ORLANDO, Fla. - Congratulations are in order for five Central Florida students selected to receive this year’s Florida Puerto Rican Parade scholarships.
The five $2,000 scholarships are made possible by WFTV Channel 9.
Each of the students were chosen because of their academic and leadership success in the community. Keep reading to meet each of this year’s winners:
Allen Omar Torres Melendez, 17, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico by his mother and maternal grandparents.
A year and 5 months ago, Allen moved with his family to Orlando after Hurricane Maria devastated his home country. Allen is now finishing out his senior year at Freedom High School.
After graduation, Allen said he plans to study audiovisual communications at Valencia College.
Bernice Giovanna Sanabria, 26, was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and moved to Orlando at age 6.
Bernice graduated from Colonial High School in 2010 and currently attends Valencia College.
Bernice said she plans to apply to the school’s nursing program this summer, with the goal of eventually working the a neonatal intensive care unit.
When she graduates, Bernice will be the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Liam Castillo-Soto, 18, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and relocated to Central Florida with his family at 8 months old.
He is currently a senior at Timber Creek High School.
Timber Creek is where Liam said he discovered his passion for film production. Liam said he plans to use that passion to pursue a degree in cinematography and filmmaking through the DirectConnect program first at Valencia College and then at the University of Central Florida.
Derek Pellot Perez, 17, is a senior at Boone High School.
When he graduates this year, he said he plans to major in zoology and also study marine biology at the University of Central Florida. Derek said he has a passion for animals and wants to help them as much as he can.
Derek said the Puerto Rican community is important to him because it represents this culture and roots.
Derick Jovan Ortiz Torres grew up in Puerto Rico and only moved to Central Florida recently.
Derick said he will attend Valencia College in the fall to study biotechnology.
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