Raymund Liongson and Leon Florendo, representing Sariling Gawa
On October 5, two of Leeward’s faculty were recognized for “Excellence in Education” at the FilCom Center’s 17th annual Bayanihan Gala held at the Sheraton Waikiki. Congratulations to Raymund Liongson for his four decades of unwavering dedication to his students and to Leon Florendo, who received the honor on behalf of the Sariling Gawa Youth Council, the non-profit group Leon leads.
Raymund Liongson, Philippine Studies professor and program coordinator, has been an educator for more that 40 years. His philosophy emphasizes learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, aiming for student and social transformation. Liongson has won an array of awards and recognition for his efforts, from being named a Wo Learning Champion to being awarded the Hawaii Plantation Legacy Award and Outstanding Educator awards from both the Oahu Filipino Community Council and the United Filipino Councils of Hawaii, among others
Liongson has written and coordinatres grants that have raised millions of dollars to help students of Filipino ancestry. He has organized youth groups and program initiatives that have inspired students to excel and attain higher education.
His Philippine Studies classes spearheaded the student involvement for the UH promise program at the legislature, complete with sign waiving and testimonies. Liongson states, “As a professor, I do not see myself simply teaching course content. More importantly, I see my role as inspiring my students to aim high and providing them the needed support to hit the mark or at least lend close to it.”
Another honoree was Sariling Gawa Youth Council (SG), a nonprofit organization that fosters cultural awareness, nurtures ethnic pride, and empowers youth to develop leadership skills.
Started as a grassroots community effort in 1980, it was first organized by a group of college students during the 75th anniversary of Filipinos in Hawaii. For over 39 years, thousands of young Filipinos and community members have experienced hands-on training and skills building, allowing young people to be in powered as leaders, mentors, organizers, administrators, and role models. Leeward’s Leon Florendo began his affiliation with SG, when after completing his AA degree at Leeward, he transferred to UH Manoa and helped organize their conference in 1989 as a barangay leader. Today, 30 years later, he has served as president of the organization 1994, 2000-2002, 2006-2009, and 2016-present. Florendo adds, “Sariling Gawa embarked on a movement, a change of socio-political mindset that nurtures and understands the immense value of empowering individuals in their quest for better understanding of their strengths while surrounded by a cadre of supportive mentors who are always grounded in humanity and progressive ideas.”
Congratulations and mahalo to both gentlemen for the tireless commitment to our community.
(left to right)
Laurie Libarios, Counselor
Emme Tomimbang, Alumni
Imelda Gasmen, Filipino Language Instructor
Raymund Liongson, Philippine Studies Coordinator, Professor
Leon Florendo, Counselor, Waianae Moku; President of Sariling Gawa Youth Council
Carlos Peñaloza, Chancellor
Ernie Libarios, retired Counselor (47 yrs at Leeward!)