Rebecca Rocha-Davis: Old-school alumna inspiring new generations
Most people who know Dr. Rebecca Rocha-Davis in NHI now know her as an instrumental volunteer in San Antonio, helping to bring together a close-knit program of parents and students.
Her roots in NHI, however, go back to almost the organization’s beginnings.
Her initial encounter with NHI was participation in the historic 1990 Texas LDZ, which was attended by the Nieto twins (Chris, currently a Senior Vice President with NHI, and Marc, who has previously worked with the organization). As she recalls about being in the flagship program, “I was kind of a shy girl from Harlingen, Texas, and decided this was going to be a nice little adventure for me. And so I went and I attended. And I really got out of it more than I even thought that I would. So much that I learned the, I still carry with me now, all these years later.”
“It just gave me the confidence to be able to speak my mind, and to say the things that I wanted to say to people without being shy, and it definitely helped me not be shy,” she recalled. “My kids and husband always say I can talk to anybody, I can talk anywhere. It doesn’t matter where I’m at.”
That’s come in handy in her work with NHI@SA. Anita Fernandez, who helps oversee the volunteer organization, had high praise for Rocha-Davis’s contributions. “She’s been a huge advocate in making connections with new parents, in helping to bring them on,” she noted. “She’s always willing to speak to anyone that might have questions or even concerns,” she added, observing that parents of younger high school kids want reassurances about safety and security at programs. Rocha-Davi, as a parent of NHI students as well as a former participant, has ably been able to do that.
In fact, Rocha-Davis got reinvolved in NHI — after become a physician and starting a family — once her oldest daughter Rachel, now a junior at TMI Episcopal in San Antonio, got information about a meeting in San Antonio about an upcoming Great Debate program. She recalls that Rachel brought the info home the night before the meeting was scheduled, and it sparked something in her.
“I said, we’re going,” she laughed, “and when we went to the meeting, it was just so invigorating to see all these kids and thinking, ‘Wow, my kids are going to get to do this.’ I just got really excited about it again.”
Rachel went to the Great Debate in Sherman, and although she wasn’t initially entirely on board with it, she proceeded, got second place in Cross-Examination, and then said, “I get why you love this and why you made me do this. Rachel has gone on to participate in the California LDZ, and her sister Reagan, currently a sophomore, also was at last summer’s Texas Great Debate and will continue her NHI journey this coming summer at the California LDZ.
Rocha-Davis is happy to have reconnected with NHI, especially in San Antonio, where volunteers have helped make it one of the more cohesive regions. “There are a lot of schools that participate. That’s one of the great things I think about the San Antonio program. There are so many different schools that are involved, it’s not just one or two high schools. But all the kids in San Antonio bond, and their parents bond, too. The people in charge make themselves available. I think that’s why everybody in NHI@SA feels like a family.”