Two Borderland high-schoolers honored by National Hispanic Heritage Foundation

National Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awardees (LEFT: El Pasoan Ryan James Solis | RIGHT: Catalina Rafaela Sanchez-Maes)

An El Paso high school student and a Las Cruces high school student were both honored by the National Hispanic Heritage Foundation at an event in Washington D.C., on Wednesday.

Ryan James Solis of Eastwood High School in El Paso and Catalina Rafaela Sanchez-Maes of Arrowhead Park Early College High School in Las Cruces won separate honors for Community Service and Technology, respectively.

Sanchez-Maes was exposed to computer science at an early age and has dedicated her education to the subject. Aside from creating a STEM day and interning for the Air Force Research Lab, she founded her own after-school program for girls.

The program, Future ITGirls, teaches girls in third through fifth grades about computer science.

Solis has accumulated over 470 hours of community service, including serving on the El Paso Chamber of Commerce. He is an active participant in over 20 extracurricular clubs and organizations, including holding office in many of them.

He previously won the 11th Annual Disney Dreamer Award, among others, but credits his success to the positive influence of his single mother and extended family.

The National Hispanic Heritage Foundation honored Cynthia Solis for her influence on her son with their national Parent Award.

The seven National Youth Awardees were selected from more than 200 Regional Award-winners and more than 10,000 applicants. Students were chosen for their leadership in the classroom and community and for their focus on the categories. The recipients boast high GPA's along with countless hours of community service.

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