July 21, 2000
Washington, D.C. _ Six high school students will soon be in the national spotlight. These accomplished young people are the recipients of the coveted Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards. They are outstanding role models whose busy lives and many successes are a great contribution to our country. The honored students were selected from among 60 Regional Winners from 10 cities across the U.S. to reach the pinnacle of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation's annual search for the nation's most outstanding Hispanic youth. The Hispanic Heritage Youth Award 2000 National Winners will be flown to the nation's capital where they will be honored at the Hispanic Heritage Awards 2000 Gala September 7, and appear in the one-hour television special which airs on NBC Saturday, September 9. This is the first year the Hispanic Heritage Awards special is carried on the entire NBC network.
Raul R. Tapia, Chairman of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, the nation's most prominent organization promoting Hispanic excellence, announced the names of the National Winners of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards. "In only three years, the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards has tripled its investment in our youth," he stated. "We received nearly double the application as in the past, and the job of selecting the winners was difficult because of the high quality of the students that applied. The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation is proud to be able to recognize these young Latinos who will surely be tomorrow's leaders." Mr. Tapia announced the winners in the six categories of the Awards:
Carlos Aponte, Jr., Murray Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, Brooklyn, NY.
Leadership/Community Service, sponsored by Fannie Mae Foundation.
Robert Jesse Anguiano, Tuloso-Midway High School, Corpus Christi, TX, Sports, sponsored by Denny's.
Marianne Moreno, South Grand Prairie High School, Dallas, TX, Arts, sponsored by Dr. Pepper.
Jacquelyn Gonzalez, G. Holmes Braddock High School, Miami Fl, Literature/Journalism, sponsored by NBC (Television Stations Division).
Christian Alejandro Asmar, Miami Beach Senior High School, Surfside, FL, Academic Excellence, sponsored by The Chase Manhattan Bank.
José Juan Barraza, Jr., Hilltop High School, San Ysidro, Ca, Science and Tech-nology, sponsored by Microsoft.
In May, each of the 60 Regional Winners of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards 2000 received $2,000 to use for their education, in addition to a state-of-the-art personal computer. The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation also made a $1,000 donation to a community service organization chosen by each Regional Winner. The six National Winners each receive an additional $5,000.
Thousands of Hispanic high school students (9th through 12th grade) submitted applications earlier this year to the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation. Local community leaders in each city selected the Regional Winners for their accomplishments in their chosen discipline, their potential for leadership, and for their commitment to community service. Winners must demonstrate strength and quality of character and show that their Hispanic heritage plays a significant role in their lives. Beginning in January 2001, information about how to apply to the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards 2001 will be available at the Foundation's Web site at www.HispanicAward.org.
This year, the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation dramatically increased the value of its prizes to youth to total nearly $400,000 and added a new award, the "Hispanic Heritage Youth Award for Science and Technology." The Youth Awards program began in 1998 under the visionary sponsorship of the Fannie Mae Foundation and reached Hispanic youth in five cities. In its second year, the program was expanded substantially. This year the program continued to expand, adding two new sponsors, Microsoft and CompUSA, and two new cities, extending the program's outreach to a total of ten cities; Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, and San Diego. American Airlines, a new premiere corporate sponsor and Official Airline of the Hispanic Heritage Awards will fly the National Winners to the nation's capital first-class in September for the Millennium Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Awards.
José Juan Barraza, Jr., National Hispanic Youth Award for Science and Technology
José attended Hilltop High School and lives in San Ysidro, California on the San Diego border. Excelling in science and math, José will be attending MIT in the fall, Jose is the type of student more likely to talk about his future dreams, than his past accomplishments. He has fund time to volunteer regularly with the "Caritas del Sol" Mexican Orphanage and plans to major in biochemistry, with a goal to become an ophthalmologist. Microsoft hosted Jose and other Regional Winners on the Science and Technology Award on a special trip to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA on July 6 and 7. The Science and Technology Winners will meet with and be congratulated by top corporate executives, participate in tours and gain hands-on experiences in Microsoft's facilities. In June, Jose was selected at a Millennium Scholar by the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, providing an additional scholarship to fund his education at MIT.