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The PGRAD Class of 2016, proud of their PGRAD diplomas and medals after the awarding ceremony, pose with Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr; Michael Vea; “Hamilton” first Filipino cast member Karla Garcia; and Vice Consul Khrys Corpuz.  (Photo by Caloy Cruz)


Accomplished Filipino-American youth from the academe, the arts, and sciences were celebrated at the 4th Annual Philippine Graduation (PGRAD) held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in New York on June 16.

Welcoming the graduates, Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. advised the young to know the Filipino heritage, culture and psyche.

He cited the Philippine Embassy-led Filipino Young Leaders Program and similar experiences.

“I encourage you to visit the Philippines and take on an immersion trip. Learn the language, learn an indigenous art, live among the barrio people, try and understand the government, and share whatever you have learned in your studies here to a community in the Philippines. I know that you have the heart to give back to the motherland, and this is the best way you can make a long-term impact on the lives of your brothers and sisters in the Philippines,” de Leon said.

Teach for the Philippines was founded by Elizabeth Zobel de Ayala, Margarita Liboro Delgado and Clarissa Isabelle Delgado.

Teach for the Philippines is a non-government organization that traces its roots from the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation (SAS) which started in 1999 and advocated for functional literacy in public schools.

With a vision to broaden its participation in education reform, Elizabeth, Margarita, and Clarissa founded Teach for the Philippines in August 2012.

Teach for the Philippines is a non-stock, non-profit organization that enlists some of the country’s most promising young leaders to teach for two years in public schools throughout the Philippines.

Through their experiences in the classroom, Teach for the Philippines transforms our leaders into lifelong advocates for education equity, ready to commit the rest of their lives to working and advocating for education reform.

KIPP Charter School Founder, FYLPRO alumnus Michael Vea inspired the graduates with his Opening Keynote Speech on the spirit of Kapwa saying, “It is a shared being; that is our (the Filipino’s) essence. It truly is in our DNA to come together. So I ask that you be real with yourselves and know what your talents are. What you can bring to the table, share that strength of yours with our homeland and, together, we can make our beautiful country even greater.”

Twenty-four bachelor and doctorate graduates were handed out diplomas and PGRAD medals by the consul general and Vea during the event highlight.

Blaise Ferraris, UniPro staff member, former President of Rutgers Association of Pilipino Students, and recent Doctor of Medicine graduate, was awarded Northern Star for his excellence in academics and community involvement.

An entertaining ballroom dance number to the tune of a medley of modern songs was performed by the Stony Brook Pilipino United Students Organization, some of whom were also graduating that night.

The first Filipina cast member of the multi-Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton,” Karla Garcia, a graduate of New York University, capped the event with her Closing Keynote on work ethics.

“All jobs are necessary. Be proud of your tasks. Take ownership of your piece of the puzzle,” said Garcia.

She motivated the newly-graduates to be proud and honor their roots, adding “Being Filipino to me is being home. I never saw a Broadway show and thought I couldn’t be in it because of any reason, especially my ethnicity, and that is because of my upbringing.”

The Philippine Graduation is an annual project of the Philippine Consulate General, UniPro, and Legacy Mentorship New York.

***

Teach for the Philippines is a for-purpose, non-stock, non-profit organization that works to provide all Filipino children with an inclusive, relevant, and excellent education. We enlist some of the country’s most promising young leaders to teach for two years in public schools throughout the Philippines. Through their experiences in the classroom, Teach for the Philippines transforms our leaders into lifelong advocates for education equity.

Founded in August 2012 by Lizzie E. Zobel, Margarita L. Delgado and Clarissa Isabelle Delgado, Teach for the Philippines stands on the shoulders of giants: the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, which focused on functional literacy for over a decade and Teach for All, a global network of social enterprises working towards education reform.

Today, with a fast-growing team of individuals, driven with a common passion for expanding educational access, Teach for the Philippines looks forward to leaving our mark on the country.

(Source: http://www.teachforthephilippines.org/about-type/leave-your-mark/)

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