Join Our Mailing List

Celebración, NHI Programs

Celebracion Great Debate students step forward on NHI journey

La Revolucion, first place Great Debate cohort team at the 2018 Celebracion event.
Posted: December 5, 2018 at 8:51 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The 2018 edition of the Celebración Great Debate competition involved students in discussing potential brands for the Latino community, building upon what NHI created for the prior year’s Celebración. This year, a team of Texas students — calling themselves La Revolución — emerged as winners and presented before the finals night assembly of over 500.

“They’re supposed to be the critical thinkers,” Kristina Tusini, educational director for Celebración 2018’s Great Debate cohort, said of the students who come out of the Great Debate program. “They’re supposed to be people who can use that microphone like a weapon and articulate ideas in very creative ways.”

“I think this was a really tough task,” she noted, observing that the creation of a brand message “is a very difficult thing to do, considering that companies spend millions and millions and millions of dollars and aggregate some of the best authorities and experts in the field for this kind of thing.”

“We gave them 9 to 10 hours to try to do something that multi-million Fortune 50 companies take years and years and years to do,” she marveled. “It’s impressive that they took this on with so much confidence, while at the same time, recognizing that this was going to be really challenging for them.”

The winning La Revolución team used “Red” as a unifying concept to build their presentation around — which started with video showing parallels between Cesar Chavez in 1970 and immigrants fleeing Central America in 2018. The presentation also took ownership over change, stating, “It is up to us to take the next step” at an integral moment.

“La Revolución was an interesting team because, from the very beginning, they had this idea, and you could see them working the room  and picking people’s brains,” Tusini noted. “It was almost like they were trying to collect research to try to figure out what was going to trigger, what was going to move people. It was very impressive, actually. I was really proud of them. Because I felt like, in some very key ways, they were getting this process.”

The top three teams were:

3rd Place, El Futuro de Ahora

Gabriella Alba, Warren Township HS, Gurnee, IL

Lennon Aragon, Westwood HS, Round Rock, TX

Avarie Dickson, Regents School of Austin, Austin, TX

Maxwell Gonzalez, Fordham Preparatory, Elmsford, NY

Isaiah Hernandez-Gold, LASA, Austin, TX

Caroline Mueller, Antigua International School, Antigua, Guatemala

Montse Nieto, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Austin, TX

Alyza Taveras, Harlem Village Academy HS, New York, NY


2nd Place, Los Viajeros

Viviana Ayala, Sharyland HS, Mission, TX

Barbara Castillo, Loretto Academy, El Paso, TX

Daniel Cortez, McAllen Memorial HS, McAllen, TX

Jacob Hoppas, Central Catholic HS, San Antonio, TX

Noemi Melendez, El Paso HS, El Paso, TX

Emilee Sanchez, Uplift Williams Preparatory HS, Dallas, TX

Mariella Vela, McAllen Memorial HS, McAllen, TX

Santiago Zermeno, BETA, McAllen, TX


1st Place, La Revolución

Sybonae Acosta Castillo, Loretto Academy, El Paso, TX

Sonny Aldaco, Cotulla HS, Cotulla, TX

Cassandra Brewer, Incarnate Word HS, San Antonio, TX

Briana Chapa, La Joya HS, La Joya, TX

Emily De Leon, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, San Antonio, TX

Tania Garcia-Jasso, Oratory Athenaeum for University Preparation, McAllen, TX

Yajaira Gauna, Cotulla HS, Cotulla, TX

Veronica Mendoza, Eastwood Academy, Houston, TX


Celebracion 2018 was sponsored in part by State Farm. 

Comments (0)

write a comment

Name E-mail Website