Hundreds of Oakland’s young people came together to be recognized for all their hard work and good grades at the second Annual Spring Celebration for OUSD’s Asian Pacific Islander Honor Roll.
Sponsored by OUSD’s Asian Pacific Islander Student Achievement (APISA) initiative and the Office of Equity, the event on Wednesday evening, April 17, honored students who achieved at least a 3.0 GPA, students who have shown significant GPA improvement since last year, and graduating seniors.
“As a senior, I’m proud of my community and the achievements of all students tonight,” said Siale Liku Taupaki, Oakland High senior and Honor Roll student. He also received the Community Advocacy Award. “Even more so, I’m proud that my parents who are immigrants from Tonga were here to celebrate not only my academic achievements, but my whole family’s achievements. I represent more than myself up there getting an award, I represent my school, my family and my culture, and that makes me OUSD.”
Siale’s brothers, Pailata Taupaki and Soane Liku Taupaki both received awards for Best Attendance.
The night in the theater at Laney College was a major community celebration in which OUSD honored students in front of their peers, their families and educators. The special awards celebrated several Pacific Islander students for community and cultural leadership, best attendance, and highest academic excellence. The celebration also included cultural performances, food and family resources.
“The Oakland Pacific Islander Spring Celebration was phenomenal,” said Alina Fa’aola from the Oakland Pacific Islander Network and the Spring Celebration Committee. She works at Castlemont High School. “Our students were celebrated, recognized, and then charged to live a limitless and purposeful life. It is truly a privilege to be part of something that is shifting the standard for our Oakland Pacific Islanders. This is an event where we come together unified as a community for our students and our future.”
Skyline High parent, Taimani Lauti, said this has been a historic year for the District’s Pacific Islander community. “Students, families, and community leaders stood together and fought for APISA. Our voices have been heard and we now know that as a community, we have power to influence decision-making that affects our PI students. This kind of event motivates and encourages families to be more involved in their child’s education. I hope to see more events in the future that celebrate academic success and inspire PI students to stay grounded in their culture. Love and respect to the APISA program as well as to all the people and organizations working behind the scenes to make the event possible.”