November 18, 2010
Eight Chicago Public Schools high school students were recognized and awarded prizes ranging from college scholarships to laptop computers and digital cameras for essays they authored as part of the District’s Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Competition.
Essays centered on the topic: “The motto of the United Farm Workers, founded by Latino leader and non-violent activist Cesar Chavez, is ‘Sí, se puede!’ (Yes, it can be done!). What does this motto mean to you personally and what person of Hispanic descent, in your opinion, most exemplifies these words?”
Winners were recognized Wednesday at a banquet at North-Grand High School, which was emceed by Thomas Johnson, Assistant Chicago City Treasurer.
Grand prize winners were:
- 9th grade, Maddie Wagner Sherer, Whitney Young Magnet High School
- 10th grade, Juan Castrejon, Edwin G. Foreman High School
- 11th grade, Scarlett Moya, William Howard Taft High School
- 12th grade, Daisy Velasco, William Howard Taft High School
Each grand prize winner was awarded a laptop computer and printer, plus a $5,000 scholarship to Roosevelt University. In addition, the 12th grade winner received a $1,000 College Expense Fund Award, to be used toward college expenses.
Second place winners were:
- 9th grade, Alejandro Llamas, George Washington High School
- 10th grade, Yesenia Catalan, George Washington High School
- 11th grade, Ana Patricia Juarez, Lincoln Park High School
- 12th grade, Beatriz Lebron, North-Grand High School
Each second place winner received a digital camera and printer.
Cash prizes totaling $500 for teacher/staff professional development were awarded to Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Spry Community Links, Lincoln Park and Eric Solorio Academy High Schools for submitting the highest percentage of essays in relation to their overall high school enrollment.
Teachers who monitored the prize-winning students each received a $100 gift card.
An ethnic meal was served, grand prize winners read their essays and there was a special performance by the Mosaico student dancers of Latin Street Dancing, Inc.
The essay competition was open to all CPS 9th-through-12th graders. Students from 37 high schools submitted more than 3,500 essays. Selection of grand and second place prize winners was performed by judges from the sponsors -- Roosevelt University, American Bottling Company and the Office of the Chicago City Treasurer -- and Chicago Public Schools.
The Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Competition annually creates awareness of noteworthy events and persons in Hispanic history and present day and offers prizes for the winning students and their schools. A similar essay competition will take place in February 2011 in honor of Black History Month.
Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.