Every year, Xavier School selects the Xavier-Kuangchi awardees from among its alumni who exhibit outstanding achievements in their respective fields.
I am very happy to find out that I know 2 out of the 3 awardees for this year.
Joaquin (or Jake, as we fondly call him) C. Yap, Jr. is someone we consider a relative. His family and that of hubby come from the same town in China. His mother (whom we call Di-kim) calls us on every occasion (Mother’s Day, Christmas, New Year) just to chat and ask about the family. Jake’s sister, Janet, who is now in Australia, was someone I knew even when she was still single.
Jake obtained his Masters Degree in Theological Studes in 1995 from the Loyola School of Theology and his Doctorate Degree in Theology in 2003 from the University of Oxford in England.
Xavier School calls him one of its exemplary alumni “for his devotion to the Catholic faith, consecrating his life to serve God through his long-term involvement with the university campus apostolate of the Servants of the Word and the teaching ministry of the Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Catholic Charismatic Community.”
Vincent S. Perez (or Vince as we call him) is a dear friend and confidante while we were taking our Masters degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. I have many wonderful memories of Vince and the group of Pinoys I went to school with. Vince always had this never-to-be-forgotten dimpled smile and a listening ear for friends (and as one of his countless friends, I remember hours and hours we spent chatting over the telephone with topics that covered the inane to the dreams). During United Nations Day, both of us managed to borrow 2 bamboo poles from the Philippine Embassy and danced the Tinikling for our foreign schoolmates. Yes, Vince was and still is, a great dancer. Even back then, Vince had always nurtured a deep desire to serve in government and I never really imagined that one day, this friend would return from a successful investment banking career abroad to serve as a Cabinet Secretary.
Xavier School gives him the Xavier-Kuangchi Award “for his commendable service to the country as Secretary of the Department of Energy, setting a high benchmark for achievement and professionalism in government service, and earning the distinction of being the first Xaverian in the Cabinet, and the youngest and longest-serving Energy Secretary to date.”
Congratulations, Jake and Vince. I am so, so proud to know the both of you and to see you accept this award you richly deserve. May this award only serve to spur you both to greater heights for His greater glory.
These exemplary alumni will be formally awarded in “by invitation only” conferment rites on March 13, 2009, Friday, 6.30 PM at the XS Angelo King Multipurpose Center.