2018 International CWS kicks off at Saint Leo University
The first Collegiate World Series event of 2018 — the International CWS at Saint Leo University in the Tampa-St. Petersburg metro area — kicked off Wednesday afternoon with leaders from Saint Leo and NHI praising the students set to experience the Latino leadership education organization’s capstone program.
“This week, you will embark on the journey of building your brand,” said Zachary Gonzalez, Director of the Collegiate World Series program. “This week, you will embark on the journey of asking critical questions that will change your life trajectory in many different directions. And finally, you, along with 110 other students, will graduate from the National Hispanic Institute Summer Leadership Series.
“I got so excited knowing I was going to be around so many student leaders and collegiate leaders,” said Saint Leo University Associate Vice President Ana Dinonato, addressing the assembly of students on behalf of the host university. She pointed out similarities between the Saint Leo and NHI missions, including cultivating globally responsible citizens — adding, to that point, “I pray that there’s a [future] President of the United States in this room.”
NHI Executive Vice President Nicole Sada began her International CWS remarks by noting that Periko & Jessi Leon, recording artists who have worked with NHI through its relationship with DishLATINO, were recently at the annual Texas Great Debate event, and commented to her, “There’s something about that NHI student, that awareness, that energy, that comes through every time we come into contact with them.”
Sada went on to encourage students at the ICWS program to go outside of their circles of friends to meet others, declaring it part of the “NHI network” that has been built throughout the organization’s nearly 40 years in existence.
Jean Albino Betancourt, a student from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, attending the program, notes, “When I attended the 2017 LDZ, I learned a lot about the power my ideas and voice have, and how to make them reality. Coming to CWS stems from that experience; I want to better myself by being more comfortable with the college admissions process and I want to learn as much as possible from them. Everything I’ve learned from NHI since 9th grade has been amazing, and I want to continue absorbing all the knowledge they provide.”
Sydney Ramon, from McAllen, Texas, was inspired by her Great Debate coaches and the formative experiences they reported having at CWS. “I saw CWS as a way to not only finish my NHI experience in high school, but to also start it in college,” she said. “I wanted to have the full NHI experience, and bring that back to kids in my region, and show them what NHI’s all about.”
The event, continuing through Sunday, involves two competitions with teams selected from the pool of participating students — the first emphasizes the college application process, and the second delves into Inquiry Based Learning.
The International CWS program is supported in part by State Farm.