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16th Annual San Jose Youth Awards at Stanford!

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

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

SAN JOSE – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and its sponsors honored 21 Latino high school seniors from the Houston region for their accomplishments in the classroom, community and their focus on various categories during the 16th Annual San Jose Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards on December 4 at Stanford 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 Stanford University – Munger Conference Center Paul Brest hall 555 Salvatierra Walk, Stanford, CA 94305 (reception at 6pm and ceremony at 7pm).

  • Business & Entrepreneurship – sponsored by BBVA Compass

◦                     Gold: Maria Ruiz, Cloverdale High School

◦                     Silver: Vanessa Yepez, John H Pitman High School

◦                     Bronze: Margarita Orozco Martell, Luther Burbank HIgh School

  • Community Service – sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company

◦                     Gold: David Garcia, Oakland Unity High School

◦                     Silver: Gabriela Rivera, Armijo High School

◦                     Bronze: Jennifer Munoz, Fontana High School

  • Education – sponsored by Southwest Airlines

◦                     Gold: Gianna Brassil, Balboa High School

◦                     Silver: Rocio Reyes, Roseland University Prep

◦                     Bronze: Vanessa Villavicencio, Mountain View High School

  • Engineering & Mathematics – sponsored by ExxonMobil

◦                     Gold: Thomas Kriston, Dougherty Valley High School

◦                     Silver: Jose Rocha, Evergreen Valley High School

◦                     Bronze: Tanya Zazueta, Calexico High School

  • Healthcare & Science – sponsored by CVS Health

◦                     Gold: Summer Cortez, Thomas Downey High School

◦                     Silver: Kate Baca, Casa Roble Fundmental High School

◦                     Bronze: Gabriel Rodriguez, Mountain Vista High School

  • Innovation & Technology – sponsored by Entertainment Software Association

◦                     Gold: John Kriston, Dougherty Valley High School

◦                     Silver: Jacob Ramirez, Lodi High School

◦                     Bronze: Vanessa Tostado, Eastside College Preparatory

  • Sports & Fitness – sponsored by NASCAR

◦                     Gold: Benjamin Ecklund, San Joaquin Memoria

◦                     Silver: Christian Ruano, Junipero Serra High School

◦                     Bronze: Mayra Reyes, Madera South High School

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is looking forward to another group of young leaders from the Dallas 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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