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Austin College and NHI Were Honored to Host the 2023 Texas Great Debate

Posted: June 30, 2023 at 4:51 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Sherman, Texas, once again played host to the prestigious Texas Great Debate earlier this month, from June 8-11. As NHI’s Executive Vice President, Nicole Nieto, arrived on campus and could feel the energy first-hand from both Austin College and NHI staff, it became evident that all involved were ready to fulfill their important roles in hosting this vital competition.

For many NHIers, the Texas Great Debate serves as their introduction to NHI’s values and ideas. This team speech and debate tournament brings together participants from major cities and regions across Texas who have spent a significant part of the school year preparing for this intense four-day competition. The 2023 edition marked the return of the tournament to Austin College, reaffirming the school’s familiarity as a host.

As an NHI host institution for over three decades, Austin College holds a special place in the hearts of NHI alumni. It is where young leaders from Texas, between their freshman and sophomore years of high school, begin their NHI journeys.

Austin College was excited to welcome the NHI students back to campus for the 33rd year of Great Debate. Baylee Kowert, Vice President of Institutional Enrollment, welcomed the attendees in Nation’s theater to kick off their three day experience in developing their talents as leaders in their community. Mrs. Kowert shared “ that the NHI and Austin College missions are aligned as we both strive to support the essential work of educating and producing the next generation of enlightened, responsible, creative people with moral compasses who make democracy work.”

Excitement was in the air as preparations were underway for the grand return of the Texas Great Debate at Austin College’s Ida Green Theater. The stage was set for the 2023 chapter of this legendary competition by the official emcee, Isabella Sada-Nieto, who has experienced both Austin College as an NHI student and as a college student. Sada-Nieto highlighted the natural collaboration between the NHI and Austin College and noted the awe-inspiring synergy between the communities and the shared support for NHI’s mission. 

Sada-Nieto best summed up her experience with NHI and Austin College when she said, “The NHI culture isn’t usually replicable or found in other spaces. The typical NHIer is kind, curious, inspiring, and invested in their community. I wanted to be at a school that would encourage that culture. As an NHIer and a Roo, I feel that energy in both spaces. It was overwhelming for me to welcome high school freshmen to both of my homes at the same time. It’s a feeling I’ll never be able to fully explain but I’m thankful to say I belong to both communities. I will forever be grateful to NHI for introducing me to my school, and I will forever be thankful to my school for investing in people like me.”

Austin College took great pride in welcoming NHI students back to its campus this summer and looks forward to next summer. Michael Deen expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We have a long tradition of hosting the Texas Great Debate on our campus and always look forward to welcoming the best and brightest students to campus each summer. NHI exemplifies excellence and is mission centric which is why our partnership has endured over the years.”

The partnership between NHI and the Roo community fills members with pride. Isabella’s personal journey, from attending her own Great Debate and finding her voice to becoming a student at Austin College and discovering herself, exemplifies the transformative power of this collaboration.

For students interested in participating in the 2024 Texas Great Debate, applications can be submitted through the NHI website. The early admissions deadline is slated for early this fall. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this remarkable event and join the legacy of the Texas Great Debate.

Article by Bianca Rawlings.

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