Extraordinary feat for a family
(Ed’s note: In 2009 when we first featured Filipino-Canadian graduates in our short-lived revival of ‘Silangan’, we lamented the fact that we, as a community, were lagging behind other immigrants in finishing higher education, not even high school. We were not making the grade then. But now, more than a decade later, we are seeing a different trend as can be seen by these three top graduates.)
Three cousins from Mississauga, Ontario have graduated at the top of their classes in 2020.
Paolo Lansang, Olivia Mendoza and Alexis Samson all completed their undergraduate Bachelor degrees from McMaster University in Hamilton with top honors as summa cum laudes (highest honours or grades).
Paolo and Olivia both took Health Sciences, while Alexis took Arts.
Paolo was 6 years old when he and his parents, Drs. Edward and Perla Lansang and brother Edward, moved to Canada in 2004. He will be attending the Waterloo regional campus of McMaster’s medical school this fall. He hopes to become a family physician and to remain involved in the academic field as an educator in the future. Paolo is an avid musician, playing piano, guitar and drums.
Olivia was born in Mississauga, Ontario to her parents Voltaire and Susan Mendoza, who moved to Canada in the early 90s. She finished high school at Lorne Park Secondary School’s Regional Enhanced Program. She worked as a lifeguard at Lifetime, earning her own pocket and gas money, while regularly participating in piano competitions. Prior to finishing high school, Olivia was awarded a 7-week summer research internship at Hamilton Health Sciences. She has enrolled in Queen’s University medical school. Before going to Queen’s, she studied health sciences at McMaster University. She is currently planning to specialize in obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or psychiatry. In her spare time, she likes to bake desserts and play spike ball with her roommates.
Alexis was 12 years old when she and her parents, Jose and Celeste, and brother Joey moved to Canada in 2010. She completed high school at Father Michael Goetz Secondary Catholic School where she was involved in multiple projects, including painting a mural and having multiple artworks exhibited at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Alexis worked at two jobs while attending McMaster University. She is looking to pursue either a post-graduate diploma in UX/UI design or a Masters in Biomedical Communications. She is currently employed at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital while also managing her small business on Etsy. Alexis enjoys reading and drawing in her free time.