May 27, 2001

Seven outstanding Hispanic high school students have been selected as recipients of the coveted Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards. These accomplished young people will soon be in the national spotlight as part of the Hispanic Heritage Award Foundation's program honoring the contributions of Hispanic Americans.

The 2001 Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards national winners were selected from among 84 regional winners in 12 U.S. cities. In late August they will travel to the nation's capital where they will be honored by celebrities and national leaders at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. They will appear in the 2001 Hispanic Heritage Awards, a one-hour special which airs on NBC Television Stations on Saturday, Sept. 22. (7 p.m. ET/PT)

The national winners of the 2001 Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards are:

Nilda Feliciano, Lane Technical High School, Chicago, IL, for Literature/Journalism, sponsored by NBC Television Stations,
Usbaldo Fraire, Robert E. Lee High School, San Antonio, TX, for Leadership/Community Service, sponsored by Fannie Mae Foundation,Elisa Tatiana Juárez, Coral Reef Senior High School, Miami, FL, for Science and Technology, sponsored by Microsoft, Edward Leyba, Mesa High School, Phoenix, AZ for Academic Excellence, sponsored by Chase and MasterCard International,Emanuel Pleitez, Woodrow Wilson High School, Los Angeles, CA, for Sports, sponsored by Denny's restaurants,
Gloria Romero, Polytechnic High School, Ft. Worth, TX, for Mathematics, sponsored by Exxon Mobil Corporation, and Rodolfo Valadez, Thomas Jefferson High School, Los Angeles, CA, for Arts, sponsored by Dr Pepper.

The Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards began in 1998 under the visionary leadership of the Fannie Mae Foundation and reached Hispanic youth in five cities. In the next two years, the program tripled its investment in Hispanic youth, and doubled its geographic reach to 10 cities. This year, the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation again expanded the value of its prizes to youth and added a new award, the “Hispanic Heritage Youth Award for Mathematics,” sponsored by Exxon Mobil Corporation. In addition, the program was extended to two new cities in 2001, San José, CA and Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, thousands of Hispanic high school seniors in 12 cities U.S. cities (Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington, D.C.) submitted applications to the Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation. Local community leaders in each city selected seven regional winners, one in each of the seven disciplines of the Awards. Winners were selected for their accomplishments in their chosen discipline, their potential for leadership, and for their commitment to community service. Winners were also selected for having shown strength and quality of character and for having demonstrated that their Hispanic heritage plays a significant role in their lives. Based on the same qualities, the Foundation selected one student from each of
the seven disciplines (Leadership/Community Service, Sports, Arts, Literature/Journalism, Academic Excellence, Science and Technology, and Mathematics) as the national winner of the 2001 Hispanic Heritage Youth Award.

Award ceremonies honoring the 84 regional winners were held during March, April and May in each of the twelve markets where the program was held. Each regional winner received a $2,000 educational grant as well as a state-of-the-art laptop computer. The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation also made a $1,000 contribution on behalf of each regional winner to the community service organization of their choice, further fostering community responsibility among Hispanic youth. The
seven national winners will each receive an additional $5,000 educational grant.

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