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This Year’s H.A.C.E. Award Winners Include Southbridge High School Students

October, 2019
  • 2019 H.A.C.E. Awards
    From left: Gilmarie Vongphakdy, Hilda Ramirez, Maria Addison, Iris Delgado,Itzelanie Chacon (bending down center), Marco Estrella, Dolly Vazquez, Dr. Déborah L. González and Eric Batista
  • From left: Dolly Vazquez, Senator Michael Moore, Eric Batista, Sheila del Bosque, Nacho González Nappa
    From left: Dolly Vazquez, Senator Michael Moore, Eric Batista, Sheila del Bosque, Nacho González Nappa
  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja greets student Johathan Mora.
    QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja greets student Johathan Mora.
  • From left:Sheila del Bosque, Dr. Viviana Abreu-Hernández and Gilmarie Vongphakdy
    From left:Sheila del Bosque, Dr. Viviana Abreu-Hernández and Gilmarie Vongphakdy

Since 1985, 735 Hispanic youth have been recognized and celebrated for their achievements in leadership, academics, sports, arts and civic engagement, thanks to business and community leaders in the Worcester community. On October 9, 36 senior high school students from public and private high schools throughout Worcester and Southbridge were honored at the 34th Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence (H.A.C.E) Youth Awards, held at Quinsigamond Community College.

This year was the first time students from Southbridge (which has a 56 % Latinx population) were honored with this distinction.

“I’m so proud…it’s incredible that you’re being recognized. You have so much skill to bring to America and the world,” said Jeffery Villa, receiver for Southbridge Public Schools and a Cuban immigrant himself. “We’re going to show what Latinxs can do in this country. “

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty proclaimed October 9 H.A.C.E. Day in the City of Worcester and recognized the students for their hard work and contributions to their communities.

“You’re an important part of this community. Make sure to come back to this community and make it a better place,” Mayor Petty told the students.

Dr. Déborah L. González, chair of H.A.C.E. and director of Community Bridges at QCC, told the students that all the accolades they were receiving  (citation from the House Committee, Proclamation from Mayor Petty, citation from Senator Harriette Chandler and citation from Senator Michael Moore) will make important additions to their portfolios. 

"This validates all your hard work," she said.

Keynote speaker for this year’s event was world-renowned Cuban flutist Sheila del Bosque, an expert in Latin jazz and Cuban music. Ms. del Bosque performed at the award ceremony before speaking to the students. She spoke from the heart, detailing her struggle as a young child in Cuba with virtually nothing and described how she worked and persevered to get where she is today.

“When you have a dream tell people, share it. Ask, how can you help me? Be proactive. Listen to the voice inside you; it will always tell you the truth. Study more, apply for scholarships…don’t be afraid,” Ms. del Bosque said.

The 2019 H.A.C.E.  Award winners include:

  • Herwin Godinez Figueroa, Burncoat Senior High School - Athletics
  • Isaiah Gomez, Burncoat Senior High School - Art
  • Sebastian Lima, Burncoat Senior High School - Leadership
  • Maria Tapia Betancourt, Burncoat Senior High School - Academics
  • Jasmine Miletti, Claremont Academy - Arts
  • Latreyu Ojeda, Claremont Academy - Athletics
  • Kimberly Patrocinio, Claremont Academy - Leadership
  • Daniel Ponce, Claremont Academy - Academics
  • Alberto (AJ) Barrera, Jr., Doherty Memorial High School - Athletics
  • Isabella Piedrasanta, Doherty Memorial High School - Arts
  • Lennox Santiago, Doherty Memorial High School - Leadership
  • Francisco Luc Zafon-Whalen, Doherty Memorial High School - Academics
  • Abigail De La Cruz, North High School - Academics
  • Alanis Perez Rivera, North High School – Leadership
  • Davanyel Romero, Baez North High School - Athletics
  • Angel Sotomayor, North High School - Arts
  • Mauricio Manuel Blanco, South High Community School - Academics
  • Alexa June Diaz, South High Community School - Athletics
  • Victoria Malmquist-Ribeiro, South High Community School - Leadership
  • Ivy Nieves, South High Community School - Arts
  • Damian Bermudez-Cruz, Southbridge High School - Arts
  • Stephany Breton Rodriquez, Southbridge High School - Leadership
  • Johansi Santana, Southbridge High School - Athletics
  • Joelis Velez Diaz, Southbridge High School – Academics
  • Julio Del Valle, St Peter-Marian Catholic High School - Academics
  • Daniel Jimenez, St Peter-Marian Catholic High School - Leadership
  • Emmanuel Vargas, St Peter-Marian Catholic High School - Academics
  • Ezenia Diaz-Lembert, University Park Campus School - Academics
  • Gabriella Guzman-Jerry, University Park Campus School - Leadership
  • Jonathan Mora, University Park Campus School - Athletics
  • Michel Salazar, University Park Campus School - Arts
  • Jose Ramon Curet III, Worcester Technical High School – Athletics
  • Willeisha Rodriguez, Worcester Technical High School - Academics
  • Jason Sanchez, Worcester Technical High School - Academics
  • Janely Santana Trinidad, Worcester Technical High School - Athletics
  • Paul Hernandez, Jr., Latino Education Institute - Leadership

 

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