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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 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin 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 Pink region – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin – as 27 high school seniors will be honored for their leadership in the classroom and community during a virtual ceremony on February 20th.

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 – Juan Muzquiz – Milwaukee, WI

Silver – Leslie Navarro – Columbia, MO

Bronze – Hailey Marrero – Westerville, OH


Gold – Litzy Gorostieta – Waukesha, WI

Silver – Nairi Garcia – Council Bluffs, IA

Bronze – Navaeh Garcia – La Grange, IL 

Engineering (presented by Southwest Airlines)

Gold – Damian Earley – Columbus, OH

Silver – Gabriella Honore – Chicago, IL

Bronze Francisco Jimenez – Des Plaines, IL

Entrepreneurship & Business (presented by TikTok) 

Gold – Ethan Hilton – Evansville, IN

Silver – Stephanie Rios – Detroit, MI

Bronze – Alondra Contreras, Des Plaines, IL

Green Sustainability (presented by The Coca-Cola Company)

Gold – Clara Reyes – Chicago, IL

Silver – Dominic Ashinze – Chicago, IL

Bronze – Jose Romero – Chicago, IL

Healthcare & Science 

Gold – Brianna Espinoza – Chicago, IL

Silver – Ivette Montalvo – Chicago, IL

Bronze – Hannah Loredo – Munster, IN

Media & Entertainment (presented by Comcast NBCUniversal/Telemundo)

Gold – Xiomara Brammer Gonzales – South Lyon, MI

Silver – Mateo Polanco – Shaker Heights, OH

Bronze – Benjamin Aranda – Bloomingdale, IL

Public Service & Social Justice (presented by Nike)  

Gold – Anabelle Sanchez – Chicago, IL

Silver – Saroya Ornelas Pagnucci – Chicago, IL

Bronze – Teresa Salazar – Aurora, IL

Technology (presented by T-Mobile)

Gold – Maria Tracy – Rocky River, OH

Silver – Juan Romero – Homewood, IL

Bronze –Joshua Montalvo – Orland Park, IL

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 , InstagramXand TikTok



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