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Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s 25th Annual Youth Awards to honor high school seniors from across the country for innovative leadership in the community and classroom

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

 Too meet the awardees from Arizona and New Mexico visit:

Actress Francia Raísa to serve as Emcee and Spokesperson for the Youth Awards


WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) announced the new class of  the 25th Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards recipients for the Yellow region – Arizona and New Mexico. – as 27 high school seniors will be honored for their leadership in the classroom and community during a virtual ceremony on February 8th.

Bi-lingual Mexican/Honduran actress Francia Raísa – who starred in ‘How I Met Your Father’ and now #1 Best Seller on Amazon for her family’s salsa recipe – will serve as Youth Awards Spokesperson and will be hosting the 10 Youth Awards Ceremonies plus the in-person, National Ceremony in the Spring.

“We are thrilled to honor yet another outstanding class of Youth Awardees who will carry on the tradition of innovative leadership, academic excellence and social impact of past recipients,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “There is no shortage of Latino talent across the US and 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 as a community and as a country with these innovative leaders who are ready to lead today, not just tomorrow, because we can’t afford to wait.”

Up to 30,000 top Latino high school students from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia apply annually to the prestigious Youth Awards in 10 “tracks” or categories (see below).  Up to 300 are selected, 30 in each of the up to “tracks” and then one national Awardee is selected in each of the categories.  The Youth Awards applicant pool is the main feeder to LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) and Leadership Institute (LLI), an active institution focused on leadership, workforce, community, culture, and social justice led in partnership by the HHF and Trinity University. The applicants and Youth Awardees are also be funneled into the LOFT Network, which is a collective of 300,000 students and youth professionals with access to mentors, resources, networking, workshops, symposia, summits, internships, and full-time positions with Fortune 500 Companies.

To follow the Youth Awards virtual ceremonies online, use the hashtag #YA25. Please visit to register.

Three students will be honored with Gold, Silver, and Bronze medallions per categories including:

Community Service (presented by Colgate-Palmolive)

Gold – James Padilla – Tijeras, NM

Silver – Veronica Contreras Sotelo – Tucson, AZ

Bronze – Maya Porres – Chandler, AZ


Gold – Sophia Garcia Hernandez – Santa Teresa, NM

Silver – Yazmin Rufino Alvarado – Glendale, AZ

Bronze –Isabella Boccia – Glendale, AZ

Engineering (presented by Southwest Airlines)

Gold – Sofia Gonzalez – Albuquerque, NM

Silver – Alexis Mercado – Scottsdale, AZ

Bronze – Natalie Estereicher Solano– Goodyear, AZ

Entrepreneurship & Business (presented by TikTok) 

Gold – Franky Sandoval – Yuma, AZ

Silver – Dante Lucero – Placitas, NM

Bronze – Paulina Aguilar – Tucson, AZ

Green Sustainability (presented by The Coca-Cola Company)

Gold – Maritza Roberts – Tucson, AZ

Silver – Cailinn Allen Chavez – Phoenix, AZ

Bronze – Emma Ellexson – Phoenix, AZ

Healthcare & Science 

Gold – Grant Dewey – Scottsdale, AZ

Silver – Kayle Heidemann – Yuma, AZ

Bronze – Mackenzie Lopez – Scottsdale, AZ

Media & Entertainment (presented by Comcast NBCUniversal/Telemundo)

Gold – Nicandro Guereque – Tucson, AZ

Silver – Matthew De Souza – Chandler, AZ

Bronze – Lucio Garcia – Buckeye, AZ

Public Service & Social Justice (presented by Nike)  

Gold – Anissa Madrid – Tucson, AZ

Silver – Xochilt Luna – Phoenix, AZ

Bronze – Talia Udelman – Phoenix, AZ

Technology (presented by T-Mobile)

Gold – Kyo Torres Chen – Sandia Park, NM

Silver – Seth Rojas – Tucson, AZ

Bronze – Ilana Valenzuela – Tucson, AZ

Other supporters of the Youth Awards include the American Federation of Teachers, Capital Wire, Crowell & Moring, Es Tiempo, Freddie Mac, Mastercard, Teach for America, and Wells Fargo.

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Youth Awards

HHF’s mission focuses on education, workforce, social impact, and identity and culture through the lens of leadership. Through HHF’s 25-year-old Youth Awards program, tens of thousands of high-achieving Latinx high school students have been recognized and received more than five million dollars to support their education, ideas or projects.  Once they are vetted through the Youth Awards, alumni are connected to a larger network providing mentors, programs, and career path opportunities through the award-winning LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) program throughout college, grad school and into their careers. Visit Follow HHF on Facebook , InstagramTwitterand TikTok



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