Community News and Views

Pinoy 'FOB' tops class at Jean Vanier high school

VALEDICTORIAN and winner of eight academic awards, Nathan Eusebio, 18, finished at the top of the Grade 12 Graduating Class of 2008 of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School. He is shown in photo with parents Steve and Ellen and brothersJebic and David on June 24.

TORONTO -- Nathan Eusebio, an 18-year old Filipino youth, led the 2008 Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School graduating class by garnering the school's top academic honors.

Eusebio was not only Class Valedictorian, but the recipient of the Governor General's Academic Medal for achieving the highest grades overall. In addition, he received six of the total of 11 Department Awards, that included excellence in Math, English, the Arts, Religious Education, Computer Technology, and Canadan/World Studies.

Described a music genius who leads the school band and plays a myriad of instruments, aside from having his own band, he also established the first student newspaper for the school, where he was co-editor.

Eusebio was applauded by graduates, faculty and parents in the many times he went onstage to receive his awards, and to deliver the valedictory address. The principal had nothing but glowing praises for him.

The irony is, when he immigrated to Canada with his family four years ago, the second year student from Ateneo de Manila, was demoted to Grade 9, one year below his previous level. After three months, however, Nathan, with an academic brilliance difficult to ignore, was moved up to Grade 10 by the school. From that time on, he garnered the highest academic achievement in every grade level until graduation, according to the school's faculty member who had introduced him at the graduation ceremonies.

Eusebio's story was cited in a national symposium of academic, policy and community researchers as an example as to why new immigrants, sometimes referred to as “fresh off the boat (FOB)”, should not be looked down upon or treated any less only because they are newcomers.

The new graduate has decided to study at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus, so he can take up the offer by the principal to teach Mathematics in his high school. Nathan's proud parents say teachers attest that students absorb math learning well from Nathan's style of teaching. For Nathan, taking up the offer to teach math is his way of giving back to a school that allowed him to thrive and flourish.

Nathan is the eldest of three sons of Steve and Ellen Eusebio of Scarborough. MAG

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