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16th Annual Georgia Youth Awards at Georgia Tech

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

High-Achieving Youth Promoted as Role Models, Connected to Large National Network and Received Educational Grants

ATLANTA – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and its sponsors honored 21 Latino high school seniors from the Atlanta region for their accomplishments in the classroom, community and their focus on various categories during the 16th Annual Atlanta Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards on November 18 at Georgia Tech University. 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 Georgia Tech University – Student Center- Pinetree Room 350 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332.

  • Business & Entrepreneurship – sponsored by BBVA Compass

                     Gold: Andres Rodriguez, Pinecrest Academy

                     Silver: Natalie Mata, Pinecrest Academy

                     Bronze: Viviana Munguia, Pinecrest Academy

  • Community Service – sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company

                     Gold: Esteban Chittester, University School of Nashville

                     Silver: Emanuel Aragon Cruz, Lee County High School

                     Bronze: Antonio Rojas-Rodriguez, Stratford High School

  • Education – sponsored by Southwest Airlines

                     Gold: Katherine Morawa, Etowah High School

                     Silver: Maria Ceron, Archer High School

                     Bronze: Yadira Vazquez, Nashville Big Picture High School

  • Engineering & Mathematics – sponsored by ExxonMobil

                     Gold: Eduardo Conde, West Ashely High School

                     Silver: Fran Carranza, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

                     Bronze: Camila Gill, Wheeler High School

  • Healthcare & Science – sponsored by CVS Health

                     Gold: Michelle Rodriguez, Thomasville High/Scholars Academy

                     Silver: Mariana Gonzalez, Lakeside High School

                     Bronze: Sara Moreno Duque, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

  • Innovation & Technology – sponsored by Entertainment Software Association

                     Gold: Brody DeSilva, Bob Jones High School

                     Silver: Joshua Rodriguez, Cox Mill High School

                     Bronze: Jonah Epstein, The Paideia School

  • Sports & Fitness – sponsored by NASCAR

                     Gold: Hannah Sacristan, Blessed Trinity Catholic High School

                     Silver: Isamar Rivera, Meadowcreek High School

                     Bronze: Thomas Bower, Blessed Trinity Catholic High School

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is looking forward to another group of young leaders from the Atlanta 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, Foundation, OCI Group, Es Tiempo, and Voto Latino.

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation – a nonprofit established by the White House in 1987 – inspires, prepares, and connects minority leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities in 10 areas of focus.  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 the LOFT Institute is housed at Michigan State University (Visit



Santiago Melli-Huber

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