Texas Great Debate Kicks Off
Earlier today, the National Hispanic Institute kicked off its annual Texas Great Debate with an opening ceremony involving spokespeople from NHI and Austin College (now in its 26th year of hosting the annual gathering).
The tournament will pit teams from around the state, representing Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and the Tip of Texas. Though students will be competing against each other and winners will be declared in individual categories as well as on the team level, the competition is designed to help students become better leaders. This was not lost on Sheila Pineres, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Austin College.
In Pineres’ opening remarks, she said, “You know who the real winner is? America. You are the future of NHI . . . but you also are the future of this country. You have the will, the spirit, and you are leaders. Look at you, you can do anything. Here you will find who you are and who you will find success.”
Nicole Nieto de Sada, Executive Vice President of NHI, told the audience, “NHI is built on alumni. It’s built on community. How exciting it is for us, the alumni, to watch the future through your eyes here at this tournament as you present.”
Kristina Tusini, Educational Director for the Texas Great Debate, impressed upon the students the importance of the program. She told them, “You have four more days and you will be engaging in a very serious discourse about your story. Who are you? Who are we? Again, who are you? What makes us powerful? What makes us special? And most importantly – what is next? What will you do with your power to make our community better?”
She also brought in her own personal experience in the program, noting, “It wasn’t until NHI that I regained and understood my power, that I regained and understood my voice, it was NHI that said to me over and over and over again that my story was so different and so beautiful and deserves to be told. You are the future. This tournament is the vehicle where you train and this where you will write that story.”