BETA STUDENTS RECEIVE YOUTH AWARDS FROM THE HISPANIC HERITAGE FOUNDATION FOR LEADERSHIP IN THE CLASSROOM AND COMMUNITY
Two students from South Texas Independent School District’s (STISD) South Texas Business, Education & Technology Academy (BETA) campus in Edinburg were honored for their leadership in the classroom and community at the Rio Grande Valley Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards ceremony, held on Thursday, Dec. 10, at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Campus.
BETA students Juan Castillo and Gelsey Castorena, both of Mission, were two of 18 local high school seniors chosen for the Hispanic Heritage Youth Award.
This year marked the 17th anniversary of the awards program. According to a press release issued by The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), this is the first year the Foundation expanded its Youth Awards to include the South Texas Region. With over 1,200 applications submitted, this newly-added region provided HHF with its largest response both nationwide and in the history of the Youth Awards.
The Youth Awardees will receive grants for their education, or to fund an idea or community project to encourage “actionable leadership,” which is HHF’s call to action. Recipients will then be mentored by past Youth Awardees as they prepare to attend college and into their careers through HHF’s award-winning Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT) workforce development program. The Youth Awards are taking place in 11 regions across the country, with 216 Youth Awardees selected from thousands of applicants. The average GPA for selected students is nearly a 4.0.
The regional ceremonies recognize students in six categories and three different levels (bronze, silver and gold) within each category: Business & Entrepreneurship, Community Service, Education, Engineering & Mathematics, Healthcare Science and Innovation & Technology.
Castillo took gold in the Business & Entrepreneurship category, and Castorena took silver in the Education category.
After the regional ceremonies, the 216 Regional Youth Awards recipients will be narrowed to one National Youth Award recipient for each of the six categories. These students will be celebrated at the National Youth Awards presentation alongside celebrities being recognized as role models. National Awardees will also receive a laptop computer and all-expense-paid trip to the ceremony (location TBD).