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Midwest Great Debate students rise to the challenge at Augustana

2019 Midwest Great Debate Augustana College NHI National Hispanic Institute
Posted: July 27, 2019 at 4:01 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nearly 90 students came together at Augustana College for the 2019 Midwest Great Debate earlier this month, getting an introduction to the National Hispanic Institute and its teachings at one of its core host institutions. Students from Mexico and the East Coast joined the primarily Midwestern contingent at Augustana to step up to the program’s challenges.

“Some of the concepts that we talked about were sort of hard to grasp,” noted JP Garcia, educational director for the 2019 Midwest Great Debate, reflecting on the six days with the participants. “I think that when we have a specific paradigm or specific lens that we used to see the world with, and we’re so used to that, that it can be so difficult. It’s sometimes very difficult to see the world with a different lens. And that’s what we were asking the participants to do.”

Garcia added that the ideas related to the summer program theme of governance, in addition to the ideas about Ernesto Nieto’s Third Reality approach at the heart of NHI teaching, made it especially challenging for the students.

But he also saw them step up to the challenge and make their own breakthroughs during the week. “What we tried to do was create examples, examples, examples to illustrate and shed light on different ways of trying to understand what it is, because governance can have myriad manifestations.”

Garcia was particularly impressed with the collaboration he saw from the students. ” I think that one of the cool things that I saw was how students were able to coalesce and find common ground and develop a familiarity with each other. I saw trust and friendship and just being kind and generous, which is really amazing to see happen. I don’t want to use the word family because it seems like it’s such a cliche, but the kids develop that kind of kinship with each other.”

The list of winning students at the 2019 Midwest Great Debate includes:


1st Place: Josselyn Tenorio, Conant High School, Beach Park, Illinois

Cross Examination

1st Place: Julian Reyna, Glenbard East High School, Lombard, Illinois and Jeslynn Sauzameda, Lyons Township High School, La Grange and Western Springs, Illinois
2nd Place: Nina Garcia, Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, Illinois and Vanessa Morales, Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest, Illinois
All-Star: Sofia Casas Garavito, Instituto Lux, Leon, Guanajuato and Fabricio Pons Samano, Instituto Lux, Leon, Guanajuato

Extemporaneous Speaking

1st Place: Evan Martinez, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Kansas City, Missouri
2nd Place: Annel Wipachit, Hoffman Estates High School, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
All-State: Joshua Jaramillo, Academy of American Studies, Queens, New York


1st Place: Izabela Jimenez, Round Lake High School, Round Lake, Illinois
2nd Place: Isabella Kaempfe, Grayslake Central High School, Grayslake, Illinois
All-Star: Guiliana Martinez, William Fremd High School, Schaumberg, Illinois

Chris Pluta Community Guardian Award

Emmanuel Flores, Palatine High School, Palatine, Illinois

Hall of Fame

Alvaro Gijada, Intrinsic School, Chicago, Illinois

Most Improved

Julia Almanza, Lyons Township High School, La Grange and Western Springs, Illinois; Lauren Campano, Richard Montogomery High School, Rockville, Maryland; Talia Cary, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, Iowa; Nicole Fuentes, James B. Conant High School, Schaumberg, Illinois; Axel Garcia, Round Lake High School, Round Lake, Illinois; Huguette Gil, Wauconda High School, Wauconda, Illinois; Jesus Gonzalez-Hayes, Bettendorf High School, Bettendorf, Iowa; Veronica Herrera, Marshalltown High School, Marshalltown, Iowa; Leonardo Palma, Palatine High School, Palatine, Illinois

The Great Debate is made possible in part by a grant from State Farm. 

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