‘Heroes’ who inspire kids to reach their potential

Apl.de.ap bookended by the author’s sons Nino Estuar (right) and Mateo Estuar

Apl.de.ap bookended by the author’s sons Nino Estuar (right) and Mateo Estuar

By Rachel Cometa Estuar

On one special night every year, Loyola High School’s Asian Pacific Alumni Society (APAS) sponsors a scholarship dinner to benefit disadvantaged youths.

This year, the school tapped Filipino American celebrities — headed by Allan Pineda or Apl.de.ap of the Grammy award-winning hip hop group Black Eyed Peas — to lead the fund-raiser. Pineda is the founder of the eponymous Apl.de.ap Foundation.

Executives, academics, and other alumni from the fields of law, medicine, public policy, entertainment and others warmly welcomed Apl.de.ap as soon as he got on stage. Being a phenomenal pop artist adored by many young children and youth, including my teenage sons, Pineda drew admiration as he spoke about creating change in the lives of disadvantaged youth in the Philippines.

He told the audience that he was inspired by the kindness and love of his adoptive father, Joe Ben Hudgens, who brought him to the United States. Once living a life of poverty as he growing up in the Philippines, his heart breaks for the thousands of children who are suffering “there and still looking for hope.” Apl also acknowledged that his success was influenced by one Loyola alumnus, Ted Benito (’83), one of Los Angeles’ masterful architect of talent and production. Benito helped transform Apl’s vision into reality as the newly appointed executive director of the Apl.de.ap Foundation International.

Loyola High School is a Jesuit preparatory school, the oldest, continuously-run educational institution in Southern California. By teaching as Jesus taught, Loyola is dedicated to inspiring its students to become conscientious leaders and agents of change who are intellectually distinguished, morally courageous, and compassionate in service to others.

James Santamaria, chairman of APAS, formed the scholarship dinner team that included Leo Alonzo and Denney Domantay (’85), who also served as co-emcee with FOX 11 News anchor and meteorologist Maria Quiban.

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