May 04, 2001

An impressive line-up of guest speakers joined Banco Popular to announce the winners of the third annual Banco Popular Banking on the Moon Essay Contest. Over 200 Chicago public school students gathered at Roberto Clemente High School to learn about the contest prizes valued at $200,000. Contest response was the highest in three years with 32 participating schools and approximately 1,000 essay entries.

With a special emphasis on promoting the importance of reading, guest speakers addressed students to congratulate them for their participation in the contest. Event speakers included Len Dominguez, Chief Executive of Policy, CPS; Edgar Lopez, Deputy Chief Illinois Department of Financial Institutions and Dr. R. Aileen Yingst, Mars Atmospheric Geologic Imaging Team Scientist.

"Banco Popular is proud to sponsor this unique educational initiative for Chicago Public Schools students." In keeping with Mayor Richard M. Daley's mandate to improve reading scores in this year's essay contest. To encourage student participation, Banco Popular donated over 2,000 copies of the classic novel The Little Prince," explained Alberto A. Carrero, Senior Vice President of Banco Popular. "We are humbled by the opportunity to contribute to the education of our youth."

Also, a Teachers Excellence Award was introduce to recognize the role of teachers in promoting participation in the contest and the importance of reading. Diane Bryniarski from Mather High School was the winning teacher.

The diversity of the winning students and participating schools in this year's contest mirror the same diversity of the City of Chicago. This year's high school winners are: Cathy Torres (Roberto Clemente High School), George Alvarado (Foreman High School) and Gladys Gonzalez (Antonia Pantoja High School). All three winners will be hosted to VIP visit to NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the Junior Category the winners are: Tessa Colbrese (William B. Ogden Elementary School), Sergio Linares (Hanson Park School) and Donna Y. Nguyen (Ravenswood). "The extraordinary success of the essay contest prompts Banco Popular to consider offering the program in our other five markets where we operate in the continental United States," said Frances Ryan, Vice President of Corporate Affairs.

Winning schools will be able to access Moonlink, an Internet-based learning program that enables students to participate with NASA scientists during live on-line lunar missions. Other prizes include family passes to Ravinia Festival, the Museum of Science and Industry and Adler Planetarium.

Banco Popular North America, the country's leading Hispanic-owned bank, presently operates a total of 96 branches in California, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Florida. Banco Popular is a subsidiary of Puerto Rico-based Popular, Inc., ranked among the country's 35 largest financial institutions with $28 billion assets.

For additional information about Banco Popular's Banking on the Moon Contest or Space Explorers contact Monica Treviño at (773) 292-4667.

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