AB SAMAHAN BRINGS OUT SCPA TALENT
January 26, 2017
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Committed to preparing Filipino-American high school students for higher education, the 43rd annual Andres Bonifacio Samahan (AB Samahan) High School Conference took place last month at SDSU, filled with workshops, socialization, and ending with PAPIA competing in a talent competition.
Excited students began to arrive at SDSU by 7:00am, December 3rd. Lana Bautista, junior class president, arrived early, “It’s been my third conference, but I still get excited for sure.” Bautista estimates that SCPA has been attending AB Samahan for at least 10 years. AB Samahan attracts students from across Southern California, encouraging them to have pride in both their Filipino-American culture, and their area codes, ranging from 619 to 858 and 951.
PAPIA, a club at SCPA, is meant to expose the student body to Pan-Asian and Pacific Islander cultures through dance, weekly meetings, and by participating in community events. The group represented the 619 area code, bringing multiple dance groups and singers to compete against the 858 and 951 area codes. Bautista said, “I think we’re going to win, because we’ve always been the biggest contributors to 619 and we’re also very talented … so I think we have a good upper hand.”
Between the friendly area code competitions, AB Samahan offers a variety of college preparatory workshops and activities. Throughout the morning and afternoon, attendees have three workshop sessions, each time slot having different classes to choose from. From leadership activities, to creative writing sessions, to comedy sets, almost all workshops focus on the Filipino(a) identity and navigating college with that cultural background.
Every workshop is an opportunity to meet new people from across Southern California, and after every workshop, “breakouts” give students an opportunity to socialize. Giving advice to students wanting to attend next year, Bautista said, “Make friends. Just have fun.”
Lani Bihis, junior, is vice president of PAPIA, and the club’s Tahitian choreographer. As the afternoon approached, Bihis, said “I’m actually excited. I’m really proud of my girls, we’ve worked really hard for this.”
Bihis continued talking about how PAPIA Tahitian has affected the girls, saying “This year we have a couple new Tahitian dancers, and I think that we’ve definitely grown closer because we practice so much together and we just have each other’s backs. And we’re not just together when we’re practicing, we’re together during school hours and you know, just hanging out.”
After the interview, competitions were held to award an area code with the spirit trophy. For the second year in a row, 619 won the spirit trophy, despite having noticeably less students than other area codes.
By the end of the talent show, PAPIA Hip-Hop placed second, showing once again how SCPA’s talent brings awards for areas much larger than just the campus. While PAPIA Tahitian didn’t win in the talent competition, Bihis said a week after AB Samahan, “I had a really great time. I think that PAPIA did amazing, PAPIA Hip-Hop won second place. I’m really proud of my girls, they worked so hard, and I think our performance was a success.”