Ten Latino Youth Chosen for Chance to Win $10,000 in Education Essay...

Ten Latino Youth Chosen for Chance to Win $10,000 in Education Essay Contest

Finalists in DeVry University's Mi Gente Con Mente contest express value of education to themselves, their community


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Oakbrook Terrace, Ill–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–September 17, 2007–With voices as diverse as the Latino community itself, 10 youth from across the United States who wrote about the importance of higher education were selected as finalists in DeVry University’s Mi Gente Con Mente national essay contest. They will each receive $1,000 and compete for a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000 to be used toward a college education.

For the competition, Latino youth were asked to answer in 750 words or less the question: “What is the Value of a Higher Education and How is it Important to the Latino Community?” From hundreds of essays submitted on MiGente.com, one of the fastest growing social networking sites for Latinos, ten finalists were selected based on judges’ evaluations of essays’ message, emotional impact, poignancy, writing style and sentence structure. A final winner will be determined by public voting. Individuals can go to http://www.devry.migente.com from September 14 to midnight EDT on September 30 to vote for their favorite essay. The winner will be announced the week of October 8, 2007.

The ten finalists are: Denisse Castro of Chicago; Nora Flores of Whittier, Calif.; Amanda Gonzalez of Chicago; Nicholas Grimes of Jacksonville, Fla.; Raquel Herrera of Patchogue, N.Y.; Leilani Lafaurie of El Monte, Calif.; Viridiana Frias Loera of Covina, Calif.; Benjamin Marte of Woodside, N.Y.; Raymond Reyes of Davie, Fla.; and Alfonso Rogel of Addison, Ill.

“These essays are incredibly inspiring,” said David J. Pauldine, president of DeVry University. “These young adults write with eloquence and purpose when describing the value of education to themselves and their futures, as well as their families and communities. I encourage those interested in the minds and careers of today’s Latino youth to read these essays and vote for a winner.”

The finalists’ essays addressed diverse perspectives on higher education but all shared a similar theme, namely “Education is an investment in one’s self and that investment will always pay off in the long term” (from Reyes’s essay).

In their essays, some of the finalists focused on the practical applications of education: “In a world driven by technology and fundamental business skills, higher education needs to be more of an option for young Latinos” (Rogel). Others spoke of the self-fulfillment derived from education: “In my view, however, these benefits reach far beyond a better paycheck after graduation…Education is a wondrous process of growth, equipping individuals to meet the ever increasing societal challenges that present themselves day after day” (Marte).

One essayist wrote about the contributions Latinos bring to the education community: “Each day that we step foot on a college campus and give our uniquely Latino approach to problem solving… or our unique opinion in a debate… becomes an opportunity to share our gifts with the world” (Lafaurie).

Another focused on the success that comes to those who focus on education: “So when I am old…I will speak to my grandchildren of my accomplishments… and how it all starts with reading a book” (Castro).

Nearly all finalists addressed the strength and sacrifices of family and how it has enabled them to concentrate on their own education.

Grimes said, “I’ve always felt that it’s important to understand and appreciate those who’ve helped bring you this far in life. Had it not been for my grandparents’ journey here decades earlier, my own journey would not have been so easy.”

Gonzalez put it this way: “That is why our ancestors fought the hardships everyday of their lives so that we may see a brighter future tomorrow…We Latinos need to pay back our families, not with money, but with love, respect and knowledge to embrace and take charge of our future.”

Flores said, “I want to make my parents proud and let them know that the sacrifices they did for us, their children, were not in vain.”

Approximately 13 percent of DeVry University students nationwide are Latino. According to an annual survey by educational trade publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education of the “Top 100 Degree Producers” of bachelor’s degree graduates who are students of color, DeVry University is the leading producer of Hispanic graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in the field of Computer and Information Science and Support Services in the United States.

About DeVry University

As one of the largest degree-granting higher education systems in North America, DeVry University provides high-quality, career-oriented associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in technology, healthcare technology, business and management. More than 48,000 students are enrolled at its 87 locations in 25 states and Canada, as well as through DeVry University Online. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA). DeVry University, a division of DeVry Inc. (NYSE:DV), is based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. For more information about DeVry University, visit http://www.devry.edu.

About MiGente.com

MiGente.com, a Community Connect Inc. company, is a leading online niche social networking website for the Hispanic community. As the fastest growing online community targeting English-speaking Latinos with nearly one million unique visitors per month, those who share similar bi-cultural experiences are given a platform to meet one another and make their voices heard. MiGente.com’s content reflects members’ needs and interests, with dedicated pages for professional networking and dating. Additionally, the site provides a culturally rich environment bringing members the latest updates in news, music, politics, entertainment, style and much more. Migente.com’s proprietary technology platform provides members with the most user-friendly tools to connect with their community.

Ten Latino Youth Chosen for Chance to Win $10,000 in Education Essay Contest