For the past 25 years, AAHC (the Asian American Heritage Council) has given over $200,000 in scholarships to recognize students of Asian descent for their excellence in academia, leadership, community service, and preservation of culture and language.  This year was no exception.

The AAHC 2016 Asian Student Achievers Awards took place at the Orlando Public Library on November 5, 2016, acknowledging notable achievements of Asian students in Central Florida.  In addition to academic excellence, this scholarship celebrates a focus on community involvement – Asian and the general communities at large, ultimately rewarding well-rounded students.  With numerous applicants each year, the scholarship has become increasingly competitive.

Masters of ceremonies Nicky Zou (L), and Corey Hsiao (R), and the AAHC Chair Babuji Ambikapathy.
Retno S. Savitri – 2016 Student Awards Chair

The masters of ceremonies for the event were two board members of REACH of Central Florida  (Recognizing Experiencing Asian Cultural Heritage), Nicky Zou, senior vice president, and Corey Hsiao, former president and current advisor.

Leilani Fontanilla opened the event by thanking the sponsors, including Orlando Fashion Square, Phap Vu Buddhist Cultural Center of Florida; Bright House Network, Payas, Payas & Payas Attorneys At Law, and Gateway Insurance.  Other media sponsors included WMFE Radio and Asia Trend.  Throughout the awards ceremony, Phap Vu Buddhist Cultural Center of Florida, MSCF, VIDA, and CAACF provided unique performances that entertained the audience and showcased Asia’s cultural diversity.

Photos: Chris Tran and C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit

This annual event was a wonderful celebration of students with outstanding academic achievements and excellent community service and volunteerism with strong leadership necessary to contribute to our great nation.

One of the biggest events that benefits the Asian Student Achievers Awards is the AAHC Asian Cultural Festival.  Every year, the Asian associations in Central Florida come together in May to celebrate the variety of Asian cultures in Florida.  This event, held at the Orlando Fashion Square, has participating regions from all over Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Cultural diversity is displayed through the many cultural performances, arts, food vendors, and business sponsors.  All proceeds go directly to the annual Asian Student Achievers Awards.

Asian Cultural Festival 2016 at the Orlando Fashion Square on May 30, 2016

Photos: Gian Pollicar, Tommy Tu, Missionary Mike Weis and C.k. Lau (To view the photo album, visit

For those interested in applying for the scholarship, students who have completed third grade and up through high school are eligible to apply.  While the application deadline is in October, the scholarship generally covers academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities of the applicant from August 14 to August 15 of the following year.  Please visit if you’d like to learn more.

AAHC Student Scholarship Award 2016

The Asian American Heritage Council (AAHC) is a non-profit organization in Central Florida that consists of Asian American organizations around Florida.  These organizations range from social, cultural, business, religious, educational, professional, to health & fitness and diversity networks. Although the organizations all have different missions, they work together and serve the Asian American community. Visit their website at for more information.


Preservation award

  • Louie Obatake – Orlando Taiko Dojo – Preservation of Japanese Culture
  • Angelina Saggers – Voice of Indonesia – Preservation of Indonesia Culture
  • Khaled Itani – REACH – Preservation of Asian Culture
  • Jolie Hongsyok – CAACF – Preservation of Asian Culture
  • Rajiv Narayanan – MSCF
  • Sarah Tse – YESS – Preservation of Asian Culture
  • Minh-Trang Tran – Phap Vu – Preservation of Vietnamese Culture

3rd Grade

  1. Tiffany Tran – Phap Vu 
  2. Maiteus Henry -VIDA

4th Grade

  1. Michelle Li – CAACF
  2. Kevin Le – Phap Vu
  3. Kevin Hang – Phap Vu

5th Grade

  1. Lucy Guo – OCPA
  2. Louis Chen – CAACF

6th Grade

  1. Michelle Mu – OCPA
  2. Vincent Li – CAACF
  3. Deepika Kannan – MSCF

7th Grade

  1. Divya Srinivasan – MSCF
  2. Sweta Srinivasan – MSCF
  3. Amber Wei – OCPA

8th Grade

  1. Aishwarya Babuji – MSCF
  2. Ronald Xu – OCPA
  3. Alexander Lee – Phap Vu

9th Grade

  1. Malavika Kannan – MSCF
  2. Brandon Tran – REACH
  3. Sarah Tse – YESS

10th Grade

  1. Sabrina Fan – OCPA
  2. Sarah Joe – REACH
  3. Kamini Kabilan – MSCF

11th Grade

  1. Corey Hsiao – REACH
  2. Varun Naga – MSCF
  3. Taylor Trinh – REACH

12th Grade

  1. Hubert Ruida Zhao – OCPA

Photos: Chris Tran and C.K. Lau (To view the photo album, visit