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Colorado LDZ brings nearly 200 students to Colorado State as part of 35-year tradition

2024 Colorado LDZ Supreme Court
Posted: June 28, 2024 at 4:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

In 1989, the National Hispanic Institute and Colorado State University began a partnership that’s evolved over 35 years into presenting one of NHI’s anchor legislative programs for high school students.

The 2024 edition of the Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala (LDZ) Youth Legislation Session drew nearly 200 top-performing high school students to Colorado State University for the annual event. Students come together to form political parties, run for office, and attempt to pass legislation in an intensive, eight-day, fully immersive educational program geared to growing Latino leaders throughout the U.S. and across the Americas.

Catalina Berry, the program’s education director, noted, “It was a good diverse group of individuals. And it was nice seeing them challenge the system, asking a lot of questions and being very eager to learn. It was really beautiful to witness. We are still receiving messages talking about how this has completely changed their lives, and how they have a new family, and how impactful the program was for them.”

Lucia Delgado, Director of College Access at Colorado State University, told students, “We are very privileged to host all of you every year. It doesn’t just add a level of richness to the community or to the university. You all add a level of richness to Fort Collins and the state of Colorado. The leadership that you bring and demonstrate, not only in these seven or eight days, makes a difference. You carry with you a sense of pride that I hope you not only will cherish, but that you will carry in your future.”

She added, “You are now part of the legacy that has been instrumental in the creation of this Colorado State and LDZ partnership … so please recognize that your legacy is not a small one. You’re making a difference not only in your own lives, but in the lives of the folks that come after you.”

Matthew Lopez, from Pieper High School in San Antonio, Texas, said, “I strengthened my bond with my brothers from high school, and on the way, I’ve made a lot of new friends, and honestly, it’s just changed me as a person overall.”

Maria Jaquez, a student from Wellington, Colorado, added, “When I got there, I was a really shy person, and I couldn’t speak in front of a lot of people. So during my time here, I learned how to advocate for not only myself, but also my community.”

Top elected officials from the program included:

  • Governor: Montse Cedillo, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas
  • Lieutenant Governor: Isabella Guerrero, Providence Catholic School, San Antonio, Texas
  • Speaker of the House: Manuel Treviño, Prepa Tec Campus Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, Mexico
  • Supreme Court Chief Justice: Audrey Williams, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, San Antonio, Texas

Award winners for the program include:

Outstanding Legislator (House)

Hoku Grijalva, Advanced Technologies Academy, North Las Vegas, Nevada

Best Debater (House)

Liana Lopez, San Marcos High School, San Marcos, Texas

Most Persuasive Representative

Hayden Pirela, Delta High School, Delta, Colorado

Most Distinguished Representative

Isabella Molina, DSST: Conservatory Green High School, Denver, Colorado

Best Author of a Resolution (Senate)

Sofia Nava, John F. Kennedy the American School of Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico

Outstanding Legislator (Senate)

Olivia Suess, Shadow Creek High School, Pearland, Texas

Best Debater (Senate)

Alex McClintock, Laguna Blanca School, Santa Barbara, California

Most Persuasive Senator

Christian Gamboa, YES Prep East End, Houston, Texas

Most Distinguished Senator

Penelope Davila, Health Careers High School, San Antonio, Texas

Best Orator

Emma Sassenfeld, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas

Most Outstanding Member of the Supreme Court

Marius Bonds, Central Catholic High School, San Antonio, Texas

Most Distinguished Attorney

Lorena Cabral, John F. Kennedy the American School of Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico

Top Attorney Team

Chloe Duchoiquette, El Paso High School, El Paso, Texas and Emma Sassenfeld, Coronado High School, El Paso, Texas

The program was made possible in part by support from Sands and Walmart.

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