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Univisión Contest: ‘Quinceañera: Un sueño cumplido’ - ‘Sweet 15: A Dream Achieved’

This past week, I had the honor of witnessing students’ dreams come true. In collaboration with Univision, ACT connected with students and their families at a scholarship ceremony to provide the financial assistance needed to help them realize their postsecondary dreams and make college-going a reality.

For the last four years, I have been leading the ACT and Univision partnership. At a meeting in Washington, DC, in August, I was informed of a developing reality show for Latinas aged 14 to 15 years old. I immediately became interested in making sure we could connect the great work ACT is doing to help ALL students succeed with the show. As a Latino, former ELL student and advocate for removing barriers faced by students, I brought the idea back to ACT leadership, who supported it immediately.

In September 2018, ACT joined Univision, the leading Hispanic media company in the US, in a contest to invite 14-and 15-year-old girls to apply and participate in an eight-week “reality show.” Contestants competed for two scholarships: One from the Univision Foundation for $50,000 and a second scholarship provided by ACT worth $25,000. Third place would win a destination trip.

The purpose of the contest was simple—to inspire girls to apply and showcase their academic skills. To qualify, the students had to have a minimum GPA of 3.5, write a brief essay about why they deserved to be selected, and speak about role models that have inspired them along the way. As the first show of its kind, it attracted 700 applicants, from which 10 participants were selected. The semifinalists were paired with mentors, representing many fields of study and various industries.

The contestants were narrowed down to three well-deserving students, who would have to complete a final challenge to win the final prize!

The student finalists were: Yesenia Habif, a New Yorker who aspires to make a career in business/entrepreneurship; Yenisse Sevilla, also from New York, who aspires to become a lawyer practicing family law; and Vanessa Cruz, from California, who would like to become a veterinarian.

Yenisse Sevilla’s aspirations to practice family law are especially heartwarming, given her life experiences. She was born while her dad was in prison. With her father later deported, she was separated from him and only 12 years old when he died.

ACT’s own Suzana Delanghe, chief commercial officer, volunteered her time as a virtual mentor for the three finalists, providing inspirational advice and support as the girls embarked on their final quest to obtain a scholarship!

“I’m humbled to have helped open the doors of education for dedicated young people whose determination to succeed is a gift that will take them to places beyond their dreams,” said Delanghe. “Being a mentor to these young women brought me back to a time in my life when I too struggled with socioeconomic disparity and staying true to my cultural roots, while pursuing the exciting path I knew the world had in store for me. I hope I inspired them to champion the competence, grit, and value of hard work that pushed me to pursue a better life for myself. They certainly inspired me to keep opening the doors of opportunity to more students through my work at ACT.”

After hearing the contestant’s stories, the winners were selected. Yesenia Hanif took first place, earning a $50,000 scholarship from the Univision Foundation, Yenisse Sevilla took second place, and a $25,000 scholarship from ACT, presented by me, and Vanessa Cruz took third place, winning a destination trip.

Everyone was crying tears of joy—including myself—to see families facing so many struggles be so moved by the generosity of the scholarships, but also the hard work of their students being recognized.

A surprise took place, when the VP of Education for Apple, John Couch, told Yenisse Sevilla that he would match ACT’s scholarship so she could also have $50,000 to pursue her postsecondary dreams. It was an amazing experience!

We look forward to our continued collaboration with Univision, as we remain committed to empowering and changing students’ lives!

About Univision

Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) is the leading media company serving Hispanic America. The Company, a chief content creator in the U.S., includes Univision Network, one of the top networks in the U.S. regardless of language and the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast television network in the country, available in approximately 88% of U.S. Hispanic television households; UniMás, a leading Spanish-language broadcast television network available in approximately 82% of U.S. Hispanic television households; Univision Cable Networks, including Galavisión, the most watched U.S. Spanish-language entertainment cable network, as well as UDN (Univision Deportes Network), the most watched U.S. Spanish-language sports cable network, Univision telenovelas, a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network dedicated to telenovelas, ForoTV, a 24-hour Spanish-language cable network dedicated to international news, and an additional suite of cable offerings - De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson and Telehit; an investment in El Rey Network, a general entertainment English-language cable network; Univision Local Media, which owns and/or operates 63 television stations and 58 radio stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico; Univision Now, a direct-to-consumer, on demand and live streaming subscription service;, the most-visited Spanish-language website among U.S. Hispanics; and Uforia, a music application featuring multimedia music content. The Company also includes assets that serve young, diverse audiences. This includes news and lifestyle English-language cable network FUSION TV and a collection of leading digital brands that span a range of categories: technology (Gizmodo), sports (Deadspin), lifestyle (Lifehacker), modern women’s interests (Jezebel), news and politics (Splinter), African American news and culture (The Root), gaming (Kotaku), Environment (Earther), and car culture (Jalopnik). Additionally, UCI has ownership in comedy and news satire brands The Onion, Clickhole, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Headquartered in New York City, UCI has content creation facilities and sales offices in major cities throughout the United States. For more information, please visit

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.

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