NHI successfully completes the 2022 Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez New Mexico LDZ
The National Hispanic Institute welcomed the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque as a host university for the 2022 Dionisio “Dennis” Chavez New Mexico Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session after over 20 years. A group of 106 students, all from New Mexico, participated in the June 12-19 session funded by the New Mexico Legislature.
Senator Michael Padilla, legislative sponsor for the program, stated, “I am thankful to NHI for once again bringing such an innovative and life changing experience to New Mexico students. Throughout the week I witnessed powerful leadership, personal growth and true grit that will serve these students for the rest of their lives.”
NHI founders Ernesto Nieto and Gloria de Leon served as educational directors this year. Gloria shared her excitement about NHI’s presence in New Mexico. “New Mexico presents a rich learning environment for NHI. Latinos are visibly present, active in leadership roles and have a historical legacy influenced by our Hispanic heritage.”
The goal of the National Hispanic Institute is to encourage engagement through proactive leadership. The LDZ demonstrates the value of leveraging, mobilizing, and organizing community strengths and assets. Students attending the NM LDZ gained an appreciation of Community Equity Building as a positive and collaborative strategy for future leadership.
Highlights and distinctions included:
Top elected officials
- Governor: Dominic Sandoval, Española Valley HS (Española, NM)
- Lt. Governor: Keana Huerta, Cobre HS (Bayara, NM)
- Speaker of the House: Monet Vizcaino, Eldorado HS (Albuquerque, NM)
- Chief Justice: Talissa Perea, Mayfield HS (Las Cruces, NM)
Two Proposals were passed into law during the session.
- “Preparing Future Hispanic/Latino Medical Professionals” by Itxel Barrera-Moncayo (Rio Rancho HS) and co-authors Janna Mae Divina (Española Valley HS), Isabella Strickland (St. Pius X HS) and Sophia Schmezel (Manzano HS)
- “Youth Entrepreneurs in New Mexico” by Lorena Madrid-Larranaga (Albuquerque HS), and co-authors Valeria Ramirez (Santa Fe HS), Elena Torrez (Valencia HS) and Trinity Trevizo (Taos HS)
Awards earned by students at the program included:
- Most Distinguished Representative: Enrique Almeida, New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, N.M.)
- Most Persuasive Representative: Mariel León, West Mesa HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Most Outstanding Legislator, House of Representatives: Melissa Salazar, Atrisco Heritage Academy (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Best Debater, House of Representatives: Matthew Chavez, Cobre HS (Bayara, N.M.)
- Best Author of a Resolution, House of Representatives: Joel Reyes, San Juan ECHS (Farmington, N.M.)
- Most Distinguished Senator: Lorena Madrid-Larrañaga, Albuquerque HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Most Persuasive Senator: Valeria Ramirez, Santa Fe HS (Santa Fe, N.M.)
- Most Outstanding Legislator, Senate: Ramon Enriquez III, Gadsden HS (Anthony, N.M.)
- Best Debater, Senate: Samantha Rodriguez-Rosales, Del Norte HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Best Author of a Resolution, Senate: Stiffi Ysatam, Valley HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Most Distinguished Attorney: Arielle Cortes, West Mesa HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Most Outstanding Member, Supreme Court: Grace Sandoval, St. Michaels HS (Santa Fe, N.M.)
- Best Orator: Victoria Varela, Cibola HS (Albuquerque, N.M.)
- Top Attorney Teams: Grace Sandoval & Colette Correa-Bruzzeser, St. Pius X HS (Albuquerque, N.M.); Jeffrey Peterson, St. Pius X HS (Albuquerque, N.M.) & Johnny Nuñez, Alta Vista ECHS (Anthony, N.M.)
- Ricky Miranda Memorial Award: Ezequiel Korte, Santa Fe Preparatory School (Santa Fe, N.M.)
- Most Promising Leaders: Carlos Miller (Taos HS) & Itxel Barrera-Moncayo (Rio Rancho HS)
This story was written by Sofia Hernandez.