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Lathrops Sister City organization presents annual scholarship awards
United Bacarreneos of America president Nerie Acosta, left, presents the scholarship award to Sierra High School Class of 2011 valedictorian Jasmine Currimao who is shown flanked by her parents Joel and Jesusa Currimao. The Timberwolves graduate is currently attending University of California, Los Angeles. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

LATHROP – Jasmine Currimao, the valedictorian of Sierra High’s Class of 2011, was awarded a $23,000 scholarship from the University of California, Los Angeles where she is currently studying biology with plans to pursue medicine after finishing her undergraduate studies.

She was also the recipient of $1,500 in scholarship from the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Saturday night, the 18-year-old native of Lathrop received another scholarship from the United Bacarreneos of America. She was one of two selected by the organization to receive this year’s scholarship awards. The other recipient was Vince Albano, a graduate of Weston Ranch High School who is majoring in integrated biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He also plans to pursue post-graduate studies either in law or medicine.

The scholarship award is designed to encourage academic excellence among the young members of the organization.

The scholarship presentation was one of the highlights of the group’s fiesta celebration. Presenting the $300 check to Currimao was UBA president Nerie Acosta of Lathrop. With Currimao were her parents Jesusa and Joel of Lathrop.

The award for Vince Albano, who could not make it to the official ceremony, was presented to his parents, Violet and Cesar.

The scholarship program is one of the projects of UBA, a service organization with members from all over the United States. The group is made up of members whose family roots are from the town of Bacarra in the Ilocos Norte province of the Philippines. The UBA was instrumental in establishing the Sister City cultural exchange between the city of Lathrop and Bacarra.

Among the special guests at Friday’s fiesta celebration were Lathrop Vice Mayor Christopher Mateo and Lathrop council member Sonny Dhaliwal who is also the city’s former vice mayor.

Members who attended the traditional fiesta came from various places in the Bay Area including Fremont and Vallejo, Stockton, Modesto, and Manteca. The fiesta doubles as a fund-raiser for the organization which is gearing up for a major celebration in 2012 when it marks its 80th anniversary.