Glacier High School Charter student Cristian Mendoza won the school’s first ever gold medal in the Engineering & Mathematics category of last week’s Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Youth Awards.
Mendoza was one of seven gold medal winners, with 21 Hispanic high school seniors throughout the San Jose area honored during the ceremony on Dec. 7.
“It felt great to win this award,” Mendoza said. “I was very surprised and excited. Even though I knew I had a chance at being selected, I knew there were a lot of other qualified applicants.”
Mendoza said he may have won the award due to his work with his business partner Peter McLean through D.U.D.E.S.
Also known as Dollars for Underdeveloped Economic Societies, the company they started in the fourth grade manufactures and sells wood products, then invests the profits into entrepreneurs throughout the world.
“(That was) the one thing that stood out and made an impression,” Mendoza said, noting he and McLean have invested more than $20,000 so far. “The impact that I have made in the lives of others.”
Mendoza plans to attend California Baptist University, to earn a Bachelors of Science in electrical and computer engineering.
“I aspire to continue to help improve the lives of others in our world,” Mendoza said, “by creating and perfecting technology through an engineering career.”
As part of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s program, Mendoza received a $3,000 grant towards his college education, while others were awarded similar grants.
Eric Hagen, principal of Glacier High, said the school has never had a student medal in the contest before, and called Mendoza’s work “very significant.”
“I am proud of Cristian,” Hagen said. “Not only has he excelled in mathematics, but he has been involved in my engineering and underwater robotics classes since he was in junior high.”