UH Ilokano Program to award Ilokano Scholarship
Honolulu, Hawai`i - In an effort to recognize students with exemplary academic performance and taking up Ilokano as their concentration in the Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of this same University will award three scholarships to students working for their bachelor’s degree.
The awarding will be at Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu during the B. A. Scholarship Banquet dubbed “Panangitan-ok ni Laing” on April 25, at 5:30 PM.
Chosen by an independent scholarship committee whose membership came from the community-at-large, Ilokano Program scholars Rachelle M. Aurellano, John Henry Acidera, and Abraham Flores Jr. will receive $500 each.
The awards committee was composed of Ms. Agnes Malate, member of the advisory council of the Domestic Violence Action Center’s Pilipina Rural Project, and director of the Health Careers Opportunity Program of UH Manoa; Mr. Brigido Daproza, president of GUMIL Hawai`i (Ilokano Writers Association of Hawai`i); and Dr. Belinda Aquino, director of the Center for Philippine Studies, University of the Hawai`i at Manoa.
The B. A. Scholarship was inaugurated several years ago when the University, after about thirty years of Ilokano language and literature instruction, approved the offering, in 2002, of the Ilokano concentration for the Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature.
Currently, the offering of Ilokano language and literature courses from the elementary to the advanced levels that leads to a major, a minor, and a certificate is the only one in the State of Hawai`i, the United States of America, and all over the world.
There is no other university aside from the University of Hawai`i that has recognized the importance of Ilokano as the language of Filipino diaspora and exile in the United States.
The offering of the Ilokano courses up to the bachelor’s level has put the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures of the University of Hawai`i in the position of innovator and leader in Ilokano heritage language instruction all over the world.
Today, the courses leading to a major, a minor, and a certificate in Ilokano is unparalleled; even the leading universities and colleges of the regions where Ilokano is the lingua franca do not have a full course that leads to even up to the certificate level.
The University of the Philippines boasts of Ilokano language and literature instruction but these courses are few and far between and are part of other degree programs in Philippines Studies, Philippine Language, or Philippine Literature.
The 2008 scholars are exemplary students.
Rachelle Aurellano, a senior, is president of Timpuyog: Ilokano Student Organization, the student association of all those taking courses under the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University.
Aurellano is active in the community; she won 1st runner-up at the Miss Oahu Filipina Scholarship Pageant in 2007.
In 2006, she represented the Timpuyog at the First Nakem Centennial Conference and presented a testimonial conference paper on the experiences of local born Ilokanos of Hawai`i and the difficult road that they are taking in reclaiming themselves and their heritage.
This commitment to heritage reclaiming has always been the theme of her self-questioning, a commitment that she has made known to the public when she was a guest at a public television show on Channel 53 in 2007, “Talkback with Dr. Agcaoili.”
John Henry Acidera is graduating with his B. A. in Philippine Language and Literature with Ilokano concentration and has lately begun working for the State’s Department of Health.
Acidera has been working for the mentally challenged adult, a work where he makes use of his linguistic and cultural competency in Ilokano.
A musician, singer, and dramatist, he has been into many cultural productions involving the UH Ilokano Program and the community.
Acidera was guest of “Talkback” on Olelo and on a radio program, “Filipiniana Variety Show,” both shows tackling the relevance and urgency of promoting Ilokano language and culture.
Abraham Flores Jr. is completing his senior year for the B. A. in Philippine Language and Literature with concentration in Ilokano under the University’s Honors Program.
A court interpreter and translator, he has done researches on the issues involving interpretation and translation with his mentor, Dr. Josie Clausen, one of the foremost scholars on Ilokano linguistics. Dr. Clausen, together with Professor Precy Espiritu, both retired, were two of the longest instructional faculty of the Ilokano Program, with more than 60 years of service between them. Espiritu, until her retirement in 2006, coordinated the program since it began in the 70’s. Clausen and Espiritu mentored Flores, as well as the other two scholars.
Flores’ honors thesis on the journalistic narratives and reportage of Filipino executions, “Sharps, Sex, and Strangulation,” provides a textual critique and reading of the journalistic ‘demonization’ of Filipinos by two of the State’s leading newspapers prior to World War II.
The B. A. Scholarship has been supported by pledges from various individuals and organizations including the United Filipino Council of Hawai`i, the Don and Dr. Patricia Brown Scholarship Fund, the GUMIL Hawai`i, and Gerald Santos of California, United States.
The scholarship awards from the GUMIL Hawai`i and Mr. Gerald Santos are the latest in the funds pledged to support the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University.
Santos, one of the visionaries in seeing that the program will grow to include a possible online and a masters program, has pledged initial support for the Ilokano Language and Literature Program’s Development and Enrichment Fund.
In tandem with several cultural and civic organizations, the UH Ilokano Language and Literature Program has launched a continuing Community Language Program that has brought the Ilokano language to the community for cultural competency and for consciousness-raising efforts regarding social issues.
Those who have been helping the program have been invited to take part in the banquet; expected to give an inspirational talk is Cornelio J. Ancheta, publisher and editor of Fil-Am Observer.
Fil-Am Observer, circulated all over Hawai`i and some states of the United States mainland, is Hawai`i’s leading Filipino American newspaper.
This newspaper, through its publisher, has supported the activities of the University’s Ilokano Language and Literature Program including co-sponsoring the 2006 Nakem Centennial Conference and the 2nd Nakem International Conference in 2007 and held at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte, in the Philippines.
Observer boasts of an array of discourses and interests related to urgent community issues as well as commentaries, narratives, and reportage on varieties and variations of Filipino American life.
Observer has a pool of writers and opinion writers that tackle a host of issues ranging from culture, the literary and dramatic arts, politics, health, religion, and immigration.
To continue to inspire Ilokano students or students descended from Ilokano and all other scholars of the Ilokano heritage language and culture, the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University has continued to beef up its scholarship program through a sustained scholarship fund raising campaign throughout the year.
Members of the community who wish to take part in this noble effort to recognize the future Ilokano leaders of this State are urged to contact the University’s Ilokano Language and Literature Program at telephone number 808-956-8405. Or you may write the program at 455 A Spalding Hall, 2540 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822.
A Solver Agcaoili