Mathew is an outstanding student who excels in honors and advanced placement classes at the high school, maintaining a GPA greater than 4.0. He also competes on the varsity swim team and will serve as the varsity wrestling team captain this coming school year. In addition, Matthew has completed more than 160 hours of community service at Santa Paula Medical Clinic and Vista Cove Care Center and is co-founder of Junior State of America, a nonpartisan political organization for students at Santa Paula High School. Matthew is an exceptional youth who serves as a strong role model for his peers and is truly deserving of this year’s Youth Award.
Elizabeth Magallanes is another exceptional youth with a very different story. Elizabeth was not always a great student and has endured many personal challenges. However, she has pushed herself to overcome those obstacles and is recognized for her great improvement in school and commitment to community service. Elizabeth is starting her junior year at Santa Paula High School. She participates on the volleyball team, takes additional courses at Ventura College, and has a strong leadership role in her church youth program where the youth advisor, Maria Rivas, describes her as “a young lady who has really made an impact in other people’s lives due to her kind heart, good works, and warm smiles; the kind of person that will do what ever it takes to help others.” Just a few examples of Elizabeth’s service to the community include volunteering at Glen City Elementary School as an after-school tutor and for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She also volunteers for the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC). In one special act of kindness, Elizabeth encountered a homeless, disabled man in the Vons parking lot and worked hard during the winter holiday to collect and recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles to raise money to help him and his family. For her exception kindness, personal resilience, and outstanding service to the community, Santa Paula Latino Town Hall is pleased to present a 2014 Youth Award to Elizabeth Magallanes.
Cultural Arts Award:
This year’s Cultural Arts Award will honor Mr. Henry Nava, one of the preeminent saxophone artists in Ventura County. For more than seventy years, Mr. Nava has dedicated his life to music. Growing up poor in 1930’s Santa Paula from humble beginnings with fellow saxophone player Danny Flores (of “tequila” fame), Henry Nava has never lost site of his cultural background. He has established a legacy and reputation for artistic creativity while earning respect from fellow musicians for his equally appreciated and gentle human nature. His talent and stature within the music industry throughout Southern California have helped to put the City of Santa Paula on the map as home to several distinguished musical artists.
Earning a spot and serving his country in the prestigious United States Marine Corp Band during the height of the Korean War, Mr. Nava marched in military parades and performed for countless dance-crazed U.S. serviceman. Even at age 83, he continues to blow his tenor sax several hours each evening.
For his accomplishments in music and contributions to the cultural arts scene in Santa Paula, the Santa Paula Latino Town Hall is proud to honor Mr. Henry Nava with this year’s Cultural Arts Award.
This year’s Sports Award will be presented to Santa Paula High School graduate Felicia Magana. Ms. Magana graduated this past June and was a three-sport athlete with all league honors in basketball, softball, and volleyball. She was selected for All CIF for basketball as a junior and then last year, in her senior year, she was selected by the league as league MVP in girls basketball. Felicia was recently inducted into the Ventura County Hall of Fame and will be playing next year for the State Championship Team Ventura College Pirates.
Elizabeth Garcia, principal of Santa Paula High School, reports that “Felicia is an outstanding student and student leader. She is persistent, motivated and an outstanding role model for other young athletes. She plays hard and has excellent sportsmanship at all times!”
For her outstanding talents in basketball, softball and volleyball and her continued influence as a positive role model to other youth, Santa Paula Latino Town Hall is pleased to present the 2014 Sports Award to Ms. Felicia Magana.
Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award:
This year’s Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award is being bestowed upon Mr. Frank Osuna who has dedicated more than 50 years of his life in service of others as a result of his own outstanding work ethic, compassion, and self-motivation. Mr. Osuna has volunteered his time to provide guidance to jailed inmates through the Jail Ministry and has spent countless hours over more than 20 years visiting the elderly at a local convalescent hospital to help organize activities and boost morale. He served as the volunteer driver for his church Sunday school bus for more than 30 years, has been a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for more than 50 years, and is a member of the rifle squad that honors our service men and women at their funerals.
Mr. Osuna is an excellent role model for people of all ages and an outstanding citizen of Santa Paula. His compassion for others and the countless hours he has contributed to serving our community over his life time have made Mr. Frank Osuna truly deserving of the 2014 Latino Town Hall Raymond Garcia Humanitarian Award.
In addition to the 2014 Latino Town Hall Awards recipients, Santa Paula Latino Town Hall also awarded $1000 scholarships to Santa Paula High School graduating seniors Andrea Fernandez and Karina Olivares, and Renaissance High School graduating seniors Anays Magana and Venessa Gutierrez last June.
Santa Paula Latino Town Hall is a 501c3 non-profit, community-benefit organization. It’s Youth Engagement and Empowerment Initiative fosters partnerships between local community groups and agencies, the local school district, community colleges, and universities to provide Santa Paula youth with opportunities to learn about higher education and various careers pathways, and to gain valuable mentorship and internship experiences. In addition to the Youth Engagement and Empowerment Initiative, Santa Paula Latino Town Hall organizes additional community-building activities that impact the social, cultural, and economic life of the city by addressing issues such as crime, cultural awareness, business development, revitalization, employment, housing, and education. To learn more about Santa Paula Latino Town Hall or become a member, visit SP-LTH.org.
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