A Cape Coral high school student was recently selected out of 13,000 students for a national award.
Alejandra Baptista, 18, received the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's 20th Annual National Youth Award. For 20 years, the HHF has recognized Latino high school seniors for exceptional work in the classroom and in the community.
Last summer, Baptista took part in a journalism class at Harvard University. She also started her high school newspaper and is working as its editor.
Also, Baptista has her own eSports team.
“I learned so much about what journalism does and how it can help the general public and really the impact of journalism as a whole,” Baptista said. “So, that’s when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do in the future.”
Baptista was born in Venezuela where her parents were both journalists. The increasing censorship and risk of persecution by the Hugo Chavez regime made them seek asylum in the U.S.
“Leaving their jobs as professionals in Venezuela to move to the United States and start over at zero just so I can have a better future,” Baptista said. “So, me being able to do these kinds of things and show that I’m working hard and making a positive impact means a lot to me.”
Baptista received the award earlier this month in the Media and Entertainment category. She said the experience has already been meaningful.
“I’ve met people that I’ve been admiring for a really long time,” Baptista said. “I was really able to express myself in what I want to do as a journalist. Then, I met other kids that have the same desire to change the world like me.”
Baptista has submitted college applications to 14 different schools, including Brown, Georgetown and New York University. She says she dreams of starting her own magazine and continuing to make a positive impact on the world around her.