AAPI Month: Principal Reflects on Family

AAPI Heritage Month: Principal Reflects on Family's Sacrifices
Posted on 05/12/2021
Eastlake Elementary Principal Eric Banatao, Ed.D.

Throughout May, a multimedia campaign is giving voice to various segments of our learning community about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. With the recent rise in Anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes in our country, we want to share insight and stories from and about Asian Americans in an educational way. In this post, we hear from EastLake Elementary Principal Eric Banatao, Ed.D.:

Dr. Banatao: "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month reminds me to be thankful and to honor the courage, sacrifice, and contribution of my family that allow me to be where I am today. Both of my grandfathers fought for the Philippine Army alongside U.S. forces during World War II, and they survived being prisoners of war (POWs). I think of their imprisonment and their courage to fight for freedom. Their service granted them the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. I think of the strength it must have taken to leave the Philippines, uproot their families, and pursue the ‘American Dream.’

"Through the sacrifices of my two grandfathers, separately, my mother and father each immigrated to the United States and met in San Francisco. I love this picture (1968)Military service and public service run deep in Dr. Banatao's family. of my mom (left) with her brothers and her sister, along with their father, Walter Sanchez. After retiring from the military, my grandfather continued work for the United States Postal Service and his sons enlisted in the United States Air Force. Several other uncles served in the US military, too.

"Altogether, my mother along with 11 siblings pursued new lives in the United States, and I am proud to continue in their honor, to serve others in and around my school community at EastLake Elementary School."

Chula Vista Elementary School District honors the stories from our community and looks forward to sharing more of them with you as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

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