April 12, 2002

Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation Honors San Diego Region Youth Awards Winners

The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation (HHAF) to honor the Hispanic Heritage San Diego Regional Youth Awards winners at an awards ceremony on Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hayatt Regency, located at One Market Place in San Diego.

The San Diego recipients are:

 Donald Diaz, Hilltop High School of Chula Vista (Mathematics Award Winner sponsored by Exxon Mobil Corporation);

 Esteban Molina-Estola-no, Bonita Vista High School of Chula Vista (Science & Technology Award Winner sponsored by Microsoft);

 Linda Moreno, San Marcos High School of Carlsbad (Sports Award Winner sponsored by HHAF);

 Karla Navarrete, Sweet-water Union High School (Leadership/Community Service Award Winner sponsored by Dr Pepper);

 Michelle Ramirez, East-Lake High School (Academic Excellence Award Winner sponsored by Chase and MasterCard International);

 Ana Hernandez-Bravo, Montgomery High School (Literature/Journalism Award Winner sponsored by NBC).

“The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards have become a stepping stone for young people since its creation five years ago,” said new HHAF Executive Director Antonio Tijerino. “Past Youth Award winners have gone on to college and made an impact in their communities after graduating from high school. A large part of our mission at HHAF is to promote Hispanic excellence and to provide Hispanic role models. There is no greater inspiration to a young person than another young person. We look forward to seeing the 2002 Youth Award candidates carry on that tradition.”

The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards were created in 1998 by the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation and the Fannie Mae Foundation in an effort to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Hispanic high school seniors across the nation and promote them as role models for their peers.

In addition to their accomplishments in the categories, the candidates must demonstrate community involvement and write an essay about the important role their Hispanic heritage plays in their lives.

“Identifying and developing the next generation of Hispanic leaders is critical to our future considering more than 35 percent of all Hispanics in America are younger than 18 years of age,” added Tijerino. “It is of great concern that Hispanics have a high school completion rate of only 63 percent, compared with 81 percent for African Americans and 90 percent for whites. That means Hispanic youth will be less prepared to enter or progress in the labor force. These numbers aren’t merely statistics—they are our future. We’d like to thank our sponsors and supportive community leaders for sharing in our commitment of breaking this tragic cycle by emphasizing the importance of education and high standards through the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program.”

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