NHI North Texas integrates LDZ and CWS students for 2022 Texas Great Debate prep
As part of our series highlighting 2022 Texas Great Debate teams — in advance of the June 11-14 quest for the Silver Cup — NHIMagazine.com connected with George Rodriguez about the 20-person team from North Texas, coming to Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas.
What kind of things are you doing to prepare the team and build camaraderie?
So it’s been a challenge over the past couple of years, because we’ve got some kids who are appearing virtually, and then we’ve got other kids who are appearing live. But one of the things we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a lock-in and create more team bonding by having them work more together in the same space. We were very fortunate at a nonprofit organization in Dallas called Bachman Lake Together, which provides this space every Sunday for training. So it’s been really good for the kids.
What do you think distinguishes this particular team? What about them is notable and special?
I think that the thing about this particular team is that, you know, a lot of times you’ll have a team where you’ve got one or two superstars in this team, but all the kids are basically on the same level. So I think it’s going to be a pretty strong team. We’re not all kind of relying on the shoulders of one or two teammates – they understand they’ve all got to step up, and they’ve got to be able to be prepared. And what I think is really interesting about this team is that I think this team has done more in terms of reading Third Reality and trying to understand NHI philosophy than a lot of things that I’ve seen in the past.
One of the things that we have done this year — we’ve tried to do it in the past but haven’t been as successful — is we actually have a lot of kids who are going to participate in LDZ and CWS joining us on Sundays. So we’ve kind of incorporated them into the process, just in terms of the overall philosophy of NHI, NHI Fundamentals, and Third Reality. I think the end result will be that we will have kids going to LDZ and to CWS, who might not have participated in NHI programs in the past, that are going to be fairly well prepared, and at least have some kind of understanding of the NHI philosophy.
How are they engaging with this year’s theme?
So of course, they’re struggling with it every year, so they’re working through the words “social narrative,” what that means, and how you change the social narrative – which is really a big challenge, especially when you’re talking to someone who’s 15 or 16 years old. But that’s part of NHI; that’s what it’s all about. I think in addition to the challenge, there are also different layers of challenges and opportunities to show leadership. I think it’s not just us, though. I think it’s challenged all the regions and alliances, because all of a sudden, now we’ve gone from two years online to going back live. That’s a big transition, especially for the kids who are there as facilitators and trainers, because some of those kids have never experienced a live tournament. So now they’re having to figure out how to prepare kids for a live tournament that they’ve not participated in themselves, and I just throw that out there as a challenge to them and their leadership.
Some final thoughts about this 2022 Texas Great Debate team …
I think this is probably one of the most diverse teams that we’re bringing in – we’ve got a pretty balanced representation in terms of public schools, private schools, charter schools, and kids who are not only from Dallas Proper. So I think this is going to be interesting, and it’s been very good for the kids to have exposure to kids who go to a different type of school or kids who are in a completely different city than they’re used to. They’ve really expanded their circle of friends.