Fil-Am kids learn about Filipino culture in Bellflower, Calif.
BELLFLOWER, California – A bevy of youngsters graduated from the Filipino Cultural School 2015 summer program to the cheers of supportive parents and community members.
A language and history skit, as well as musical and dance marked the graduation ceremony held Saturday morning, August 15 at the St. Bernard Parish Hall on Beach Street in Bellflower.
Community supporters included Community Educational Centers, Inc., Leelin Bakery and Café, Philippine Independence Day Foundation of Carson, Fil Horizon, Seafood City Supermarket, Filipino Community of Carson, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Engineering Print, World Finance Group, Jun Cruz, Christina Rosel, Edwin Evangelista, Dinglasan Family and Hunt Family.
“This program is standing strong thanks to the dedication of the past and present FCS community, including students, parents, volunteers and alumni,” said an FCS board statement. “Anyone who has been involved with FCS at some point in their life has played such a significant role in this program that this achievement truly deserves to be honored and recognized.”
“It feels really nice seeing all the students in traditional Filipino costumes and their whole families joining us for the celebration,” states FCS Co-President Paolo Roca.
The cultural school is dedicated to “engaging and educating students about the importance of the Filipino culture.”
“Seeing another batch of FCS graduates finish the summer program is a testament to how the Fil-Am community needs and wants these kinds of programs to address how our culture is a big part of our lives,” stated Roca.
In an interview with Inquirer.Net, 18 year old Operations Member Matthew Menchavez was asked, “What do you think is the importance of following through with the FCS program?”
“FCS provides that sense of family because here in America, it’s a melting pot, we get caught up in other things to do and sometimes we forget where we come from,” operations crewmember Matthew Menchavez, 18, told INQUIRER.net.
“Where we come from is where our most deeply held beliefs are. Keeping up with FCS will help us have a stronger foundation to understand why be believe what we believe and know who we are as a people,” added Menchavez. “In my own family, we are very welcoming and like having people over. And me having that foundation of FCS will also help my family grow.”
Cultural school teachers included KC Alcantara, Ivan Almario, Mari Elefante, Neille Apostol, Marie De Austria, Cheene Bustos, Francis Villaruz, Polly Dela Rosa, Karen Roxas, Shekinah Paguirigan and Darryl Valdez.
“It was a really good learning experience. I learned a lot and it was very eye-opening working with kids. I learned how to be flexible with the children and it has been very fulfilling for me,” said first-year volunteer Paulina “Polly” Dela Rosa, who wants a career in education.
“I manage the cohesiveness of the board and make sure to keep them accountable, as well as the volunteers,” said FCS Internal Vice President George Preno. “If team members are not getting along, I just help them talk it through, or if something is happening in their life and they need someone to talk to then I’ll help them.”
The school will try to obtain its 501c3 non-profit status next year. “We are working with various people with that to help it get through in order to give tax refunds to parents for their donations, rental fees for our events at community spaces will be cheaper, and it would help extend the program” explained Preno, who said the school would like to be a year-long program.
Operations members include Matthew Menchavez, Hector Gonzalez, NJ Flores, Wynston Fernando, and Mitch Baradi.
The FCS board members are Co-Presidents Czarina De Jesus and Paolo Roca, External Vice President John Feri, Internal Vice President George Preno, Administrative Coordinator Samantha Pepito and Volunteer Coordinator Erika Castro.
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