Photo: Ricardo López J. / Impremedia
PHOENIX – Lidia Hernandez of Los Angeles had a day to remember Tuesday as she was named the national winner of the Premios Juventud awarded annually by the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to outstanding student-athletes from the United States.
“My mom was crying. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to, I had makeup on and I didn’t want it to come down,” Lidia said with a huge smile about the moment at the Phoenix Convention Center when she was named the winner of the award the 10 young finalistswho in turn were chosen from among 300 chosen from an original list of around 30,000 applicants.
“I was very excited, but most of all grateful,” added the young woman whose parents -Salvadoran and Mexican- immigrated to the country in search of “their American dream” and who have always encouraged her in her education.
The student at Francisco Bravo Medical High School, located in East Los Angeles, has been bowling for 13 years now, having started at the young age of 4. following in the footsteps of his father and other relatives who were participating in a local tournament. His average per game or line is 180 and his best mark was an impressive 275.
When Lidia reached high school and began training track and field, she found similarities between bowling and shot put, or ‘shot put’ as it is called in English. “The shot is 8 pounds and when I bowl the ball is 14 pounds,” says Lidia, who comments that she even bowls to prepare for the shot put.
“Lidia is an incredible woman,” said Marissa Solis, the NFL’s global vice president of marketing. “She was the first woman and the first Latina in her school to get into the sport of shot put.. He won against the men. It’s a man’s world, but as a Latina woman she pulled through. But what makes me most proud is that she is now the coach of her junior varsity shot put team.”
The young woman says that she is recruiting girls to practice the shot put.
Lidia Hernández, committed to her community and on her way to USC
In addition to her sports and her studies (she graduated with a 3,989 GPA), Lidia is very active in her community. She has volunteered to help at events with the Plaza de La Raza organization for Hispanic youth in Los Angeles, she has been a volunteer assistant teacher at a local elementary school, and is an intern at an organization that helps clean the streets of Los Angeles. THE
Lidia said that the scholarship she has won will help her for her studies at the University of Southern California (USC).who recently admitted it.
“It is a school that is very difficult to enter and I never thought it was possible… this scholarship is going to help me pay for my school. It is money that is going to help me with my education”, shared Lidia, who will study Business.
The Premios Juventud in the Sports and Fitness category recognize students who are involved in sports, are physically active, or plan to pursue a career in those fields. To be considered, participating youth must be committed to academic excellence, show leadership, and demonstrate sportsmanship on and off the field.
In addition to Lidia Hernández, the other nine young finalists this year who also won a scholarship were Alexander García-Silver, from Oregon; Christopher Mendez Ulloa, from North Carolina; Dylan Hooshi, from New York; Isabella Lugo, from Virginia; Jagger Summa, from Texas; Julia Smith-Silver, from Arizona; Lily White, from Michigan; Lucas Mous, from Florida, and Ramón Rosado, from Puerto Rico.
“It is very important for the NFL, in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, to recognize all that these students have done, but also to award them the scholarships to help them succeed in their studies and in sports in the future,” he added. Solis, the NFL executive.