Our Roots

 

In 1965, the Sampaguita Women's Circle, Inc. co-sponsored a Summer Cultural School with the Filipino American Optimist Club, which was a success. This program was again picked up vigorously under the leadership of Mrs. Dolly Anthony who served as its director and became the project of the Sampaguita Women's Circle, Inc. Mrs. Anthony, with the help and cooperation of the club members, as well as other organizations in the community, was able to stir deep interest and enthusiasm among the community.

While the Sampaguita Women Circle shouldered the bulk of the financial responsibilities of the school operation, on several occasions other organizations have extended a helping hand in the form of monetary contribution and manpower assistance like sewing costumes, transportation, preparing refreshment, etc. At the end of the ten-week sessions, the children always looked forward to graduation. It was an opportunity to show off to their proud parents and relatives the lessons they learned in the short span of schooling. Throughout the years, FCS has grown to 6 sites namely Los Angeles, Wilmington, Carson, Cerritos, Long Beach, and Anaheim.

By 2012, the Cerritos FCS, one of the longest and only standing site remaining, briefly went into hiatus due to the lack of leadership. The program was revived in 2013 when UCLA graduate Paolo Roca, former FCS students Czarina De Jesus and Rhea Umalin worked to bring it back to life. In 2015, FCS celebrated its 50th year anniversary.

Since FCS’s revitalization in 2013, on top of being a 100% volunteer ran organization, it has been established as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization and is recognized by the City of Cerritos as a Group A Community Organization. It has received one of the four Alex Esclamado Memorial Award For Community Service in Education and Cultural Preservation from National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and Historical Heritage Excellence Award 2017 from the The San Diego Fil-Am Humanitarian Foundation.

At present, FCS leadership consists of 4 Board Members, 5 Community Advisors, and 8 Committee Members. FCS has year long programs while also preparing for the Summer Program: a Mentorship Program for Artesia, Bellflower and Cerritos High School Students, an Internship Program for Undergraduate Students, and Filipino Music and Dance Workshops with students from Mary Bragg Elementary School, Leal Elementary School, and Burbank Elementary School for their International Festival Filipino Performance.