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Alumni, NHI Decision Day

Gabi De Simone: An #NHIDecisionDay story

Gabi De Simone, NHI alumna and new Villanova student
Posted: May 1, 2019 at 9:55 am   /   by   /   comments (2)

Gabi De Simone’s NHI journey started at Villanova University, when she attended the 2015 Northeast Great Debate program, bonded with new friends, and tapped into her public speaking abilities. It’s fitting, then, that she’ll continue her leadership journey (and announce it officially on Friday as part of #NHIDecisionDay celebrations) at the very school where it started.

De Simone found her future university staying on the Villanova campus for her first program, then honed her college application skills at the Northeast CWS program at Cabrini University. Later this month, she’ll graduate from Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut, grateful for her NHI experience in large part due to the contrast it’s provided from her academic settings.

“I’ve been going to predominantly white institutions my whole life,” she said. “Through NHI, I’ve been able to meet people who are like me doing great things. It’s also been my plan to go to college, and to meet other people at the programs who are wanting to succeed, wanting me to succeed, and being proud of their accomplishments, it’s a great network. And it’s a network that I feel I’ll go to and contribute to throughout my life.”

She notes that the Great Debate provided her an opportunity to learn and grow beyond increasing her public speaking capacities. “It helped me learn more about actually debating, but it actually helped me understand that I could actually accomplish things like this.” At the Great Debate, she recalls making it to the Elite Eight in Cross-X, prepping with her partner as late as 1 in the morning to be ready for the potential scenarios.

With both programs, she notes that her teams bonded incredibly well, adding exponentially to the experience.

It’s not just Gabi who noticed the transformative power of NHI in her own life. Gabi’s mother, Kay De Simone, has been impressed with what Gabi’s taken and given from the NHI experience. “During the programs, she developed an advanced analytical mind, a sense of community and an ardent sense of possibility.”

To celebrate Gabi and the other NHI graduating seniors, visit Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on Friday and look for the #NHIDecisionDay hashtag. (All NHI graduating seniors are invited to participate by using the hashtag on social media platforms and repping the schools they’ve chosen to attend.) We’ll also provide a roundup at 


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