February 21, 2003

HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS FOUNDATION LAUNCHES 2003 YOUTH AWARDS TO IDENTIFY AND CELEBRATE NEXT GENERATION OF ROLE MODELS IN 12 CITIES

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation (HHAF) announced the launch of their annual search for the top Hispanic high school Seniors in 12 major cities throughout the US, with applications now online at www.HispanicHeritageAwards.org. In addition, more than 100,000 applications have been distributed throughout high schools, public libraries, community-based nonprofits and local businesses. Applications are due March 6. The 2003 Youth Awards, a six-year program, have expanded to Gold and Silver Medallion winners in each category, doubling the amount of students honored last year.

The Foundation's Youth Awards' mission is to identify and promote the next generation of role models by celebrating their accomplishments in the classroom and community. In an effort to have all young people win, HHAF, along with their nonprofit partners, created a virtual portal of scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students at www.HispanicHeritageAwards.org/Youth/Opportunities.

"The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards have become a galvanizing force in our 12 host cities," said HHAF President and CEO Jose Antonio Tijerino. "The entire community comes together to celebrate the incredible achievements of these very special young people. More importantly, we are collectively positioning our Regional and National Youth Award winners as role models for their peers. There is no greater inspiration to a young person than another young person. Our sponsors share in our commitment in helping develop tomorrow's leaders."

A total of 144 Regional Youth Award winners-two students in each of six categories in each of the 12 cities (12 winners per city)-will be celebrated and receive educational grants ($2,000 for Gold Medalists and $1,000 for Silver) during special regional ceremonies.

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