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Angeles County | Community News File / Los Angeles

High School Senior Receives Hispanic Heritage Youth Leadership Award

July 10, 1998

A Woodrow Wilson High School senior was honored as the Los Angeles recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Leadership Award at a ceremony at the Central Library on Thursday.

Gabriela Lira, 17, received $1,000 toward her education at Yale University, which she will be attending this fall, said Jerry Vukas, a spokesman for the Hispanic Heritage Award Foundation, which was created in 1986 to promote role models in the Latino community.

Lira received the award from actress Carmen Zapata, who is the president of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts.

"Being a Latina, my culture and roots are very important to me," Lira said. "I'm very proud to receive this award."

Lira took Advanced Placement classes in high school and participated in the Administration of Justice and Law magnet program. She plans to study law.

The award was also presented to four other Latino high school students in Miami, Denver, Phoenix and San Antonio, Vukas said. The awards program is funded by the Fannie Mae Foundation.

A $500 grant also was given by the Fannie Mae Foundation to a charity picked by the recipients. Lira picked the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she has worked as a volunteer for eight months.

A finalist will be picked next month from the five regional recipients to receive the National Youth Leadership Award at a September ceremony in Washington.

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