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Gawad Lasalyano 2021 awards exemplary students, faculty 

To commemorate the University’s most remarkable faculty and students, this year’s Gawad Lasalyano held last March 25 through Facebook Live honored individuals who have made significant changes in the community over the past year. 

University President Br. Bernard Oca FSC extolled the awardees for displaying exemplary feats of nation-building and camaraderie through their roles as leaders, and called for the Lasallian community’s participation in enacting widespread societal change. 

Social change among Lasallians

Student and faculty volunteers from the different offices of Lasallian Mission Student Affairs such as the Lasallian Outreach and Volunteer Effort and Red Cross Youth, Departments under the Lasallian Pastoral Office, the Office for Counseling and Career Services, the Office of Sports Development, National Service Training Program and Formation Office, Student Discipline Formation Office, Student Leadership Involvement, Formation, and Development, and the Center for Social Concern and Action were recognized for their efforts in cultivating student volunteers. 

For the major awards, President and Vice President of Gawad Lasalyano’s Selection Committee Izel Marie Guanto and Juanito Alcazar revealed that a rigorous selection process took place, noting the nominees’ excellence in leadership, their contributions and service to their community, and additional awards they may have received. Alcazar expounded, “[Ang] mga piling mag-aaral at mga [organisasyong nanalo ay pinaninindigan ang] misyon ng isang Lasalyano, na maging kabalikat sa pambansang pagbabago.”

(The students and organization awarded uphold the mission of a Lasallian who is an advocate for social change.) 

The Gawad Col. Jesus A. Villamor for the Outstanding Student Leader in Military Service was given to  Second Class Cadet Captain Gianne Marcus Obusan for demonstrating his leadership as the Corps Commander in the 247th Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps De La Salle University Manila and commanding officer of headquarters support unit. 

In displaying bold and fearless journalism, former Ang Pahayagang Plaridel Punong Patnugot Kyla Feliciano (IV, AB-OSDM) was given the Gawad Ariston J. Estrada for Outstanding Student Leader in Campus Media. Meanwhile, former La Salle Dance Company Contemporary Company Manager Justine Camilla Denise Elizon (IV, BS-MGT) was awarded the Gawad Leandro V. Locsin for the Outstanding Student Leader in Culture and Arts for her efforts in promoting the arts. 

The Gawad Fr. Gratian Murray AFSC for Outstanding Student Leader in Social Engagement award, meanwhile, was accorded to ASEAN Youth Advocates Network Founder Emmanuel Mirus  Ponon (III, AB-DSM) for initiating response reliefs such as community pantries and relief efforts in the time of the pandemic. Ponon shared during his speech that being self-aware has strengthened his desire for service. “Binigyan ko ang sarili ko ng pagkakataong i-tama ang [aking] mga kamalian at gamitin ito sa positibong pagbabago na nagsisilbing mitsa ng mas lalong pag-aalap ng aking damdamin hinggil sa aking adbokasiya.” 

(I gave myself the chance to correct my mistakes and to use this opportunity to effect positive change, using it as my spark to further strengthen my advocacies.) 

Former Lasallian Scholars Society President Sophia Angela Jimenez (IV, AEF-BSA) was awarded the Gawad Br. Acisclus Michael FSC for Outstanding Organization President for spearheading financial aid distribution to her organization’s members that are in need of it. Meanwhile, the Gawad Ramon V. Del Rosario Sr. for Outstanding Graduate Student Leader award was given to former Business Doctoral Society President Maria Adiel Aguiling (DBA, ‘22) for taking the initiative in creating various online programs to help the members of her school prepare for their comprehensive exam and dissertation. 

Breaking boundaries

Gawad Francisco V. Ortigas, Jr., which recognizes the most outstanding undergraduate student leaders, was bestowed upon Arts College Government President Raina Pauline Nivales (IV, AB-PSM) and Ponon. The college president recognized how resilience plays a big factor in defining true leadership, always selfless to help those in need. As such, “Nais kong ibahagi ang pakilalang ito, at ipagdiwangang paglaho ng lahat ng [mga] pinunong Lasalyano na patuloy na nagsisilbi sa komunidad..” 

(I want to share this award and celebrate the growth of all Lasallian leaders who served their communities.)

Meanwhile, Ponon shared that being awarded with this laurel affirms his aims to allow for the youths’ voices to be at the forefront in sociopolitical issues. “I believe that I have tried my best to improve the level of awareness and engagement [regarding national concerns],” he jetted. “But [I] also acknowledge that there is so much more to do.” He encouraged students to do their part in fighting for a society that truly champions safe spaces for the youth to thrive and be heard. 

With this year’s Gawad Lasalyano, Lasallians are reminded that the awards give us a glimpse at how our future leaders would act—that their Animo spirit and Lasallian pride effectively make them leaders worthy of steering our country toward a better direction. 

Tayong mga Lasalyano ang unang tumatayo para sa kapwa; tayo ang unang sumasagot sa [mga pangangailangan] ng iba; at tayo ang lumalaban para sa karapatan ng mga kapwa nating Pilipino,” said Nivales. 

(Us Lasallians are among the first to stand with the people; we are the first to respond to their needs; and we are to fight for the rights of our fellow Filipinos.)

By Magz Chin

By Margarette Mangabat

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