June 10, 2008 | Yvonne Lim
Held at the future home of the Asian American Resource Center in Northeast Austin, the second annual Asia Fest celebrated Asian culture in its many forms. The May 3 event, sponsored by the Network of Asian American Organizations (NAAO) kicked off Asian Heritage Month in Austin.
On the program were dance, music, food, crafts and other booths. The Austin Asian American Film Festival held a mini-film festival at the event. It was a great way to introduce the public to the future Asian American Resource Center.
In addition, the NAAO presented their first ever 2008 Asian Excellence Awards at the end of the event.
Westwood High student Varun Voruganti was presented the Outstanding High School Achievement Award and a $500 scholarship. Voruganti was ranked in the top 5 percent of his class at with a GPA of 4.0. He is a member of the National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta, Mathematics Honor Society. He is also working on becoming an Eagle Scout. He has provided extensive volunteer service to the community and has held numerous leadership positions both at and outside of school. Other nominees for the award were Molly Sun, Kristina Chyn, and Bethany Tsui.
The Outstanding College Achievement Award and a $500 scholarship went to Jeena Lee. Lee is the President of the Asian Business Students Association and is involved with mentorship programs and devotes many volunteer hours to causes such as the Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep and Coats for Kids. Lee has a 4.0 GPA and is the recipient of the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT scholar Award and Scholarship. Other nominees were Kelley Lou, Yue Zhang, Uyenvy Tran, Shina Lee, Michelle Son and Ellen Wang.
Independent realtor Paula Hui received the Individual Community Service Excellence Award for outstanding service to the community in the areas of leadership, coordination of cultural activities, improvement of health and well-being or volunteer service. Hui is the immediate past-chair of the Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She is also a Board member of the Texas Federation of Asian American Chambers and the Network of Asian American Organizations. In addition, Paula serves on the Austin City Planning Commission and the Austin Police Department TCLEOSE Advisory Board. Other nominees were Nasim Uddin, Jennifer Kim, Troy Wong and Shamaa Lakshmanan.
CAS Consulting & Services was awarded the Asian American Small Business Excellence for its commitment to the advancement of the industry, excellent service and positive contributions to the community. CAS owner Channy Soeur has also been one of the most giving small business to our community in multiple areas. CAS has dedicated time and money in volunteer work for the AAACC Chamber, NAAO, TFAACC. Soeur has volunteered his staff in multiple functions/projects and has brought/taught others to be leaders and been vital in making Asians have presence in our city. Alex Tan was also nominated for this award.
The Austin Filipino American Association received the non-profit Asian Organization Excellence for promoting the Asian culture through community involvement in civic, cultural, social, health, education, leadership and collaborative programs. Other nominees were the Bangladesh Association of Greater Austin, SAHELI for Asian Families and Austin Vietnamese-American Medical Professionals Society.