A 16 year old Ilocano, Rafael Bitanga met the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. Bitanga received an award at the White House for his talent in film making.
Rafael Bitanga is a grade 10 student of Kodiak High School in Alaska. His film is about the Exxon Valdez Oil spill in 1989 from the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program.
During the awarding, he was accompanied by film instructor Maria Acemah, represented Baranov Museum’s Summer Intensive Film Class. Baranov Museum is a historical museum that offers film workshops for students.
The First Lady specifically mentioned Bitanga while giving the award.
“We have a young man Rafael Bitanga who is here all the way from Kodiak, Alaska. A few years ago, Rafael and his family came to the United States from the Philippines and like so many young people who’ve immigrated to this country,” Obama said.
“Rafael worked hard in school and quickly established himself as a leader and as a role model. And through the Baranov Museum and Film Intensive, he both became a filmmaker and a photographer and even established his photography business to help support his family,” she added.
Due to his hard work he a received recognition from Obama that made him happy and honoured
Obama also advised him to go to school and finish college which he will put to heart.
He is now planning to go home to his country, Philippines to take some time off. It is his way to unwind and be with his fellow Filipinos.
If you want to follow his footsteps, he has a message for you.
“Don’t lose hope. Don’t feel fear. Just know that if you keep on working hard, you’ll get to places like the White House where I went to. You just really need to work hard, that’s the only way,” he said.
At a young age, he is well driven to pursue his dreams. It shows that age is not a hindrance to do what you love and succeed in it.
Source : ABS-CBN