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RGV students triumph at Texas Ambassador Great Debate

Texas Ambassador Great Debate National Hispanic Institute RGV Team
Posted: August 12, 2019 at 12:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Texas Ambassador Great Debate brought another year of statewide competition to the University of Texas at Austin to close out NHI’s 2019 summer programs, with the team from the Rio Grande Valley triumphing.

“When I first came here, I really wasn’t expecting much,” said Lindsay Williamson from McAllen High School about the RGV team’s prospects. “I knew that I had great coaches, a great team, but we really just came up, and we all got in the Sweet 16. And that was just amazing. It wasn’t just an impact for me, but it was my whole team. It wasn’t just because I won; it was because my whole team was together with me.”

She added, “I definitely gained a new perspective of what leaders really are,” noting that while she’s part of a robust Latino community in the RGV, “I came in and saw all of these [people here] practicing their leadership skills, and using governance and what we were being taught in our meetings at home.”

Christina Li of Coronado High School in El Paso, who got to the Extemp finals at the Texas Ambassador Great Debate, finishing in second place, noted, “I’ve learned that winning isn’t the most important thing all the time. It’s good to always learn, no matter how well you do, and to take those experiences and the things you learn to apply them.” Complementing her El Paso teammates and trainers for the work they did, she added, “I was able to draw support from my team and my trainers and everyone around me, so that I could do well, and this truly helped shape me into a better person.”

Winners in the individual Texas Ambassador Great Debate categories include:

Cross Examination

1st Place: Vivian Munoz, Science Academy of South Texas, Mercedes, Texas and Lindsay Williamson, IB at Lamar Academy, McAllen, Texas (RGV)

2nd Place: Alex Franklin, McAllen Memorial High School, McAllen, Texas and Marco Rodriguez, IDEA Pharr, Pharr, Texas (RGV)

All-State Leader: Sergio Monarrez, Cathedral High School, El Paso, Texas (El Paso)

All-State Member: Catherine Diaz, Energy Institute High School, Houston, Texas (Houston)

Extemporaneous Speaking

1st Place: Samuel Kligman, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas (El Paso)

2nd Place: Christina Li, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas (El Paso)

All-State: Diya Phillip, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas (Austin)

Mock Trial

1st Place: Andrew Beck, McAllen High School, McAllen, Texas and Hayden Beck, IB at Lamar Academy, McAllen, Texas (RGV)

2nd Place: David Cervantes, Clear Springs High School, Houston, Texas and Diego Ramos, St. Thomas High School, Houston, Texas (Houston)


1st Place: Jake Killibride, TMI Episcopal, San Antonio, Texas (San Antonio)

2nd Place: Ximena Cantu, IDEA Pharr, Pharr, Texas (RGV)

All-State: Maria “Nayeli” Aleman, McCollum High School, San Antonio, Texas (San Antonio)


1st Place: Ava Barrera, Los Fresnos High School, Los Fresnos, Texas

2nd: Pilar Benavidez, South Texas Academy of Medical Professions, San Benito, Texas

3rd: Edgardo Giron, KIPP Houston High School, Houston, Texas

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


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