HOUSTON, June 26 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) announced that Carlos Blanco, 18, of Houston, Texas, has won the “Destino: Latinoamerica” (“Destination: Latin America”) essay contest for Hispanic high school students.
Blanco, a May 2008 graduate of YES Prep School – Southeast in Houston, highlighted the influence of Latin America on his own life in his winning essay, “The Manifestation of Culture.”
“I love our music, our food, our films and our unspoken bond that unites us,” Blanco wrote. “Our united passion is what inspires me to live on as a young Latino destined to change the world.”
Blanco, the son of Bernardo Blanco, originally from Panama, and Rosantina Blanco, who is Mexican-American, won six Continental Airlines tickets to travel anywhere in the U.S. where Continental flies. In addition, his essay will be posted on the NAHP website, nahp.org, as well as published in many NAHP member newspapers around the U.S.
“Part of being Latino comes from family relationships. I chose this topic because my family gave me my roots and my culture,” Blanco said when he learned he had won. “My family has definitely played a great influence on who I am, and the culture plays a role in who we are as a community.”
“The judges had a difficult choice to make this year because the essays we received were especially heartfelt,” said Maria Cristina Osorio, Manager, Public Relations, Latin America and U.S. Hispanic, Continental Airlines. “Carlos just seemed to sum up the essence of Latin American culture with such pride and feeling.”
Blanco, who will attend Columbia University in New York next fall, plans to major in education and journalism. Active in the community, Blanco is working this summer with the Houston Votes organization that encourages Latino voter participation, as well as volunteering with the Latino Learning Center.
“The NAHP is committed to encouraging student expression through programs such as ‘Destino: Latinoamerica,'” said Clara Padilla, president, NAHP. “We are pleased to join Continental in providing a way to let heritage and stories of Latin America’s impact on U.S. life be heard.”
This was the second year for the “Destino” contest. Essay entries had to focus on some aspect of the influence of Latin America on U.S. life. Judges from Continental and the NAHP evaluated the essays for clarity of expression and originality.
Latin America and the Caribbean account for more than half of Continental Airlines’ international destinations. Continental offers service to 76 destinations in 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including nonstop service to 31 destinations in Mexico — more than any other airline. Continental also offers nonstop service to more Central American cities (10) than any other U.S. airline and serves nine South American destinations.
Continental offers a number of Spanish-language services, including bilingual flight attendants on many flights to Latin America; and bilingual airport personnel, reservations agents and signage. Spanish-language functions on the continental.com Web site include flight booking, check-in, seat selection, flight and gate information, and OnePass frequent flyer program enrollment. Passengers also may make reservations in Spanish at 1-800-537-9222. For more information, visit http://www.continental.com (http://www.continental.com/espanol) .
The National Association of Hispanic Publications, Inc. (NAHP, Inc.) is a nonprofit trade advocacy organization representing the leading Hispanic publications serving 41 markets in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with a combined circulation of over 14 million. NAHP was founded in 1982 as a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization (501-c-6) to promote Hispanic publications.