LAST February 20, Xavier School held The Outstanding Xavier School Alumni Awards (TOXSA), a first-of-its-kind program that recognizes and celebrates the achievements of its distinguished alumni.
“Each of the five awardees demonstrates how a single individual has the power to create positive change in their world around them,” said Reginald Yu, president of the Alumni Association of Xavier School (AAXS). “Each of them, grounded on the cornerstones of the Xavier Mission, have illustrated passionate, creative, and innovative thinking—the same three hallmark elements which define the ideal Xavier man.”
For TOXSA Chairman Diosdado Ng, these awardees are meant to serve as inspirations to Xavier students, as they can be seen as the best of what Xaverian education can achieve.
“TOXSA opens up the lives of each awardee, and their stories are meant to be a source of guidance and encouragement to lead a life of excellence, generosity, and as true men for others,” he explained.
For the inaugural awarding, AAXS awarded five successful men hailing from different industries. According to Ng, “The objective of TOXSA is to award and recognize alumni who have excelled in their chosen fields, thus there had to be categories to cater to all kinds of careers.”
The Xaverian Athlete
Leading this year’s list of honorees is Chris Tiu, who was recognized as an Outstanding Xavier School Alumnus in the field of Sports. Having established his name as a player for the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Rain or Shine, he recognized his high school’s role in kickstarting his basketball career.
“I’d like to share this award to my Xavier basketball teammates,” he said in his acceptance speech at the awarding ceremony. “If not for the success of the basketball team during that time, who knows what career I may have pursued.”
He also mentioned how fitting the award’s timing was, considering he had announced his retirement from the sport a few months ago.
“In a way, it validates all the hard work that I put into the sport in the last 20 years or more,” he said.
TOXSA also featured a video of the player, where he shared memories from his high school and how his experiences in Xavier shaped who he is today.
Aside from Tiu, Xavier honored four other alumni in the awarding ceremony, all with their respective success stories in their chosen fields. They are:
Classical music composer Jeffrey Ching is best known for Das Waisenkind (The Orphan), which was awarded the Theater Erfurt Audience Prize for the 2009-2010 opera season in Germany. More recently, he won the 2018 Fedora Platform Prize for Public Vote with his composition The True Story of King Kong, and was recognized as an Outstanding Xavier School Alumnus in the field of Arts and Culture.
Businessman Lance Gokongwei is the president and CEO of JG Summit Holdings, but he is best known as the man behind low-cost airline Cebu Pacific, one of the most recognizable names in local air travel. His various achievements in the business sector have earned him the distinction of being Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 as well as being an Outstanding Xavier School Alumnus in the field of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Hydrogeophysicist John Burtkenley Ong has combined his scientific background with his mission to serve others, as he has played a critical role in the development of the Mangyan community in Mindoro. For his work, he was given the Outstanding Young Men Award for community service in 2003 as well as the Outstanding Xavier School Alumni Award for Science and Technology.
Dr. Edward Wang is an orthopedist whose research in musculoskeletal tumors has been recognized in the global medical community, having published dozens of award-winning studies and research papers on the subject. Due to his various achievements in orthopedic medicine, he was given the Outstanding Filipino Physician Award in 2008 as well as the Outstanding Xavier School Alumni Award for Medicine and Healthcare.