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Filipino Catholic schools students celebrate heritage in Toronto

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Lehzter Cruz, 16, from Manila, is now a Grade 10 student at St. Patrick’s School. He loves volunteering at events like Proudly Pinoy because he loves his Filipino heritage. He looks forward to becoming an engineer or a soldier. MARISA ROQUE

TORONTO, Ontario — Students from various Catholic elementary and high schools in the east end of Toronto joined community leaders, members of professional associations and academics in celebrating Filipino heritage at “Proudly Pinoy,” on May 28 at St. Maria Goretti Catholic School in Scarborough.

Students from grade school to high school sang and danced in the cultural and community presentations in the morning.  Police Constable Don Laurel of 32 Division, Toronto Police Services, related his journey–from the Philippines as a Batch 5 member with ABS-CBN (“Ka-batch ko si John Lloyd”) to his move to Canada and the fulfillment of his wish to become a member of Toronto’s Finest.

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“New Life in Canada” workshop with Maria Guiao, Rainier Macandog, Helen Viola, and Ariel Lopez . MARISA ROQUE

PC Laurel kept the audience spellbound with his accounts of what the police deal with on a day-to-day basis.  “It is especially heartbreaking to mediate family situations when husband and wife have been apart for so long, and the husband and kids experience culture shock when they move from the Philippines to Canada,” he cited.

Workshops were held for parents and students in the afternoon.  There were two workshops for the parents. One was “Education Issues Roundtable” with speakers Marissa Largo, Karlo Cabrera, Tim Daley, and Kristina Zapanta-Regular, with Tony San Juan as facilitator.

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The second workshop for parents, “New Life in Canada,” addressed issues of new arrivals managing transition and raising children.  Speakers were Maria Guiao, Rainier Macandog, Helen Viola, and Ariel Lopez, with Monica Batac as facilitator.

The young people held their own in three specialized workshops.  One, “Tips from the Pros: Filipino Role Models” had PC Don Laurel, Caroline Mangosing, Jerrylyn Guevara, Alan Largo, and Carlos de Veyra for speakers, with Jennilee Austria as facilitator.

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Zeddi Valerio, Pangasinan, from the Divisional Policing Support Unit of Toronto Police Services, and Don Laurel, Manila, from 32 Division, Toronto Police Services. MARISA ROQUE

Another workshop discussed “Healthy Relationships” and focused on what every teenager should know about love, peer pressure, safety issues and relationships.  Speakers were Ben San Juan and Ben Bongolan.

The third workshop on “Philippine Arts or Student Leadership” explored identity and Philippine culture through the arts by engaging one’s creative side.  Members of the Kapisanan Philippine Center for Arts and Culture presented their activities and encouraged the attendees to “unleash the leader in you and discover your untapped potential.”

Rachelle Cruz, Toronto-based ABS-CBN reporter and journalist, served as master of ceremonies, with Jodelyn Juang, community relations officer of the TCDSB.

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Garry Tanuan, Trustee for Ward 8, of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, chats with a parent. MARISA ROQUE

“Proudly Pinoy” was presented by the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s Community Relations Department and partners and sponsors include the Center for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS), St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, Culture Link, North York Community House, Toronto Police Services, Filipino Canadian Community House, Kababayan Multicultural Center, Council of Filipino-Canadian Professionals Ontario, Kapisanan Philippine Center for Arts and Culture, Remely’s Restaurant, Tinuno, The 519 Space for Change, Philippine Teachers’ Association of Canada, GMA Pinoy TV, and Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation.

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TAGS: " St. Maria Goretti Catholic School, "Proudly Pinoy, Asian Heritage Month Toronto, Batch 5, Filipino heritage celebration Toronto, Toronto Police Services
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