Monica Hernandez and Luis Valente are the winners of the second annual Discover Asia Correspondent Contest, sponsored by Korean Air. They will each receive an expense-paid five-day, six-night trip courtesy of Korean Air to the destination of their choice in Asia to explore a topic of personal interest. A team of judges who are editors and Asia correspondents at the L.A. Times selected Monica and Luis from over 150 entries representing over 100 high schools.
Monica Hernandez | Los Angeles River High School
“I was born in Mexico and brought to the United States when I was 2 months. All my best memories have taken place in the same neighborhood with the same people. I love my people but going on this trip to Thailand can completely change my views of the world. Being a graduating senior my options of where I would like to study are opening from all directions. A year ago I was not able to imagine myself leaving my home. After this trip I may potentially want to study abroad and continue my studies in Asia.”
Luis Valente | South East High School
“Surprisingly enough, the virtual world of Pokemon connected me with real people, some of which became friends. Pokemon and video games allowed me to find a community, one where I could interact with people without fearing being judged….One can say I’ve already experienced Osaka, but I want to experience it in person, and not on a dual-screen handheld. I want experience the same level of comfort and belonging in Osaka as I did when I played the Pokemon games.”