18th Annual Chicago Youth Awards

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

Media Contact: Cynthia Pleitez


Local High School Seniors to be Recognized at Honorary Ceremony, Receive Thousands in Educational Grants, and Join Leadership Pipeline in College, Community and Workforce

CHICAGO, IL (November 3rd, 2016) – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced today the 24 outstanding Latino high school seniors from the Chicago area who will be honored during the 18th Annual Chicago Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards Ceremony at Loyola University Downtown, Lewis Tower Building, Beane Ballroom, 111 East Piercing St., Chicago (Reception 6 – 7 p.m., Ceremony 7 – 8 p.m.).  The approximately 240 Youth Awardees in Chicago and in nine other regions across the country were selected from 20,000 applicants and will receive grants as well as promoted as role models.

HHF President and CEO Jose Antonio Tijerino said, “We are thrilled to honor yet another outstanding class of Youth Awardees who will carry on the tradition of excellence from past recipients.  There is no shortage of Latino talent in Chicago or across the United States. We are grateful to our dedicated sponsors who understand the importance of investing in the youngest and most dynamic segment of our population.  We’re in good hands with these outstanding young leaders.”

The 2016 Youth Awards categories and winners are: 

Business & Entrepreneurship Sponsored by BBVA Compass: Thomas Micun (Gold) Saint Ignatius College Prep, Gabrielle Alcala (Silver) Warren Township High School, Joseph Alvarez (Bronze) Brother Rice High School

Community Service -Sponsored by Colgate Palmolive: Emilio Balderas (Gold) Palatine High School, Adriana Guevara (Silver) Benito Juarez Community Academy, Ariella Gaitan (Bronze) Benito Juarez Community Academy

Education – Sponsored by Southwest Airlines: Ruby Diaz (Gold) Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Catalina Anampa (Silver) Hopkins High School , Eileen Ramirez (Bronze) Benito Juarez Community Academy High School

Engineering – Sponsored by ExxonMobil: Adheli Gonzalez (Gold) Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Peyton Rives (Silver) Francis Howell North, Claudia Cerna (Bronze) St. Joseph High School

Healthcare & Science – Sponsored by CVS Health: Henry Fernando Roman (Gold) Northside College Prep High School, Elizabeth Murillo (Silver )Huntley High School, Isabel Guillen (Bronze) Evergreen Park Community High School

Innovation & Technology- Entertainment Software Association (ESA): Rebeca Torres (Gold) Wheeling High School, Justin Aubin (Silver) Brother Rice High School, Jennifer Munoz (Bronze) Penn High School

Mathematical Sciences – Presented by Pricewaterhouse Coopers: Melissa Tovar (Gold )Riverside Brookfield High School, Joseph Floeder (Silver) Mounds View High School, Ezequiel  Gonzalez (Bronze) Ben Davis High School

Media & Entertainment – Sponsored by NBC Universal: Brandon Pazmino Gold, Samantha Reynoso Silver, Aliyah Paiz Bronze

Parent Award – (Presented by Learning Heroes): Juan Cerna

For the first time, parents of one of the Youth Awardees will receive the Learning Heroes Parent Award in each of the regions in honor of the pivotal role parents play in the educational success of youth.  Learning Heroes mission is to equip parents and families with information and actions they can take to help their children succeed in school and life.  Visit bealearninghero.org for more information.

The Youth Awards program honors students in 10 regions including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles San Jose, Phoenix, New York City, Atlanta, and Miami.  Recipients of the Youth Awards plus the applicants will be vetted and funneled into HHF’s Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) network where they will be connected to 100,000 students and professionals, access workshops/symposia/summits as well as internships and full-time positions with Fortune 500 Companies.  of the Youth Awards The spokesperson for HHF’s youth programs is singer Becky G, who received the Inspira Award for serving as a role model in the public eye.

Additional partners of the Youth Awards include: AT&T, Direct Auto Insurance, Herbalife and NASCAR. After the regional ceremonies, the National Youth Awards will feature one national recipient in each of the categories and celebrate the young leaders in Miami, FL, with special appearances by celebrities.

About HHF and LOFT

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation focuses inspires, prepares, and connects Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities.  HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions.  HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Silicon Valley (Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org). Follow Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Facebook and @HHFoundation on Twitter.