Two Valencia officials, Elisha Gonzalez Bonnewitz and Dr. Kathleen Plinske, have been named winners of this year’s Don Quijote Awards, which are presented each year to recognize dedication to and professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.
Bonnewitz, who is Valencia’s director of community affairs, was named Professional of the Year.
Plinske, who is president of Valencia’s Osceola and Lake Nona campuses, was named the Hispanic Community Champion. The Hispanic Community Champion Award is given to a non-Hispanic person who has made significant contributions to the Hispanic community. Plinske was named the winner because of her deep commitment to increasing access to college for young Hispanics.
The awards ceremony, which was held on Dec. 6 at the Epcot World Showplace Pavilion, is sponsored by the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida, Inc. (HBIF) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.
“This year’s finalists and Lifetime Achievement winners are trailblazers in their respective industries and in our region,” said HBIF President & CEO Augusto Sanabria. “This group superbly illustrates the scope and economic impact of Hispanics in Central Florida, and each embodies the spirit of Don Quijote de la Mancha in their own way.”
“This event, which has become an annual tradition in our community, is a great celebration for the Hispanic community of Central Florida. We cherish the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding business and civic leaders, whose contributions to our community and demonstrated success serve as inspiration to many in our region. We are honored to be part of such an
amazing community filled with such amazing people,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando President Diana Bolivar.
Blanquita Trabold received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her impact on the Hispanic community in Central Florida. Trabold is the executive director of Casa de México, the nonprofit arm of the Mexican consulate in Orlando.
For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit www.donquijoteawards.com.