HOUSTON, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and the Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund announce that Yajaira De La Espada, 21, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., won first place in the "Destino: Latinoamerica" (Destination: Latin America) essay/video contest for Hispanic college students.
De La Espada, a senior psychology major at the University of Texas at San Antonio, produced a three-minute video depicting the influence of Latin Americans in politics, science, sports and entertainment.
"I believe that Latin America has a huge impact on American culture and as the years go by, the impact will increase beyond belief," De La Espada said. "We cannot deny the fact that the lines between Latin America and the U.S. have blended."De La Espada won four airline tickets courtesy of Continental Airlines for travel to any destination where Continental flies in the U.S., Mexico or Central America. In addition, her video is posted on the Adelante! Fund Web site, www.Adelante! fund.org, and the Adelante! YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/AdelanteFund#p/a/u/0/7d2tKM4GSdQ "Destino: Latinoamerica helps makes a connection between today's Latino college students and their Latin American roots," said Maria Cristina Osorio, manager of public relations for Latin America and the U.S. Latino market for Continental Airlines. "We are pleased to work with Adelante! as they prepare Hispanics for leadership positions in a multicultural society." Participants had to write a short essay or produce a three-minute video on Latin America's impact on U.S. culture. In addition to the Destino contest, Continental also provided tickets for several Adelante! scholarship winners to attend the annual Leadership Institute. "Adelante! is proud to partner with Continental Airlines for the Destino: Latinoamerica essay/video contest for the second year in a row," said Daniel Valenzuela, interim executive director, Adelante! "Continental's involvement furthers Adelante!'s mission and gives our students an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge of their cultural roots." Latin America and the Caribbean have long interested De La Espada; her father is originally from Panama, and her mother's family is from Puerto Rico. She has traveled to Panama numerous times and plans to use the tickets she won to visit her mother's family in Puerto Rico for the first time. Second-place winner Nicole Vega, a biology and zoology major at Washington State University, wrote an essay for the contest. Vega plans to attend veterinary school and travel to Latin America to help curb stray-animal populations in low-income areas. "The opportunity to travel to Latin America and experience various cultures will broaden my understanding of the world, making me into a well-rounded professional," Vega said. Latin America and the Caribbean compose more than half of Continental Airlines' international destinations. The airline offers nonstop service to 72 destinations in 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Continental flies to more destinations in Mexico (30) from the U.S. and has more flights from the U.S. to Mexico than any other airline. In addition, Continental serves 10 cities in Central America and seven in South America. The airline offers bilingual flight attendants on many flights to Latin America; bilingual airport personnel, reservations agents and signage, and a Spanish-language Web site (continental.com/espanol). The Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund, a national nonprofit organization based in San Antonio, Texas, was established in 1993. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and the Miller Brewing Company are the founding organizations of the Adelante! Fund, whose mission is to inspire Hispanic students to graduate and lead through scholarship, internship, and leadership training. Since its designation as a 501(c) 3 organization in 1997, the Adelante! Fund has awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships to Hispanic undergraduate students across the nation, and has provided career development, leadership training and internship opportunities to hundreds of promising young Hispanic college students. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.Adelantefund.org or contact Daniel Valenzuela, Interim Executive Director, at 210-692-1971 or dvalenzuela@Adelantefund.org. SOURCE Continental Airlines