Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Actor John Leguizamo Participate

Optimum Community and Nat Geo Mundo kicked-off the 2016 Nat Geo Mundo Explorer Contest today at Celia Cruz High School. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and actor John Leguizamo participated in the event.

After welcoming remarks from principal Jerrod Mabry, Optimum Community emcee Devale Ellis discussed Optimum Community’s partnership with Nat Geo Mundo and then introduced Bronx Borough President Diaz who spoke about the many benefits of educational travel. Actor Leguizamo also encouraged students to enter and spoke to them about seizing the opportunities that come their way. Optimum Community emcee Ellis discussed the details of the Nat Geo Mundo Explorer Program advising students that they are one of 129 Bronx public high schools and 16 Newark public high schools participating in the program. The students then viewed videos highlighting the summer travel program and past winners from the tri-state area.

“I can’t emphasize enough the benefits of world travel,” said Bronx Borough President Diaz. “Travel introduces you to a variety of things that will make you a more interesting, knowledgeable, well-rounded person. When you travel, you acquire a unique wisdom that is useful for the rest of your life. I thank Optimum Community and Nat Geo Mundo for providing students in our area with this terrific chance to see the world.”

“Tasting foreign foods, hearing another language, visiting homes in other countries can be an eye-opening experience and one you will always remember,” said actor John Leguizamo. “You’ll learn to see things from a different perspective. Also, aside from the educational enrichment you’ll receive, you’ll develop your independence. This is a wonderful opportunity from Optimum Community and Nat Geo Mundo that you should definitely take advantage of.”

Nat Geo Mundo will award one Bronx student and one Newark student with a full scholarship to the 2016 National Geographic Student Expedition, which covers program tuition and air travel. All trips, which emphasize learning and enrichment, are led by qualified leaders and a National Geographic expert. Applicants are required to complete a student travel award application, including personal references, and an essay on what he/she feels they can contribute to the Nat Geo Mundo Explorer Program and what they can accomplish through the world of travel and why they should be selected. Deadline for submission is March 25, 2016. For more information, visit