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Education Updated: 08 Sep 2018

BBVA Compass honors some of nation’s most promising Latino students

BBVA Compass is honoring promising Latino students Wednesday in Washington, D.C., where it is sponsoring the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's 19th National Youth Awards Ceremony and creating opportunities for the high school seniors to pursue their college dreams or hone their leadership skills.


The HHF Youth Awards honor 200 Latino high school seniors who demonstrate leadership in both the classroom and their communities, and they’re awarded across a number of categories. The bank sponsored the Business & Entrepreneurship category, for those who express an interest in any number of business-, finance- or technology-related fields. Thirty students received scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 to put toward their college education or to fund an idea or community project. All 200 recipients were honored in ceremonies this fall across the HHF’s 10 regions. On Wednesday, seven of those will be recognized as National Youth Awardees at the ceremony in Washington, including Yanik Ariste of Miami, who’s the National Youth Award Winner in Business & Entrepreneurship, presented by BBVA Compass.

Yanik Ariste of Miami is the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's National Youth Award Winner in Business & Entrepreneurship, presented by BBVA Compass.

“It has been a great honor to be able to offer these young people a means to pursue their dreams, to show them that we believe in those dreams,” said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility & Reputation Reymundo Ocañas. “We see in them the kind of people who’ll keep reaching and keep aspiring and who’ll change the world, and we’re going to do what we can to create opportunities for them to do just that.”

Over eight years of sponsoring the Youth Awards, BBVA Compass has contributed $675,000, resulting in scholarships to more than 200 students. The bank’s support for the HHF Youth Awards is part of its larger campaign to invest in education and create opportunities for young people. The BBVA Compass Foundation, the bank’s charitable arm, has given $7.1 million to 658 organizations to support education efforts in the last five years. Its financial education program, meantime, reached 252,000 children across seven states from 2012 to 2016.

 Ocañas: We see in them the kind of people who’ll keep reaching and keep aspiring and who’ll change the world, and we’re going to do what we can to create opportunities for them to do just that

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation — a nonprofit established by the White House in 1987 — inspires, prepares, and connects minority leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce to meet America’s priorities. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions.

Besides Business & Entrepreneurship, the Youth Awards honor students with Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in the following categories: Education, Community Service, Healthcare Science, Media & Entertainment, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Here are the students who were honored this year with the Business & Entrepreneurship Youth Award, listed by HHF region.

Atlanta region

(Gold) Liliana Reyes, Redan High School, Stone Mountain, Ga.
(Silver) Melanie Cruz, Cass High, Cartersville, Ga.
(Bronze) Tanya Da Silva, Centennial High School, Roswell, Ga.

Chicago region

(Gold) Cain Yepez, Jones College Prep, Chicago, Ill.
(Silver) Josue Gonzalez, Lyons Township High School, Brookfield, Ill.
(Bronze) Eduardo Solano, Benito Juarez Community Academy, Chicago, Ill.

Dallas region

(Gold) Ryan Solis, Eastwood High School, El Paso, Texas
(Silver) Hans Baldivas, Richardson High School, Richardson, Texas
(Bronze) Diego Jimenez, CC Winn High School, Eagle Pass, Texas

Houston region

(Gold) Marlene Moran, Pasadena High School, Pasadena, Texas
(Silver) Arlene Alvarez, South Texas Business, Education & Technology Academy, Edinburg, Texas
(Bronze) Diego Roman-Martinez, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, Houston

Los Angeles region

(Gold) Alexandria Marx, San Marcos Senior High, Santa Barbara, Calif.
(Silver) Alfonso Rosas, Tustin High School, Tustin, Calif.
(Bronze) Christian Franson, JSerra Catholic High School, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Miami region

(Gold) Yanik Ariste, Coral Gables Senior High School, Miami, Fla.
(Silver) Ariana Ortega, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Coral Springs, Fla.
(Bronze) Christine Sanchez, Boca Raton Community High School, Boca Raton, Fla.

New York region

(Gold) Alena Washington, The Brooklyn Latin High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
(Silver) Jennifer Gomez, New Exploration into Science, Technology, and Math, Jamaica, N.Y.
(Bronze) Abigail Guzman, Bayside High School, Richmond Hill, N.Y.

Northern California region

(Gold) Natalia Nava-Urbina, North Salinas High School, Salinas, Calif.
(Silver) Arthur Carlos, Floyd B. Buchanan High School, Clovis, Calif.
(Bronze) Juan Rivera-Perez, Everett Alvarez High School, Salinas, Calif.

Phoenix region

(Gold) Guillermo Santos, El Dorado High School, El Paso, Texas
(Silver) Estephanie Torres, Metro Tech High School, Phoenix, Ariz.
(Bronze) Valeria Valdes Cosilion, Hamilton High School, Chandler, Ariz.

Washington, D.C. region

(Gold) Kelsey Tomas, James Hubert Blake High, Beltsville, Md.
(Silver) Magin Sanchez, Potomac Senior High School, Woodbridge, Va.
(Bronze) Marjory Pineda, Springbrook High School, Silver Spring, Md.