Join Our Mailing List

LDZ, NHI Programs

National LDZ brings impressive group to University of St. Francis

2019 national ldz university of st. francis national hispanic institute
Posted: July 7, 2019 at 7:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

This 2019 edition of the National LDZ — traditionally one of the largest programs on the National Hispanic Institute summer schedule — did not disappoint, with more than 160 students converging on the University of St. Francis last week. It was the first time that the university, located in Joliet, hosted NHI’s annual Chicago-area youth legislative session.

Two pieces of legislation were passed in this session — the first, from Mariana Meza of Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, called for collaborative investment involving educated individuals and Latino-owned businesses collaborating, and Gabriel Kauachi from Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas (a member of this year’s cabinet) called for the launch of a “Latino small business week.”

“The program began with students articulating the leadership qualities they hoped to find in their cohorts elected officials, and quickly finding that values of cooperation, collaboration, and inclusivity were more difficult to practice than they imagined,” recalled Samantha Sevilla Chill, Education Director for the 2019 National LDZ. “This was an important lesson for the students, who approached each subsequent task with these experiences in mind, being able to question their political parties and elected officials in a way that demanded accountability.”

“Our students also experienced the difficulties of building constituencies, communicating proposals, and developing platforms,” she continued. “Throughout the program, they learned to navigate each to eventually elect individuals who thrived to emulate the values of the 2019 cohort in both their words and actions.”

Sevilla Chill singled out the host institution for special recognition, noting, “Having a university partner like the University of St. Francis welcome the parents of our students, be present to greet and speak with students each meal and create activities for the students to build relationship also contributed to their overall development. It showed the students the importance of building partnerships, and gave a first-hand example of the impact that such a partnership can have on the community, which they reflected in their written proposals. This summers students left the program with an experience in governance and community building in a way that, as the top-elected officials expressed during their closing remarks, was more complex and fulfilling than they could have ever imagined from a school setting.”

NHI Senior Vice President Julio Cotto, who addressed the students during the week, noted, “As always, the delegation of the National LDZ was incredibly competitive with top Great Debaters from the 2018 Texas, Midwest, and Northeast programs. The President laid out a clear three-part agenda and relentlessly pursued it, even if it meant a closing and reopening the session midweek to regain focus. In addressing a new approach to commit to governance, they focused on discussing and evaluating old and existing value systems that inform decisions. They also discussed expanding investments in cultural learning and educational experiences beyond classroom instruction as vital to the development of future asset-based leaders.”

Top officers for the event, drawing significant contingents from both Texas and the Midwest, included:

President: Jose Tomas Marin-Lee, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas

Vice-President: Campbell King, IB at Lamar Academy, McAllen, Texas

Speaker of the House: Julian Salaberry, Energy Institute High School, Houston, Texas

Justices: Christopher Ochoa, IB at Lamar Academy, McAllen, Texas (Chief Justice); Claudio Del Rio, Sharyland High School, Mission, Texas; Isabella Douglas, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Damari Esqueda, IB at Lamar Academy, McAllen, Texas; Brianna Fonseca, Lyons Township High School, LaGrange and Western Springs, Illinois; Linda Garcia, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Ximena Solis, South Texas Academy of Medical Professions, San Benito, Texas; Sean Teo Ong, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Matthew Worthington, Sharyland High School, Mission, Texas

Cabinet: Gabriella Alba, Warren Township High School, Gurnee, Illinois ; Pablo De La Garza, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Eduardo Esquivel, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Gabriel Kauachi, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville, Texas; Natalia Madrigal, Lyons Township High School, LaGrange and Western Springs, Illinois; Montserrat Nieto, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Austin, Texas


Comments (0)

write a comment

Name E-mail Website