Last Saturday I had the opportunity to serve as the CPA who oversaw and scrutinized the voting process for the crowning of the Prince, Princess, Duke, and Duchess of the 58th annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP), which will take place this following Sunday, June 14th, along Fifth Avenue. Being part of this event and announcing the winners of this year's NPRDP's Rising Star Scholarship has been one of the most fun experiences I've had as a Public Accountant.
Every year, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade honors the nearly 4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and people of Puerto Rican birth or heritage who currently reside in the United States. The Parade celebrates the achievements of individuals within the Puerto Rican community in New York and the yearning to translate these accomplishments into a visible demonstration of our culture’s best qualities, strengths, and talents.
Annually, the NPRDP hosts many social, cultural and educational events throughout the city, including a Scholarship Program better known as the Rising Star Challenge.
The Rising Star Challenge’s mission is to empower Puerto Rican youth while fostering and promoting our culture, the pursuit of higher education and civic engagement within the Puerto Rican community.
As the contestants walked down the Macy’s catwalk and answered the thought-provoking questions made by the judges, I felt so proud of these students, who in different ways made an outstanding effort to demonstrate their desire to excel and succeed by overcoming their circumstances. Their perseverance and determination made me incredibly proud of being a Boricua!
The winners of this competition receive an academic scholarship and get crowned as the Prince and Princess of the NPRDP, along with the first runner-ups, who receive the title of Duke and Duchess. Both winners and runner-ups also have the opportunity to represent our Puerto Rican youth during the Parade's festivities.
All of these students did an exemplary job at conveying what it meant to be a Puerto Rican, but one of them really touched my heart. When asked what it meant for him to be a Puerto Rican, David Ojeda, the 2015 winner and crowned Prince of the NPRDP explained that for him, being a Puerto Rican was to give the very best of yourself in everything you did, each and every day, while continuously fighting to achieve your goals and ambitions. But in the process, it was crucial to never forget who you were and where you came from. That my friends, is what being a Puerto Rican is all about.Until next time,