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LDZ, NHI Programs

2022 Texas LDZ brings a high-energy experience for big cohort celebrating 40th year

2022 texas ldz student at mike
Posted: August 3, 2022 at 5:20 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session remains NHI’s flagship summer leadership education program — which is especially true for the Texas edition of what NHIers know as the LDZ. This was especially true this year, with nearly 150 students converging on Austin College in Sherman, Texas for the 2022 edition of the program. 

For over 10 years, George Rodriguez and Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez have led students in the Texas LDZ, creating a high-energy and fruitful experience for high school students attending year after year. This team has cultivated a strong sense of community, family, and confidence among participants.

Rodriguez reflected on the 2022 cohort with pride, beginning, “This year, the Texas LDZ had a very diverse group of participants that included a handful of students from the Midwest and several from Oklahoma. We also had a small contingency from Mexico and one participant from Panama who is originally from Venezuela. Overall, it was a very successful program.” 

In all, 149 students representing Mexico and Panama, as well as Texas and four other states, chose to become part of a program reaching a significant milestone.  

“This year represented LDZ’s 40th birthday, as well as Michelle’s and my 13th year of serving as Educational Directors,” Rodriguez noted. “We allowed our two apprentice EDs to take more control over the execution of the curriculum, and they both did a wonderful job.” 

“As always, the week was one of learning and growing for the participants, the staff, and the EDs,” he remarked. “The Texas LDZ remains a place of magic and continues to be the crown jewel of NHI.”

NHI continued to strengthen its partnership with Austin College in the process. The campus has hosted a large number of Texas Great Debate programs in the past, and is now in its second year of hosting the Texas LDZ. 

“Our relationship with Austin College is one of a long-standing tradition of support for young people and the value they bring to society,” said Nicole Nieto, NHI’s Executive Vice President. “We mutually support building young people’s self awareness about their leadership potential and the LDZ at Austin College provides a space for students to test out their potential.”

Top elected officials at the legislative session included: 

  • Governor: Nathaniel Jackson, Idea Weslaco Pike (Weslaco, Texas)
  • Lieutenant Governor: Margil Sanchez-Carmona, Pleasant Valley High School (Riverdale, Iowa)
  • Chief Justice: Bigbai Flores, Union High School (Tulsa, Okla.)
  • Speaker of the House: Philippine Brossard, Westchester Academy for International Studies (Houston, Texas)

Two Proposals were passed into law during the session: 

  • “Reading Into the Future – the Book Booth Program” by Margil Sanchez-Carmona, Pleasant Valley High School (Riverdale, Iowa)
  • “Housing Latinos in Self-Sustaining Affordable Complexes” by Ariana Lugo, International Leadership of Texas Keller-Saginaw High School (Fort Worth, Texas)

Awards earned by the students were presented:

  • Most Distinguished Representative: Alexa Gomez, Navarro Early College High School (Austin, Texas)
  • Most Persuasive Representative: Ivan Herrera, Union High School (Tulsa, Okla.)
  • Outstanding Legislator (House of Representatives): Dylan Gonzalez, Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy (Grand Prairie, Texas)
  • Best Debater (House of Representatives): Mariana Castillo, Jimmy Carter Early College High School (La Joya, Texas)
  • Best Author of a Resolution (House of Representatives): Noah Casas, Academy of Health and Science Professions and Stem (La Joya, Texas)
  • Most Distinguished Senator: Diego Meringer, El Paso High School (El Paso, Texas)
  • Most Persuasive Senator: Ady Flores, John Paul II High School (Plano, Texas)
  • Outstanding Legislator (Senate): Andres Aleman, Phillips Academy – Andover (Andover, Mass.)
  • Best Debater (Senate): Ivanna Mata, John F. Kennedy American School of Querétaro (Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, México)
  • Best Author of a Resolution (Senate): Tony Moreno, Jack C. Hays High School (Buda, Texas)
  • Most Distinguished Attorney: Lourdes Ybarra, Idea Alamo College Preparatory (Alamo, Texas)
  • Most Outstanding Member of the Supreme Court: Jose Alvarez, McAllen High School (McAllen, Texas)
  • Best Orator: William Qian, Coronado High School (El Paso, Texas)
  • Top Two Attorney Teams: Keila Diaz (Tulsa Honor Academy) & Lourdes Ybarra (Idea Alamo College Preparatory); Vivian Gonzalez (Harmony School of Excellence at Austin) & Patrick Adao-Perez (Bishop Dunne Catholic School)
  • Most Promising Leaders: Ximena Ling (Idea Pharr College Preparatory), Ariana Lugo (International Leadership of Texas Keller-Saginaw High School), Mark Violante (Liberty High School)
  • Ricky Miranda Award: Lynda Sandoval, Idea Edinburg College Preparatory (Edinburg, Texas)
NHI thanks Walmart for its sponsorship of students from Texas and New Mexico.

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