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FFRF provides $16K in scholarships: Humanists of Puerto Rico essay winners announced

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is delighted to announce that, in partnership with Humanistas Seculares De Puerto Rico (Humanists of Puerto Rico), it is awarding more than $16,000 in cash scholarships to Puerto Rican students, including 10 major winners and four honorable mentions.

Students were asked to write about “The importance of separation of church and state in Puerto Rican society.”

The Humanists of Puerto Rico publicized the contest and judged the 150 essays received, and FFRF is providing the prize money. FFRF had contacted HPR seeking the partnership and suggesting the contest be in Spanish. Currently, FFRF sponsors five other essay competitions. which are open to Puerto Rican students, but are in English.

The winners and honorable mentions are:

1. Fátima Isabel Rosado Figueroa ($3,500)

2. Roberto Orlando Rodríguez García ($3,000)

3. Jahn Michael Alago Velázquez ($2,500)

4. Ambar Marrero Pérez ($2,000)

5. Génesis Vega Pérez ($1,500)

6. Alejandra Gruber Acevedo ($1,000)

7. Julissa Esther Santana García ($750)

8. Zainely A. Sandoval Martínez ($500)

9. Gustavo Daniel Hernández Luciano ($400)

10. Lionel Reyes Ramírez ($300)

Honorable mentions ($200 each): Yanelie Díaz Román,

Aviel Ramírez Fossé, Evan Flores Rosado and Karina Negrón Tudó.

“I personally had the chance to call each one of the 10 major prize winners,” said Gerardo M. Rivera Chaparro, secretary of the Humanists. “The happiness I heard from them and their families was overwhelming.”

“Felicitaciones¡” says Dan Barker, FFRF co-president. Adds Annie Laurie Gaylor: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Humanists of Puerto Rico, particularly at a time when so many public schools on the island were shuttered after Hurricane Maria, and when students are in need of educational support. We hope this will become an annual scholarship.”

FFRF recently went to court with the humanist group and a local family, successfully halting the unconstitutional imposition of mandatory 50-minute biweekly prayers upon students at a primary school in Toa Baja as part of the school day.