January 02, 2001

The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation has begun its annual search for America's top Hispanic youth with a greatly expanded Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program. The San Jose Silicon Valley Area joins some the largest metropolitan areas in the nation in search of the best and brightest Hispanic Youth. This year, over four hundred thousand dollars will be awarded. The Regional Winners of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards 2001 will be recognized on April 11, 2001 in San Jose. The National Winners will be recognized at the Kennedy Center during the annual "Hispanic Heritage Awards" Ceremony in the fall.

The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, one of the nations most prestigious organizations promoting Hispanic excellence, announced that it has dramatically increased the value of its prizes to youth this year and has added a new award, the "Hispanic Heritage Youth Award for Mathematics.

San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales welcomed the Hispanic Heritage Awards to San Jose. "We are proud of our rich Latino heritage, and we are guided by our goal of helping young people succeed in our community. The prestige and honor of the Hispanic Heritage Awards will be a wonderful addition to San Jose and Silicon Valley," said the Mayor. The Chairman of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, Raul Tapia, added: "In the 21st Century, our nation can only benefit from the investment we are making today in our Latino youth. With the generous participation and commitment of some of our nation's leading corporations, we are able to reach out to Hispanic communities in the United States. We are proud to honor and reward Hispanic youth who will surely be tomorrow's leaders."

The Youth Awards program began in 1998 under the visionary sponsorship of the Fannie Mae Foundation and reached Hispanic youth in five cities. Last year, the program reached out in two new cities, San Diego and Dallas, increasing the program's outreach to a total of ten cites. This year, the program has expanded yet again, to two more cities: Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif. Regional awards will be given to eighty-four students, up from five when the program started.

Hispanic high school seniors living in the following twelve metropolitan areas -- Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Washington, D.C. -- are encouraged to apply now. The deadline for nominations is February 9th, 2001. In March, seven winners will be selected in each city, one in each of the following areas of accomplishment: Leadership, Sports, Arts, Literature/Journalism, Academic Excellence, Science and Technology, and Mathematics. These 84 Regional Winners will each receive $2,000 to use for their education and each will also receive a state-of-the-art personal computer. Additionally, the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation will make a $1,000 donation to a community service organization chosen by each Regional Winner. In June, the seven National Winners will be selected from the pool of 84 Regional Winners. These National Winners of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards 2001 will travel to Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian where they will be recognized at the annual, star-studded "Hispanic Heritage Awards" Gala in the fall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A program of the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, the "Hispanic Heritage Awards" Ceremony is widely recognized as the highlight of Hispanic Heritage Month and will be viewed nationwide on the NBC television stations.

Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards recipients are selected for their accomplishments in their chosen discipline, potential for leadership as well as for their commitment to community service. Winners must demonstrate strength and quality of character and show that their Hispanic heritage plays a significant role in their lives. Applications are available through the sponsoring organizations, high school guidance counselors, and through the Foundation's web site at www.HispanicAwards.org.

The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation was established fifteen years ago to promote Hispanic excellence, provide a greater understanding of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States, and to recognize and award role models that inspire our youth.

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