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The 36th Annual HACE Awards Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders

October 2021
  • HACE logo
  • HACE student speakers

For the last 36 years, Quinsigamond Community College has partnered with leaders in the Latinx community to honor the area’s Latinx youth. On October 20, during a virtual ceremony, the annual Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence (HACE) event awarded 33 Worcester and Southbridge high school Latinx youths with scholarships.

Students receive scholarships that ranged from $350 - $450 to help put them on a pathway to a successful future. The HACE  awards honor those students who have excelled in arts, academics, athletics, community service, leadership and civic/political engagement. Once again, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty proclaimed October 20 as H.A.C.E. Day in the City of Worcester with an official proclamation.

“I look forward to the HACE Awards every year. It is a tribute to the best and brightest young people in the Central Massachusetts Hispanic community, and the scholarship money provided by the Awards is a jumpstart for each recipient to achieve their dreams. I have no doubt that these students will be leaders in business, sports, academic achievement, and public service in the years to come,” said Senator Harriette L. Chandler, HACE Committee member since 1985.

First Name

 Last Name

Category

School

Scholarship Award

Nairim

Cespedes Rivan

Academics

University Park Campus School

$350

Katherine

Farfan Picon

Academics

South High Community High School

$350

Ashley

Gonzalez

Academics

Burncoat Senior High School

$350

Ivori

Hidalgo

Academics

Bancroft School

$350

Nicole

Quinones

Academics

North High School

$350

Ailany

Rivas

Academics

Claremont Academy

$350

Karla

Rodriguez

Academics

Southbridge High School

$350

Bernard

Santos

Academics

Bancroft School

$350

Marcy

Suarez

Academics

Saint Paul Diocesan High School

$350

Madeline

Zafon-Whalen

Academics

Doherty Memorial High School

$350

Aailyah

Aponte

Arts

Southbridge High School

$350

Raven

Falcon

Arts

North High School

$350

Jasmarie

Henriquez

Arts

Worcester Technical High School

$350

Nathaniel

Hernandez

Arts

Arts/Music Police Partnership

$450 (350+Dolly Vazquez Cultural Award for $100)

Seleniz

Matias

Arts

Doherty Memorial High School

$350

Erika

Morales Lopez

Arts

Worcester Technical High School

$350

Elizabeth

Nivar Chavarria

Arts

Claremont Academy

$350

Stephanie

Ribeiro

Arts

Burncoat Senior High School

$350

Nicole

Duran Rodriguez

Athletics

North High School

$350

Ana

Giraldo

Athletics

Worcester Technical High School

$350

Victor

Manuel Canenguez

Athletics

University Park Campus School

$350

Maria

Panta

Athletics

Burncoat Senior High School

$350

Zaylee

Ramos

Athletics

Saint Paul Diocesan High School

$350

Cristina L.

Rodriguez Velez

Athletics

Claremont Academy

$350

Michael

Vazquez Guaman

Athletics

Doherty Memorial High School

$350

Erickson

Adon Suero

Leadership

University Park Campus School

$350

Yarelis

Diaz

Leadership

Southbridge High School

$450 (350+Marlyn Reyes Award for $100)

Jailimar

Montanez

Leadership

Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School

$350

Rafael

Muniz

Leadership

North High School

$350

Ella

Rivera

Leadership

South High Community School

$350

Corey

Rondeau

Leadership

Saint Paul Diocesan High School

$350

Nicole

Sarmiento

Leadership

Doherty Memorial High School

$350

Paula Sofia

Sierra Vargas

Leadership

Burncoat Senior High School

$350

The keynote speaker for the event was Ivette Olmeda, who addressed this year’s HACE theme, “Stronger Together,” a nod to the pandemic and the disproportionate impact it has had on the Latinx population, and the power of working together to persevere through challenging times.

“Sometimes when bad things happen in our life, they put us on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us,” she said.

Chairing the annual event since 2006 was QCC’s Director of Community Engagement, Déborah L. González, Ph.D.

“For 36 years, HACE has lifted and encouraged our local Latino youth to be the best version of themselves, to aspire to fulfilling futures, and to achieve the highest of their potential,” Dr. Gonzalez said, telling the student award winners, “This year was a test of your resiliency...continue on your path with resiliency and hope. You made history going through the challenging times in this century.”

Southbridge High School HACE award winner Aaliyah Aponte summed up her thoughts on this year’s theme.

“Stronger together means to me taking the time to honor one another and communicate with each other...that through all obstacles or any circumstances we may face, together, we can make the impossible possible,” she said.

Three students were also honored with special awards:

  • Olga López-Hill Community Leadership Award winner: QCC student Merari Alvarado. This $600 scholarship is available to QCC students who plan to continue their education at Quinsigamond or to transfer to another educational institution.
  • Marlyn Reyes Memorial Community Leadership Award winner: Southbridge High School student Yarelis Diaz
  • Dolly Vázquez Cultural Award winner: Nathaniel Hernandez, Arts/Music Police Partnership.

QCC President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D. closed the event with words of inspiration and hope to the students.

“Learn from your hardships. It’s going to make you stronger. It’s going to define your character and it's going to shape you into the person you will become. I know you will be wonderful...a great person and a great leader in our community,” he said, adding, “Thank you to the amazing HACE sponsors and volunteers. Your support and commitment to our Latinx youth is an investment in our economy and our collective future.”

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