2022 Midwest Great Debate inspires young leaders from Mexico and U.S. at Augustana
Earlier this month, a tight-knit group of more than 40 rising high school sophomores completed the Midwest Great Debate at the scenic campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Students at the program, running July 3-8 at one of NHI’s core partner universities, represented Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and various parts of Mexico.
Founded in 1860, Augustana College is a private liberal arts and sciences college located on a 116-acre wooded campus in the Quad Cities metropolitan area, about 165 miles west of Chicago. This year is a continuation of Augustana’s deep-rooted partnership with NHI.
During the first phase of NHI’s three-year curriculum, this partnership achieved its collective goal to provide a challenging environment that prepared participants to become current and future innovative leaders within their communities and beyond. More than half of these participating students originated from Mexico.
While the official program corporeally lasted six days, this year’s on-site director, Luis Jauregui, shared a unique perspective that is commonly taught among the students: “The Midwest Great Debate is not a six-day program, the program ends when you let it end.”
Jauregui took to Facebook on NHI’s birthday to share some thoughts on the topic, “What is building?”
“To me, building is about investing in your community, recognizing your assets, and continuing to work towards improvement,” he wrote, going on say, “Thank you to my alma mater, Augustana College, and the National Hispanic Institute for welcoming us back for our first in-person program since 2019 with open arms. It was a privilege getting to be reunited with old friends and family, as well as working with the next generation of Latino leaders in the Midwest. Keep an eye out for this next generation. They are going to accomplish some big things. It’s good to be home!”
During closing ceremonies, top performing students were awarded for their performances in the categories of Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, Cross Examination, and Athenaeum, along with other special honorable mentions from the program. These include:
Hall of Fame Award
Caroll Gomez Reyes, Marshalltown High School, Marshalltown, Iowa
Chris Pluta Community Guardian Award
Matilde Cueto-Farley, JFK American School of Querétaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
All-State: Valeria Sanchez, Instituto de Ciencias, Zapopan, Jalisco, México
1st Place: Isabella Olea, JFK American School of Querétaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
All-State: Marisabel Torres Landa, JFK American School of Querétaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
1st Place: Zeltzin Zepeda-Solis, Round Lake Senior High School, Round Lake, Ill.
All-State: Andres Alejandro Bravo Garza, Pleasant Valley High School, Riverdale, Iowa and Diego Gomez, Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha, Neb.
1st Place: Edeline Wence, Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, Waukegan, Ill. and Natalia Moreno, JFK American School of Queretaro, Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México
2nd Place: Juan Pablo Suarez, Instituto de Ciencias, Zapopan, Jalisco, México
1st Place: Pablo Alcala, Instituto de Ciencias, Zapopan, Jalisco, México
Most Improved Students
Pablo Chavez, Instituto de Ciencias, Zapopan, Jalisco, México
Omar Castillo, Round Lake Senior High School, Round Lake, Ill.
Mia Aguinaga, Marshalltown High School, Marshalltown, Iowa
Julia Rodriguez, Instituto de Ciencias, Zapopan, Jalisco, México
This story was written by Sofia Hernandez.