Delaware Hispanic Student Recognition Program 2009

All Students with awards in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties

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Wilmington- These are the Students that received recognition at an award ceremony held in Dover on April 25, 2009:

ACADEMICS

This year’s winner for New Castle County in the category of Academics is a senior at William Penn High School. Ranked 2nd in her graduating class of 475, and having earned a GPA of 4.11, she is currently taking 6 Advanced Placement courses. Her academic honors include: The Governors School for Excellence, Girls State Grant Winner, and William Penn’s Top Student in World History, Language Arts, French, Geometry, and Chemistry. This year, she also won her school’s essay-writing contest, which brought many judges to tears on the day of her interview. This year’s winner is also fluent in French, and while she is her class’ Salutatorian, she will miss graduation, as it conflicts with an invitation she received to debate other high school students from around the world – in Paris. Described as “kind-hearted and well-liked” by her guidance counselor, she is not only smart and driven, but caring and selfless as well. She has served for 3 years in Student Council, will complete 100 hours of community service through the National Honor Society, has volunteered as a teacher’s aide, and has helped with two of the school’s drama productions. She loves the sciences, aspires to be a physician and has already been accepted to attend the University of Delaware. This year’s winner for New Castle County in the field of Academics is Lian Marie Colon.

This year’s winner of the Academics Award for Kent County is a senior at Polytech High School, is currently ranked in the top 3% of her class, and has maintained a GPA of 3.77. One of her teachers commented that “her ability to not only excel…but to continue to take on more without permitting anything else to suffer” is what makes her truly remarkable. This year’s winner participates in many sports and extracurricular activities, all while keeping up with her academic achievements, which include winning the Horatio Alger Scholarship. Having received acceptance letters from some of the country’s finest universities and offers of numerous scholarship opportunities, her goal of becoming a criminal defense attorney is surely within reach. This year’s winner in the category of Academics for Kent County is Wanda Bautista.

This winner of the Academics award for Sussex County is currently a senior at Seaford High School, is currently ranked number 13 in her class of 140 students, and has earned a cumulative GPA of 3.46. She has been described by her teachers as poised, polished, persistent, and proper. One of her instructors referred to her as an ‘exemplary leader that caused a positive change in her school’ and after a brief review of her achievements, it’s easy to see why. She has doubled up on her ROTC courses to advance an additional level, has received straight A’s in the second marking period of this school year, and also made the Distinguished Honor Roll. Not only does this student excel academically, but in community service as well, participating in a community dance group that organized a presentation of Mexican culture and achievements during Hispanic Heritage Month. This year’s winner arrived in the United States from Mexico five years ago speaking no English. Enduring the teasing and ridicule of others, she persevered, learned English, and now interprets for her mother, sister and brother. Congratulations to this year’s Winner in the category of Academics for Sussex County: Monserrat Celays-Martinez.

ATHLETICS

This year’s winner of the Athletics Award for New Castle County is currently a senior at Cab Calloway School of the Arts and has a currently holds a 3.75 GPA. For the past 7 years, he has been a voice major and has performed in many musicals such as “Les Miserables” and “West Side Story.”He even won third place out of thousands of vocalists on the nationally televised program “American Idol Juniors” in 2003! This year’s Honorable Mention recipient is also very involved in academics and sports, runs track and field and plays for the varsity football team. When he’s not busy with school and sports, he volunteers as the head coach of a powder puff football team and serves as a mentor at the West Center City Childcare Center. His peers have recognized him for the Outstanding Hispanic Achievement Award, saying they are “consistently impressed by his dedication and commitment to becoming the best that he can be,” and describe him as “a well-rounded young man who has certainly proven himself as a scholar, an artist, an athlete and a wonderful human being.” He will also be the first of four siblings to go on to college, and plans to major in business or sports management this fall. This year’s winner of the Athletics Award for New Castle County is Adiel “AJ” Melendez.

This year’s winner of the Athletics Award for Kent County currently maintains a 3.7 GPA as a junior at Caesar Rodney High School. She is an accomplished athlete who plays on three soccer teams throughout the year—her high school varsity team, a year-round Club team, and the state team. She has competed in 7 state championships and her club team won the state championship in 2006. She also won the Fair Play Award in 2006, and played on the 2nd team All Conference representing Caesar Rodney. In addition to athletics, this year’s winner also values her studies, as she balances sports, schoolwork, and community service. She is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, and has coached soccer to mentally challenged children for three years. Described by her teacher as a ‘pleasant and caring young lady, who represents society uniquely,’ she hopes to study marketing at Goldy-Beacom College in 2010. This year’s winner for Kent County in the category of Athletics is Daniele Salas.

The winner of this year’s Athletics award for Sussex County is a gifted student athlete and artist who attends Seaford High School where he maintains an “A” average while studying Spanish, and clearly understands the importance of his language and Mexican heritage. As a very humble and modest athlete, this year’s winner excels in Soccer, and plays on the Varsity Squad of the Seaford Senior High School Soccer Team. He was named First Team All-Conference for the Henlopen Conference, and was also recognized as Third Team All-State. Outside of school, he also plays soccer with both the Hispanic League in Seaford and River Soccer Club in Roxana, Delaware. In addition to being a gifted athlete, this year’s winner is also a talented musician. He currently plays the keyboard in his uncle’s band, which travels all over the east coast playing regional Mexican music. A big round of applause for this year’s winner of the Athletics award for Sussex County: Oscar Castrejon.

ARTS

This winner of this year’s Award for New Castle County in the category of the Arts is currently a senior at Thomas McKean High School. She has been described by her teacher as a talented and creative artist that uses different media and techniques to attract viewers’ attention to her incredible creations. Her Art Teacher described her as an artist who is comfortable using color, has excellent painting skills, works at creating interesting compositions and accepts criticism gracefully. She has already been accepted to Goldy-Beacom College and will major in Business and minor in Art in the fall of 2009. In 2008 she received an award for her works that were exhibited in the Red Clay School District Art Show at the Delaware Art Museum. Her creations have also been displayed in the Hispanic Newspaper that she and her peers started at Thomas McKean High School. This year’s winner of the Arts Award for New Castle County is Rosa Luna.

Our winner in the category of the Arts for Kent County this year is currently a sophomore at Dover High School, where she maintains a GPA of 4.0. She is described as “a caring and loving individual that always provides support and help to friends and peers” and has excelled in arts from a very early age. From her performance earlier in the program, you already know how talented she is. This past year, she served as the co-captain of her high school dance team and as a member of the Pom Squad. She even had the opportunity to choreograph dances for her teams that were performed at high school sporting events. In addition to dancing, she also plays the flute and guitar, and holds the highest seat in the wind ensemble for her high school band. Our winner also implements her artistic influence in her service work by being a mentor and teaching dance classes on the weekends to younger students. She is certified as a referee in the State of Delaware and referees local soccer matches – when she’s not busy playing soccer herself! She serves on the student council, has participated in state-wide spelling bees and recently received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence! It is easy to see why Rebeka Pyne is this year’s winner for Kent County in the category of the Arts.

Our second winner of this year’s Arts Award for Kent County is a senior at Polytech High School, and is currently ranked in the top 10 percent of her class with a cumulative GPA of 3.62. She was described by her drama director as “a director’s dream” and “one of the most humble, beautiful young ladies you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.” She has taken A.P. English and is involved with the National Honor Society, and her involvement in the Arts has been extensive; not only does she act, dance and sing in high school plays, she has competed in acting conventions, received second place for a dramatic reading of a poem and won an award for best actress at the Delaware State High School Drama Competition. She also participates in a salsa class at her school and has been invited to perform with the Polytech Alumni Drama Club over the summer. She placed third in singing at the Actors, Model & Talent Competition at the AMTC Convention in Florida, and hopes to one day major in theater arts at New York University. This year’s winner of the Arts Award for Kent County is Julianne Morris.

The winner of this year’s Arts award for Sussex County is currently a junior at Cape Henlopen High School. Always eager to help others who want to learn Spanish, she currently serves as President of the Hispanic Club and displays leadership qualities in the classroom as well. Praised for her penmanship and creative artwork, she is also known to be a fantastic cook, preparing delicious dishes which she shares with her classmates. Things weren’t always so good, though. This year’s winner lived with her grandmother in Mexico while her mother worked away from the family to support them. She arrived in the U.S. just 2 years ago, without having learned to speak English. The combined challenge of the language barrier and adapting to life in a new country was a difficult obstacle to overcome, yet she has adapted to these new changes, excelled in her schoolwork and even made the honor roll. This year’s winner of the Arts Award for Sussex County: Maria Vasquez.

SCIENCE MATH & TECHNOLOGY

Currently finishing her senior year at St Elizabeth’s, this year’s winner for New Castle County in the category of Math, Science and Technology, is a passionate intellectual, National Honor Society member and National French Bronze Medal Recipient. She has excelled inside and outside the classroom, both as a student and a leader, and inspires both staff and students to reach their maximum potential. With a GPA of 3.67 and a grueling academic schedule including 5 AP classes, this year’s winner still has time to be a leader on the cheerleading and dance teams, as well as to run varsity track. She has an overwhelming desire to serve others and enrich their lives by volunteering in the community with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. This year’s winner is aware of the need to improve healthcare for the Hispanic community and wants to become a cardiologist. The wisdom and perseverance this year’s winner needed to overcome these challenges will be the pillars of strength that will allow her to be the first in her family to attend college and to flourish at the university level. This year’s winner for New Castle County in the category of Science, Math and Technology: Ivania Bautista.

The winner of the Science, Math and Technology Award for Sussex County is currently a junior at Sussex Technical High School and has a passion for solving problems. His psychology teacher says he “wow’d” her with his creativity, inquisitive nature, and level of intellect, and his final exam performance in psychology was one of the highest grades of all students enrolled during the semester. He also excelled in his physics course, where he even outscored students in twelfth grade. His capacity to make real world connections between the technical field, carpentry and physics earned him the recommendation of his physics instructor to enroll in summer engineering courses at the University of Delaware. An Honor Roll Student for the past year, and member of the Spanish Honor Society, his future goal is to study aerospace engineering or pursue a major that involves science and math. Inspired by his father and Einstein, his dream is to accomplish great things while helping others. This year’s winner in the category of Science, Math & Technology for Sussex County: Benedict Pineyro.

OUTSTANDING STUDENT OF THE YEAR

This winner of the Male Outstanding Hispanic Student of the Year award for Middle School is currently a 7th grader at Sanford School. He has earned a cumulative GPA of 4.0, and scored in top 98% of the state on the standardized ERB test. Not only does this student excel academically, but athletically as well, playing on his school’s soccer and basketball teams. Last year, he played soccer with a traveling team in Delaware that won first place in a soccer tournament. Aside from his athletic abilities, he also enjoys playing the guitar. He loves music and has been taking guitar lessons for the past 2 years, though taught himself to play songs from his favorite Spanish-language artist, Juanes. This year’s winner also enjoys participating in several volunteer opportunities with his school and has volunteered at several nursing homes and homeless shelters. He has proven to be a very outgoing young man who loves to study, play sports and serve the community. This year’s winner of the Male Outstanding Hispanic Student of the Year Award for Middle School is Bryan McLellan-Aquinaga.

Our winner of the Outstanding Female Hispanic Student of the Year award for Middle School is currently an 8th grader at the Gauger-Cobbs Middle School. She has earned a GPA of 4.0 and recently received the Ferguson Award based on her DTSP test scores. In addition, she serves as president of the Business Professionals of America Club at her school and has been granted membership in the Junior National Honor Society. She is also a dynamic member of the Peer Mediation/Peer Leadership program, and in her free time enjoys swimming and tutoring. Her goal is to attend college and pursue a career in medicine, business or law. Last year, while in the 7th grade, she participated in a Spreadsheet Competition for the Business Professionals of America, and, competing at the state level, won 2nd place. She was then invited to the Business Professionals National competition, held in Reno, Nevada, and came in 1st in the nation! This year, she will be competing in the Website Design Competition. Her instructors are confident that with such skill and determination, she will continue to excel in whatever she does. This year’s winner of the Outstanding Female Hispanic Student of the Year Award for Middle School is Martha Lopez.

This year’s winner of the Female Outstanding Hispanic Student of the Year award for High School is currently a senior at Christiana High School, is ranked first in her class of 251 students, and has earned a cumulative GPA of 4.6. She has been described by one of her instructors as ‘my most talented student’ has taken eight Advanced Placement courses, and has been accepted into the Honors Program at the University of Delaware. This student excels both academically and athletically, serving as co-captain of her volleyball and tennis teams this year, and has lettered in both since her sophomore year. She has served as sentinel for the Future Farmers of America for the past two years, is this year’s vice president, and has won the following state-level contests: the silver award in dairy; the gold award in floriculture; and first place in landscape. On the national level, she has also been awarded the silver in dairy, gold in floriculture and gold in landscape. She attended the Governor’s School for Excellence, and was one of only two representatives from the state of Delaware to participate in the Constitution program in 2007. In addition, she has been a member of the National Honor Society for the past three and has volunteered her time at Little Sisters of the Poor and the University of Delaware. This year’s award for Outstanding Female Hispanic Student of the Year for High School goes to Angelica Montes.

This year’s winner for Male Outstanding Hispanic Student of the Year for High School is currently a junior at Cab Calloway High School, where he maintains a current GPA of 4.421. Described as a “natural leader and the best his generation has to offer” this young man excels in everything he does, has already been recruited by top universities (including Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania) for his excellence in academics and football. Aside from his success in the classroom, which includes maintaining A’s in several AP and Honors courses, he has lettered in football, lacrosse and wrestling. A member of the Blue Hen 1st Team All-conference for football, he has placed first in the 189 lb weight class at the Blue Hen Conference Wrestling Tournament, is captain of the football and lacrosse teams and serves as Student Body Vice-President. In addition to his academic and athletic awards, he has also been recognized for his work in cinematography and is an active volunteer in his community. Please welcome this year’s Outstanding Male Hispanic Student of the Year for High School: Andrew Zaldivar.