More birthday wishes for NHI as it celebrates 40 years
The National Hispanic Institute turned 40 on Saturday, yet is showing no signs of slowing down.
At St. Mary’s University, staffers preparing for Texas LDZ students to arrive were asked to summarize NHI in one word. The video shows that while some initially grappled with boiling the NHI experience down to a single word, they were all able to rise to the occasion and find the right adjective:
Meanwhile, San Antonio students preparing for the Texas Ambassador Great Debate took a break from their lock-in weekend to dig into a “Feliz Cumpleanos NHI” birthday cake.
Other well-wishers reached out, joining those featured here, to share their memories and birthday wishes:
“Lo mejor es tener ahora la capacidad de enfrentar los retos de la vida saber el poder que puedo ejercer con mi voz siendo Latina transformarme en una estudiante líder dentro y fuera de mi comunidad en NHI es parte de vida de mi historia. NHI, se resume en una sola palabra, es mi familia. Mis felicitaciones y el deseo que se cumplan muchos años más y que hagamos de nuestro mundo un mundo mejor!”
(The best thing now is to have the ability to face the challenges of life, knowing the power I can exercise with my voice, being Latina, transforming myself into a leader and a student, inside and outside my community in NHI, is part of my life story. NHI, summed up in a single word, is my family. My congratulations and wishes for many more years of fulfillment and making our world a better world!”)
– Guadalupe Berenice González Torres, Austin, Texas (Student at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders)
“During my LDZ experience, I was called up to the stand, even though I didn’t want to speak. I remember shaking and almost messing up the motion. Next year at CWS, I chose to speak and actually enjoyed it. I’m happy with all the friends I made and am glad that NHI is and will continue to thrive.”
– Anna Maria Ruiz, Clint, Texas (Computer Science Major)
” I remember the heatwave during the 1995 Chicago LDZ! (And passing resolution banning formal wear for deliberations. Feliz Cumple, NHI!”
– Luis Figueroa, Austin, Texas (Legislative and Policy Director and Attorney)
“The endless memories that NHI has created not only for myself, but for all of our community, have been some of the best ones yet. But the one thing that helps us capture our truest selves, a huge part of every program that is probably taken for granted within NHI, is Noche Cultural. It is the one night that they give us to define who we are outside of a formal setting, to have fun and de-stress after a long week of hard work.”
– Eugenia Rodriguez, San Antonio, Texas (Student, Young Women’s Leadership Academy)
“My best memory of NHI is actually its greatest gift to me. I truly doubted the value of the NHI experience all the way up until the end of my first Great Debate round. After that, my confidence and my motivation was boosted in indescribable ways. That boost, though crucial in my growth as a person, was not the greatest gift NHI has given me; rather, it’s the lifelong friendships I’ve formed. My two greatest friends, Carissa Cortez and Abigail Garcia, have continued to make an impact and change my life. Our entire friendship was formed in a matter of two days and has only become stronger over the past two years. For NHI’s birthday, I hope to find the words of gratitude that express how appreciative I am for this institution giving me the friendships I know will last to my 40th birthday and beyond.”
– Christine Tomasino, San Antonio, Texas (NHI@SA Staffer)
“My best NHI memory has to be eating with my friends in Casco Viejo, Panama, during our LDZ excursion [at the LDZ Las Americas program]. It was an amazing day with wonderful friends who helped me make my LDZ one of the best experiences of life.”
– Isaiah Franco, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (College Student)
“There are so many good memories; it’s hard to just choose one! I have to say it was when I was helping train the next group after I went for debate the year before. It was so rewarding seeing how well that group did.”
– Christina (Maria) Jimenez, Baytown, Texas (Admitting Rep)
“Walking into the back “staff conference” room in the ‘Flag Room’ at Southwestern University for what would be my first experience as an LDZ JC. I felt the excitement and nervousness all over again as if I was about to experience my actual LDZ. But then I saw Gloria and Ernesto and remembered why I was there. I was home.
I have so many memories with you both. The first time I walked into the ‘Mansion’ with my parents and ‘little Luis’ which (little did we know!) would mark the official beginning of the San Antonio Chapter of NHI. Fleshing out curriculum with you both until the wee hours. Having Gustavo and Chris Judd give a surprise dance lesson to the LDZers at the Santa Clara LDZ. Looking for a store in Rochester to get Ernesto a blazer.
And just like that, over 20 years and thousands of families have now walked into those rooms just as I did many years ago. Muchisimas Gracias a los dos. Gracias NHI. Gracias por avernos dado un lugar para expresarnos, crear otros mundos, y describir nuestra comunidad con una poecia que solamente nosotros podemos hacer … Thank you and Happy Birthday! To many, MANY more…”
– Analco González, San Antonio, Texas (OCI Group, Managing Partner)
“The National Hispanic Institute has been a part of my life for over 20 years. I continue, as a volunteer, as hundreds of other NHIers do across the world, because I know that the work that has been done and continues to be done is critical to the livelihood of our international community. Through training, experiential learning and community building and engagement, NHI has built a strong leadership base that spans cultures, gender, age, and communities.
NHI has changed my life and the lives of thousands of other young people around the world, and continues to do so. These people are leading within our communities and making incredible changes for the betterment of our society. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the experiences and opportunities that my membership in this unique and elite institute has afforded me throughout my life. I look forward to the next 40 years!”
– Anita Fernandez, San Antonio, Texas (OCI Group, Managing Partner)