the Department of Labor and Employment and a private firm, Alaxan FR. He donated half his prize money to his alma mater’s science department for its student research program.

That same year, he returned home to receive from then Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim  the Outstanding Alumnus Award for Science from the Manuel A. Roxas High School Alumni Foundation during the school’s 62nd general alumni homecoming.

Lachica recently organized the Manuel A. Roxas High School (Manila) International Alumni Association, which connects graduates of his alma mater in 25 countries to give back to their former high school and support activities and programs.”

Like many other OFWs, Rey has not forgotten that he himself went to college as an  alumni association scholar, and a study-now-pay later grantee of the Social Security System.

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