I was excited to learn that the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities awarded the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) to the City of San Fernando's Mariachi Master Apprentice Program. The Award is an honor given annually to 12 after-school programs in the entire U.S. and is the nation's highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people. The awardees, who range in age from 10 to 18, are the only Southern California winners of the 2012 Award.
Growing up as a 4th-generation Mexican American in Los Angeles, I proudly embraced my heritage as a Latino, Angelino and American. I believed in the possibility of everything. I believed that we should all dream big, that we are all agents of our own destiny. The arts always held a special place in my heart. The arts inspire dreams and feed the soul. I also understood that education was an absolute must, providing the tools to achieve your dreams. Programs like the City of San Fernando's Mariachi Master Apprentice Program bridge both.
Fox is the official media partner of the NAHYP Awards and I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with these exceptionally talented U.S. Latino youth artists, who recently performed for First Lady Michelle Obama in a private ceremony at the White House.
We shared our personal stories and our dreams. Hearing both the greatness and diversity of their dreams, appreciating their limitless potential and watching their inspiring performance; I was filled with great pride and hope as a Latino, as an Angelino and American.
These young Latino artists are the New Face of America and leadership for our world. During my visit with them, I saw the very young faces who will be the next President of the United States, the next Supreme Court Justice, the next Steve Jobs, the next Mozart, and the next Einstein.
Programs like the City of San Fernando's Mariachi Master Apprentice Program, children like the young student artists who I met, deserve the recognition and support of all Americans. I say congratulations and thank you to all these programs and children, who will help achieve the dream of a better and stronger America and world for all of us.
To learn more about the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program and apply for the 2014 NAHYP Awards, please visit: http://www.nahyp.org/how-to-apply/. The deadline for application submissions is Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 5 p.m. PST.