16th Annual DC Regional Youth Awards

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The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and its sponsors honored 21 Latino high school seniors from the DC region for their accomplishments in the classroom, community and their focus on various categories during the 16th Annual DC Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards on December 9 at the Rayburn House Office Building. HHF also promoted the young leaders as role models for their peers through social media as they move forward to college and provide them with grants, which can be used for their education or social entrepreneurship to support their leadership for years to come.  Past Youth Awardees joined elected officials, educators, community and business leaders, and families in celebration of the students’ achievement. After the Regional Youth Awards Ceremonies in 10 markets, one recipient was chosen in each of the categories to attend the National Youth Awards in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January 2015 with celebrities. (Recipients’ average GPA is over a 3.5).

The Youth Awards Ceremony took place at the Rayburn House Office Building – Energy & Commerce Committee Room 2123 (Reception with food and beverages at 6 p.m. – Ceremony began at 7 p.m. local time)

Business & Entrepreneurship – sponsored by BBVA Compass
  • Gold: Jenna Ramirez, James Hubert Blake High School
  • Silver: Axia Nicolle Hernandez, Gaithersburg High School
  • Bronze: Lisette Obando Pardo, Fairfax High School
Community Service – sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Gold: Santiago Paul Jauregui, Centreville High School
  • Silver: Alicia Rodriguez, Fairfax High School
  • Bronze: Flor Jasmin Chavez, JEB Stuart High School
Education – sponsored by Southwest Airlines
  • Gold: Sophia Marie Caldera, Walt Whitman High School
  • Silver: Andrew Joseph Suarez, James W. Robinson, Jr. Secondary School
  • Bronze: Michelle Luna-Victoria, JEB Stuart High School
Engineering & Mathematics – sponsored by ExxonMobil
  • Gold: Laura Vazquez-Bolanos, Tuscarora High School
  • Silver: Matias Moreno, Washington-Lee High School
  • Bronze: Natalie Diaz, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Healthcare & Science – sponsored by CVS Health
  • Gold: Karla Rivas, New Town High School
  • Silver: Jessica Statler, Academy of the Holy Cross
  • Bronze: Miguel Portillo, Capital City Public Charter School
Innovation & Technology – sponsored by Entertainment Software Association
  • Gold: Chris Michael Issing, Wilbert Tucker Woodson High School
  • Silver: Emily Samuels, Gaithersburg High School
  • Bronze: Diana Katerina Carney, Lake Braddock Secondary School
Sports & Fitness – sponsored by NASCAR
  • Gold: Emily DeVilliers, Riverend High School
  • Silver: Diego Zarate, Northwest High School
  • Bronze: Alexander Corbett, Lake Braddock Secondary School

"The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is looking forward to another group of young leaders from the DC area that we can count on for the future and right now,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF.  “We want don’t want to simply honor the outstanding students but more importantly put them in a position from which to lead.  Our model is to support innovative leaders to impact thousands of others in industries and fields which are priorities for America’s workforce. And we are grateful to our dedicated sponsors who also realize the importance of tapping a resource like our Latino youth to move not just our community but America forward."

After receiving the awards, the students are funneled into HHF’s LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) award-winning, leadership and workforce development program focused on 10 “Tracks” or fields including healthcare, science, technology, engineering, education, public service, entrepreneurship, media and entertainment, finance and Latinas. Tens of thousands of students and young professionals are connected to each other through the LOFT Network;  thousands are prepared through trainings, priority-field-tailored symposia, workshops, and Charlas (online Google hangouts with experts); and hundreds are placed into internships, mentorships, fellowships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.  Join and follow LOFT on Facebook and Twitter.

Youth Awards Regional Ceremonies took place in:

Phoenix, Oct. 21, 2014, Arizona State University

Los Angeles, Oct. 22, 2014, University of Southern California

Miami, Oct. 28, 2014, University of Miami

Atlanta, Nov. 18, 2014, Georgia Tech University

Dallas, Nov. 20, 2014, Southern Methodist University

Chicago, Nov. 24, 2014, Loyola University

Houston, Dec. 2, 2014, University of Houston

San Jose, Dec. 4, 2014, Stanford University

Washington, DC, Dec. 9, 2014, Capitol Hill

New York, Dec. 16, 2014, Viacom

National Youth Awards, January 29, 2014, Puerto Rico

Additional partners of the Youth Awards included: UPS, PhRMA, Google, NRCCUA, Direct Auto Insurance, Rebuild the Dream, Qlovi, i.am.angel Foundation, OCI Group, Es Tiempo, and Voto Latino.