Now it is the turn of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco and local leaders Monterey County and City of Salinas to present their much-deserved recognition to the Filipino American Superman Kid of swimming after much needed coverage and accolades from different broadcast, print and other internet-based news outlet worldwide heap their own praises on the swimming prodigy.
New Long Course Far Western Championships 100-meter butterfly event record holder Clark Kent DungcaApuada was given recognitions at the Salinas City Filipino Community Center and was attended to by a jam packed crowd, both Filipinos and non-Filipino friends and supporters alike, led by Filipino American Community President Orly Jimenez
Among those who personally presented recognitions included Monterey County District 2 Supervisor John Phillips, District 3 Supervisor Simon Salinas, Salinas City Mayor Joe Gunter and Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Henry Bensurto Jr.
In is message, Bensurto asserts that the accomplishments of Clark brought honor to Salinas and the entire Filipino American community all over the world and came at a time when “the Consulate is looking for young champions who can inspire other Filipino Americans to strive for excellence but at the same time be proud of their Filipino roots and heritage.”
“You are an inspiration to many of us and we would like to highlight your achievements in the hope that it will encourage other Filipinos to dare to dream and dream big. With your achievements, you have put your community in the map, elevate your community in Salinas and the entire Monterey County. You have brought honors not just to the present generation but also to that generation of your Filipino American forefathers in Salinas and the future generations of Filipino Americans as well. Now you bear in your shoulder not only the joy, the excitement of the more than 100 millions Filipinos back home but also the more than 10 million Filipino diaspora all over the world and also the more than 3 million Filipino Americans here in the United States. That is the magnitude of what you had accomplished,” declares Bensurto who also regard Clark as a model that Filipinos want to project whom other Filipino Americans can draw inspiration from and has now become a bridge for Filipino and American cultures. .
Bensurto also acknowledged that Clark’s own recognition his being also a Filipino showed that heritage of being a Filipino is not a burden, not a baggage, but really are wings that would allow them to soar high and fly like an eagle.
As a former teacher, Supervisor Salinas congratulated also Clark’s special education teacher parents, Chris and Cynthia for being prestigious themselves as Clark is.
“One things that I try to impressed on that they public school students set their dreams and their goals. To be able to do what you did with persistence and determination, none of was able to accomplish what you were doing. You were doing those swims that have now distinguished you as one of the greatest ten-year-old swimmers in the history of our country,” Salinas extolled Clark.
In his congratulatory message, Supervisor Phillips referred to Clark as not just the pride of the Filipino community but as the pride of all the communities particularly in Monterey County while Mayor Gunter promised to keep track of the direction that Clark takes him with the guidance of his loving parents, good teachers and great coaches, Dia and Travis Rianda, in swimming.
Other dignitaries that sent their representatives in giving recognition to Clark’s feat included California district 30 Assemblymember Anna Caballero and Monterey County District 1 Supervisor Luis Alejo, represented by Cassandra Sanchez and Linda Gonzales, respectively.
Clark himself was amazed with the presence of a lot of supporters and was appreciative of the people who organized the event.
On hearing the latest words of encouragement of Michael Phelps, who is hopeful to see Clark actually compete in the future, urging him to keep up the good work and “don’t. don’t don’t give up. It is not easy but if you want it, you can achieve it.” Clark admitted that “there are a lot of thoughts going in mind and I couldn’t really express one feeling. Michael Phelps words in the message he sent were inspirational to me.”
“I don’t feel any pressure really because those are the things to motivate me. And giving me more motivation pumps up my energy level even more,” reacted Clark on hearing all the accolades and all the praises heaped on him,
Dad Chris admitted that they are beyond words on how we can express how great the recognitions are to Clark and their family.
“We are actually very humbled with the warm reception of the community and the different leaders who came here to support to our son. Thank you for recognizing our son’s efforts in the field of sports. Sa mgakababayanpo naming saPilipinas at buongmundo, tagumpayponatinglahatito!” Chris gratefully expressed. “The support that Clark is getting as far as our home country and from all over the world is a lot to process at this point.”
Chris also acknowledged that everything is happening so fast with Clark now and that Clark is still very young to understand a lot of it.
“We are always here to support his goals and dreams all the way. We want to make sure that he continues to be the child that he is, to continue to have the fun even in his drive to reach his goals. We don’t want him to feel pressured although his achievements brought it about on him. As parents, we want him to continue to be a child, the son that we have who will have a happy and fulfilling life,” vows Chris
Mom Cynthia agreed that that there won’t be any changes at all on how their life as a family will be.
“It will always to be the same things, same routine that we are going to bring out in our family. It is going to be so hard to put pressure on him and we are here to guide him. We want him to set goals by himself, to work hard, and to do good in anything he would like to do. That is why we exposed him to many things as well to be well rounded and have a happy childhood,” disclosed Cynthia “So Clark continue to dream big and keep doing big. Like what we always say, you and your brothers are God’s blessings to us. we pray that you continue to be a blessing to others.”