Chronicle Invites Students To Apply And Donors To Donate To Its Scholarship Awards Program

For the past 30 years, the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle has served the community by being a reliable source of news that informs and educates its readers locally, nationally and internationally. For the next 30 years and beyond, Hawaii’s #1 Filipino newspaper wants to do—and give back—even more by establishing a journalism scholarship awards program.

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido, publisher and managing editor of the Chronicle, noticed an under-representation of Filipinos in journalism (including mass communications and media) in general. So, she envisioned investing in the future by offering financial help to college students of Filipino heritage majoring in the field at one of the four-year accredited universities in Hawaii. She wanted our local talents to stay in Hawaii since the community will benefit a lot from them.

“We need future Fil-Am writers and leaders in the fields of journalism and mass communications. We are short of Filipino journalists who will continue our work and serve the Filipinos and our community-at-large in the future,” Sonido said.

Few Filipinos in JMC Field
Filipinos and Filipino-Americans represent the fastest growing ethnic group in Hawaii and make up 23% of the state’s population. Filipinos and Filipino-Americans also comprise the largest Pacific Islander cultural community in America but are underrepresented in the fields of journalism and mass communications (JMC).

“The dim outlook in journalism is a fact that needs to be faced head-on,” said Teresita Bernales, Ed.D., scholarship committee member and one of the judges. The Chronicle “is a venue that will be there for a long time to inform, to inspire people to action, to serve the community’s needs and to provide continuity of good journalism by encouraging youth to enter this field.”

For the past few years, the Chronicle’s journalism scholarship has awarded three outstanding students of Filipino heritage to support their studies and careers in JMC.

“We need good journalists who are the ‘eyes and ears of the community’, and the Chronicle believes that we must build a pool of journalists in the future to safeguard our democracy and create a group that reports ‘checks and balances’ actions happening in the government and around us,” Sonido said.

“With good reporting in place by well-trained journalists, we can secure a fair, informative and steady flow of news in our community and around the world. It is important that we support these students who are preparing for their future in the JMC field.”

New Filipino Media Foundation
In order to administer the journalism scholarship awards program initiated by Sonido through the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, Inc., she established the Filipino Media Foundation, a new public 501(c)(3) charity non-profit organization.

Sonido also assembled a group of educators and journalists to form a scholarship committee. She appointed Edna Bautista, Ed. D., to formulate the scholarship’s provisions, terms, requirements, application forms and logistics. Bautista serves as the journalism scholarship committee chair and is a non-voting member.

“There weren’t many scholarships like this available at all when I graduated high school and went to study communication in college in Hawaii. So it’s wonderful that the Chronicle has established an important financial resource and created educational opportunities for aspiring young journalists and mass communicators of Filipino descent,” Bautista said. “I’m very honored to help the Chronicle give back to the community and serve on the scholarship committee.”

Journalism Scholarship Committee
“The Chronicle has formed a scholarship committee comprised of excellent members whose backgrounds in education and journalism are outstanding,” Sonido said. These role models for future journalists include Edna Baustista, Ed.D., Belinda Aquino, Ph.D., Dennis Bautista, Ph.D., Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. and Glenn Wakai.

The Chronicle’s Fil-Am scholars
Since its inception in 2019, the Chronicle has awarded three Filipino American scholars from two  Hawaii universities: 2019’s Alyssa Acob from Hawaii Pacific University, 2020’s Brenna Flores from Chaminade University, and 2021’s Jasmine Sadang from Hawaii Pacific University.

“Winning the journalism scholarship not only helped me financially, but it gave me hope and encouragement to know that there are people out there—especially in the Filipino community—that want to invest in the next generation,” said Acob.

For Flores, the scholarship “presented me with a platform to explore my Filipino heritage and learn more about it.”

As a message to fellow JMC students, Sadang expressed her support in the field: “If you love writing, storytelling or anything media related, you definitely should try out the JMC field because who knows? You’ll probably love it! You don’t want to live your life thinking that you should’ve taken the other road.”

For the scholars, the Chronicle’s scholarship program allowed them to continue their studies in journalism and media while being able to explore their talents, creativity and culture through interviewing sources and writing articles for the Chronicle.

In commemorations of its 30th publication year, the Chronicle continues to celebrate and award $2,500 to an outstanding scholarship winner every year.

Eligible scholarship applicants must be Filipino or part-Filipino; U.S. citizen; Hawaii high school graduate; full-time college student (at least 12 credits undergraduate) enrolled as an incoming freshman, sophomore, junior or non-graduating senior at an accredited four-year public or private college/university in Hawaii by the 2022 fall semester; and a journalism, mass communications or media-related major; and must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (on 4.0 scale).

They must also submit the official scholarship application form (downloadable from the Chronicle website) and provide reference letters, transcripts and samples of journalistic writing.

Applicants must write an essay addressing how their Filipino cultural heritage influenced their outlook on life, how they became interested in a journalism/mass communication/ media field, how their future career in journalism would benefit the Filipino and general community and how they would contribute to Hawaii’s growth and development in the future.

Support the students
Although proceeds from the gala go toward the scholarship fund, more money is needed to support and sustain the annual journalism scholarship awards program. Another fundraising event is planned within five years. Please support the students and invest in the future of Filipinos working in JMC fields.

Donations are welcome via the Filipino Media Foundation and are 100% tax deductible. To donate, please contact the Chronicle office at or call 808-284-4185 or you can send your donation: Filipino Media Foundation,C/O 46-471 Holonui Place, Kaneohe, HI 96744.

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