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NFL and Hispanic Heritage Foundation to honor ten student-athlete leaders from across America as part of Super Bowl LVI week

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

First-of-its-kind program will feature Latino celebrities, athletes and local leaders joining forces to celebrate the accomplishments of student leaders


Los Angeles, CA -The National Football League (NFL) and Hispanic Heritage Foundation will honor 10 high school student-athletes who will be flown in from across the United States as part of the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI week celebration at the LA Convention Center on Tuesday, February 8th at 2:00 pm (PST).  This year, the NFL is host to the Sports & Fitness category of the annual Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program, with top students selected among a pool of nearly 30,000 applicants. The ceremony is a first-of-its kind to be held during Super Bowl week, with one of the students to be recognized as the national recipient.  Latino celebrities, athletes and local leaders are all expected to attend in celebration of the Youth Awardees.

The Youth Awards were founded in 1998 by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and honor Latino high school seniors who excel in the classroom and community.

“We are thrilled to recognize the impact of these outstanding young leaders with the NFL, not only in the classroom and on the field, but in our community,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF.  “We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with the NFL who are highlighting the student-athletes during Super Bowl week at the Super Bowl Experience presented by Lowe’s. It’s also great to have Mexican-American multi-platinum singer, songwriter, author, and philanthropist, Ally Brooke, and Sammis Reyes, the Chilean player in the NFL with my Washington Football Team, and other celebrities join us in paying tribute to the great promise of our youth.”

“The NFL is committed to supporting and celebrating the next generation of Latino youth, and the winners of this year’s awards exemplify what the ‘Por La Cultura’ campaign is all about: the vibrancy, commonalities, and differences that comprise our fanbase,” said Marissa Solis, NFL Senior VP/Global Brand & Consumer Marketing. “The ten Youth Awards recipients may represent different regions of our country, but all share a love of Sports & Fitness, as well as a determination to excel in the classroom and make a difference in their communities. The NFL is honored to form part of this endeavor.”

The 10 Youth Awards’ Sports & Fitness category recipients are (visit for full bios of the students):

Adriana Thompson – Charlotte, NC

Christopher Cortez – Arlington, OH

Connor Aparicio-Bill – Holualoa, HI

Diego Foster – Chandler, AZ

Gabriella Henson-Vendrell – Haymarket, VA

Izaya Laguardia – Portland, OR

Karina Manrique – Weston, FL

Leonardo Cuellar – Laredo, TX

Sofia Gaydos – New York, NY

Tyler Armstrong – Yorba Linda, CA

The year-round, NFL-HHF youth leadership effort kicked off this past Fall with a series of regional and national social media campaigns in partnership with Puerto Rican Superstar Ozuna, a spokesperson for the Youth Awards.

The NFL’s Sports & Fitness Youth Awards category recognizes students who are involved in athletics, a fitness activity or plan to pursue a career in sports or fitness. The students who applied demonstrated their commitment to academic excellence, as well as leadership, positive sportsmanship, and willingness to help their peers on and off the field.  The student-athletes will receive a grant from the NFL and HHF to help fund their education or to support an idea or project in the health and fitness space.

In addition, as a part of the national “My Cause My Cleats” campaign, the NFL partnered with cleat designer and former college athlete, Marcus Rivero, to create a one-of-a-kind design for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Sports & Fitness Youth Awardees highlighting Latino roots and culture.

These efforts form part of the NFL’s ongoing commitment to support and celebrate Latino communities. Elevating and supporting the efforts of youth in the community is a focal point of the league’s “Por La Cultura” initiative.

Chilean Sammis Reyes plays tight end for the NFL’s Washington Football Team after growing up playing basketball as a youth member of the Chilean national basketball team and then moved to the United States after receiving an athletic scholarship at age 14.

Ally Brooke gained critical acclaim as lead vocal of world-famous pop sensation Fifth Harmony. With 250 million combined streams, she made her solo debut with “Low Key” (Tyga) and “Lips Don’t Lie” (A Boogie Wit the Hoodie), and gained her first No. 1 single on Billboard’s Dance chart with “All Night” (Afrojack). In 2022, she’s set to release her second all-Spanish single ‘Por Ti” after being featured in HHF’s Hispanic Heritage Awards as part of an all-star tribute to Legend Honoree Carlos Santana.

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is a national, nonprofit focused on education, the workforce, social impact, and culture.  Visit and follow HHF on Facebook , InstagramTwitter, and TikTok


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