Bartlett High School student Nayeli Manzano was among two Elgin Area Unit District 46 students recently honored with a Reflejos Reflecting Excellence Awards. She, along with Elgin High School student Ernesto Gomez, was recognized for demonstrating outstanding leadership skills in the Latino community.
"U-46 has some amazing Latino students who are already flourishing as leaders at a young age," Superintendent Josť M. Torres said. "Nayeli and Ernesto should be commended for their impressive work ethic, compassion, and outstanding efforts to improve the world around them."
Nayeli came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 4. She has fought for immigration reform through her work with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and shared her personal story with Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Last year, she helped organize hundreds of people in Chicago for DREAM Relief Day. Nayeli plans to study journalism at the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in Chicago.
Ernesto volunteered 150 hours with the city of Elgin's Kids United Program, which provides children with a safe, fun learning environment over the summer. Ernesto was a participant in the program as a child and returned as a volunteer. Staff recognized Ernesto as someone who would go the extra mile to identify when kids needed an activity or additional attention.
In total, nine U-46 students were nominated and will be included as the inaugural members of the newly created Reflejos Excellence Latino Student Leadership Hall of Fame, which will be posted in the monthly Educational Section of Reflejos.
Other U-46 students nominated were: Anna Ramos and Miguel Garcia, Bartlett High School; Luis Garcia and Brenda Vasquez Rangel, Larkin High School; Juan Acuna, Jennifer Arroyo, and Leticia Ceron, Streamwood High School.