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National Youth Awards Spotlight: Maria S.

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) will host the 18th Annual National Youth Awards Ceremony on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in Miami, Florida!

HHF is honored to present the Education recipient, Maria Salmeron Melendez. Maria serves as a role model to others, and is a true example of a Latina leader.

Maria is a vanguard leader in the ethnic diversity spaces and closing the achievement gap that exists between African American and Latino students and their counterparts.

As the leader of the Minority Scholars Program in Montgomery County, she has worked with other peer leaders and mentors to discover solutions for narrowing this gap. She was also involved in a panel organized by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans, and spoke to thousands of educators at the Teaching and Learning Conference in DC about cultural competency in the classroom.

Maria has been an intern with the Montgomery County Education Association, where she and a few peer leaders in the Minority Scholars Program had the opportunity to speak about institutional racism at the 2016 National Education Association Convention as a panelist. Maria also served as Student Body Vice-President at her high school. She has been granted several awards including the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award and the Minds in Motion Scholar Athlete Award, and has been recognized as an AP Scholar and Honor Roll Student. Maria maintains an impressive 4.0 cumulative GPA and will be  attending Lafayette College in Easton, PA as a Posse Foundation Scholar in the fall.

She won the Posse scholarships shortly after the Regional Youth Awards Ceremony. The Posse Scholarships works closely with its network of high schools and community-based organizations to  award four-year, full-tuition scholarships. Economics and Sociology are her intended majors.

Maria’s mother, Suyapa Melendez, is also the recipient of our Parent Award, presented by Learning Heroes.

If you would like to attend our National Youth Awards, please RSVP at

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