From March 21-23, 2015, over 200 Hispanic students from high schools across New York State traveled to Albany to participate in the 25th Annual Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute (PR/HYLI). The purpose of this Institute is to develop an in-depth knowledge of the New York State legislative process and develop leadership skills of Latino/Hispanic Youth.

00015.MTS.Still001Siena College hosted the 2015 PR/HYLI team building activities during day one of this year’s Institute where student delegates participated in activities focusing on leadership. Welcoming remarks were given by Questar III Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Superintendent Gladys I. Cruz, Regent Betty A. Rosa and Angélica Infante-Green, Associate Commissioner of the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages at the New York State Education Department. Author and motivational speaker Wes Moore was the keynote speaker.

During the Institute the student 00024.MTS.Still001delegates took a firsthand look at the state legislative process and participated in a Mock Assembly debating actual bills that reflect key issues in their communities. These bills included: A00797 – to establish the office of law enforcement professional standards and policies regarding stop-and-frisk searches; A00329– to provide incentives for bilingual education in elementary school and college students wishing to become foreign language teachers; and A00255 – requiring school districts to establish a language assistance program for limited English proficient parents of students

The leadership program continues the work of the late Angelo Del Toro, a member of the New York State Assembly who died in 1994. Del Toro was influential in helping Hispanic youth understand their civic duty and encouraging them to give back to their communities.

00024.MTS.Still002“This leadership program provides students with a unique opportunity to understand the inner workings of New York State government,” said COO and Deputy Superintendent Gladys Cruz. “This event really changes the students – it transforms them! They become more civically and politically minded.”

This year, nearly $38,000 in scholarships was awarded to 37 students from across the state:

  • Lilia Escobedo
  • Rosangelica Montalban
  • Alexandra Betancourt-Perez
  • Jonathan Adorno
  • Yakaira Cabral
  • Libia Sanchez
  • Bridget Guevara
  • Melanie Barreiro
  • Olivia Nievez
  • Maia Loy
  • Hillary Rodriguez
  • Mario Eduardo Vasquez
  • Alberto Martinez
  • Jennifer Guevara
  • Tannya Palacios Otavalo
  • Samantha Vasco
  • Issmar Diaz
  • Sodelys Hilario
  • Stefanie Reyes
  • Alyssa Ortiz
  • Juan Guzman
  • Chole Siegel
  • Pablo Fuentes
  • Ismael Bajana
  • Sheydgi Rivera
  • Christopher Callejo
  • Catherine Wislous
  • Sabrina Medina
  • Kevin Lagares
  • Melanie R. Rivera
  • Daniel J. Rivie-Ossining
  • Dylan Sierra
  • Erika Caraballo
  • Arly Perez-Cordero
  • Taysha Mendez
  • Mario Cabral
  • Kevin Lopez

Questar III BOCES currently holds a five year contract awarded by the State Education Department to coordinate the Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute Statewide. Questar III’s staff works closely with the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force in conjunction with the annual SOMOS El Futuro Inc., the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, the New York State City Board of Education, Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN), and other agencies as appropriate.

Questar III applauds the 2015 Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership student delegates for their determination and participation.  For more information on the program, visit


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