Tip of Texas triumphs at 2021 Texas GDx
The Texas Great Debate has been one of the National Hispanic Institute’s flagship events throughout its long history. Even now, with the event transformed into the Texas GDx, it’s still bringing out the best in teams of rising sophomores in Texas. That includes Tip of Texas, the team representing the Brownsville area, which took yet another Silver Cup over the weekend.
“What I saw from the team was just a bunch of eager kids, excited to participate in the Great Debate,” said Tino Villarreal, the region’s Project Administrator. “They wanted to be challenged, and no one challenges kids better than NHI.”
He pointed out that because pandemic conditions have been improving, students from Tip of Texas have been able to congregate together, which they enjoyed. Yet, at the same time, they were preparing for an online competition and the digital communication that the new GDx format provides. The Texas GDx, therefore, provided students with some of the best elements of both live, in-person programs and the digital learning experience launched last year.
“In a somewhat counterintuitive way, each victory tends to be more meaningful than the last,” said Jorge Lee, who coached this year’s team. “It was meaningful this year on one hand because it was historic—it was our fourth straight championship, one away from tying the all-time Great Debate record, and the ninth in the history of the region.”
“But it was also because of the participants themselves,” he continued. “Perhaps more so than in previous years, we saw them buying into the mission of NHI and the GDx program, engaging rigorously with the theme and topics, dedicating hours upon hours to learning to make their hands, faces, and voices instruments of persuasion.”
“The excitement of these age-old rivals competing for top awards wasn’t altered by a virtual environment,” said Chris Nieto, Senior Vice President for NHI, who as host of the event guided students through the 2021 Texas GDx. “We could see how hard the students worked to prepare for this moment — and their command of the themes and topic was apparent to everyone.”
The San Antonio team earned first runner-up team honors, while the Rio Grande Valley team finished as second runner-up.
The University of Texas at Austin served as host for this year’s digital program.
Top performing students in the individual categories included:
- 1st Place: Fernanda Guzman, Veterans Memorial HS, Brownsville and Maria Vivanco, South Texas ISD Medical Professions HS, Olmito (Tip of Texas)
- 2nd Place: Olivia Sanchez, Brandeis HS, San Antonio and Eric Draeger, Health Careers HS, San Antonio (San Antonio)
- All-State: Ana Guerra, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville and Shelby Harwood, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
- 1st Place: Andres Marin-Lee, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
- 2nd Place: Riza Hernandez, IB Lamar Academy, McAllen (Rio Grande Valley)
- All-State: Mia Lavin, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
- 1st Place: Pia Alvarez, Round Rock HS, Round Rock (Austin)
- 2nd Place: Samantha Cano, La Joya HS, La Joya (Rio Grande Valley
- All-State: Daniella Cevillo, South Texas ISD Science Academy, Mercedes (Rio Grande Valley)
- 1st Place: Alondra Garcia, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville and Joaquin Buentello, Veterans Memorial HS (Tip of Texas)
- 2nd Place: Sara Lagrange, Sharyland Pioneer High School, Mission and Sumita Dantu, South Texas ISD Science Academy, Mercedes (Rio Grande Valley)
- All-State: Alex Villanueva, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville and Alysa Cantu, Veterans Memorial HS, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
1st Place team
- Ethan Castelo, Vandergrift HS (Austin)
- Ramiro Cavazos TMI Episcopal (San Antonio)
- Renata Escobar, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
- Bailey Fletcher, TMI Episcopal (San Antonio)
- Sarah Lagrange, Sharyland Pioneer High School, Mission (Rio Grande Valley)
2nd Place team
- Chase Boyd, Central Catholic HS (San Antonio)
- Daniella Cedillo, South Texas ISD Science Academy, Mercedes (Rio Grande Valley)
- Alondra Garcia, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville (Tip of Texas)
- Cameron Quiroz, Antonian HS (San Antonio)
And the Most Improved Students were:
- Austin: Noe Figueroa, Lockhart HS, Lockhart
- Rio Grande Valley: Gavin Almarez, McAllen HS, McAllen
- San Antonio: Cameron Quiroz, Antonian HS, San Antonio
- Tip of Texas: Lucas Cristiano, Saint Joseph Academy, Brownsville
The Texas GDx was sponsored in part by State Farm.