[News] Meet the SENIA Honorary Student Awardees 2017

The SENIA Student Award is search for exceptional students who advocate for special needs in Asia. The winner of the SENIA Student Award for 2017 is Casey Stevenson.

There are many excellent nominees who also received the SENIA Student Honorary Award citation. It is our privilege to present to you the other SENIA Student Award nominees who also inspire many with their lives and advocacy. Meet the SENIA Student Honorary Award 2017 recipients.

johnnepJohn V. Nepomuceno
is a college student from the University of Santo Tomas Philippines. Before his formal ADHD diagnosis, John experienced challenges including hyperactivity, lack of focus and poor executive functioning. He faced academic failures and challenges in learning. After undergoing his therapies, John has overcome his challenges and has learned strategies that address his needs. As an advocate for ADHD, John has spoken in high profile events including those sponsored by the Occupational Therapy Association of the Philippines and the ADHD Society of the Philippines. John’s heart to help other learners with special needs drove him to enroll in the William Glasser Institute where he garnered a certification of Basic Intensive Training in Choice Therapy, Reality Therapy and Lead Management. His leadership abilities shone through during his campaign to be the Auditor for the Student Council. John’s positive influence in his college is commendable.

kanKan Jiraphongtrakul is a student-athlete from Concordian International School Thailand. Diagnosed with dyslexia, Kan experienced difficulties in reading, writing, spelling, short-term memory, time management, organization and mathematics. Still, with hardwork and perseverance, Kan is enrolled in the full IB diploma program. Kan is also an exceptional athlete and has won the coveted Most Valuable Player accolade in the areas of volleyball and basketball. Kan advocated for dyslexia through a community program he initiated called “Can You Read Me?”, a treasure hunt for primary students and their parents allowing them to empathize with people with dyslexia. 



Nathan Marcus V. Canon is a student diagnosed with bilateral, profound, sensorineural hearing loss. Due to his condition, his speech developed late and was imperfect. Nathan advocates for learners with similar condition as his. He speaks to students, parents and educators about his experiences. He visited Singapore to speak on his experiences with hearing implants for an audience of parents and children at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Nathan is also a creative student. His artwork was selected to be part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Artlink 2008-2009 exhibition entitled “Windows: Looking in, Looking out”. Nathan’s leadership is exhibited by his election as class representative during his grade school years and now as Treasurer of the Student Council. Nathan also volunteers as an artist for Teach Peace Build Peace Foundation’s storybook project. If these accomplishments are not inspiring enough, Nathan also learned to play musical instruments such as guitar and the keyboard in spite of his hearing loss.  

motwaniSohankumar Motwani is a college student of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Philippines. Sohankumar was not born blind. He lost his eyesight in high school. Despite the difficulties of transitioning from being a sighted person to blindness, Sohankumar forged on towards adjusting to his new situation with the support of his family and friends. Sohankumar continued on with his studies and performs excellently. Currently completing a degree in BS Information Systems, Sohankumar exemplifies responsibility and self-reliance. He is described by his teacher to be a student with exceptional analytical and critical thinking skills. Sohankumar is also very generous in sharing his talents with his peers. As a self-advocate, he thrives in college with minimal learning support. He advocates for himself by openly speaking about and teaching his sighted classmates to become familiar with the tools and techniques he uses for class. He also teaches them to be sensitive on how to interact with him. Through his advocacy, his school community has become more inclusive.

jasonJason Philip De Los Santos is a student diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD. For many years, he struggled with school work and found academic tasks immensely difficult. His unsatisfactory school experience made him adverse to school with his behavior and performance being constant sources of conflict. Today, Jason is a fully included Grade 11 student of Create and Learning Paths School, a progressive and inclusive school in Manila. He is given learning support such as the use of technology, graphic organizers, and after-school programs. Jason’s leadership abilities is also apparent as an officer of the Student Council. He is also accomplished in sports including Frisbee, biking, Arnis, and Aikido. Jason also joins advocacy talks to raise awareness about his condition and inspires teachers to support learning. Jason is indeed a testament that disability is not a hindrance to excellence in the areas of academics, athletics, leadership and advocacy. 

quiogueStephen Patrick C. Quiogue is a college student of San Beda College Alabang. Stephen was diagnosed with a developmental disorder at a young age. Through the support of his parents and appropriate therapists, Stephen was able to overcome his challenges and is currently enrolled in BA Psychology at San Beda College Alabang. Today, Stephen is a strong advocate for various types of special needs. Stephen also acts as junior facilitator and apprentice facilitator for the inclusive summer camp ran by Candent Learning Haus. He assists in the social skills training class for teenagers and acts as a mentor to some of the participants. Stephen continues on with his advocacy by speaking publicly about his condition to raise awareness and inspire action among those who hear his story. 

Story written by Catherine Deen, SENIA Board Member

Read about past SENIA Student Award Winners!

Andrea Zubiri wins SENIA Student Award 2012

Samantha Johnson wins SENIA Student Award 2013

Celeste Palmer wins SENIA Student Award 2014

Carolina Minton Frias wins SENIA Student Award 2015

Toby Zolkowski wins SENIA Student Award 2016

Meet the SENIA Student Award Honorary Winners 2016

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