Far West Texas recruiting begins; developing students into leaders

National Hispanic Institute

AUSTIN – The National Hispanic Institute, which will commemorate 40 years of developing leaders for the global Latino community in 2019, is announcing a Far West Texas recruiting initiative for its six-day 2019 Texas Star Great Debate program at Schreiner University next summer, scheduled for June 25-30.

The Texas Star Great Debate program, originally created for high school students with leadership potential who live outside Texas’s major metro areas, annually brings more than 100 high-performing students from around the state who see their potential to take on leadership roles in their communities once they’ve graduated from college.

The program, which moved to the Kerrville University this summer in part to serve West Texas and South Texas students, is part of the National Hispanic Institute’s slate of summer programs, geared for high school students who want to develop their voices, learn about the public policy process, prepare for the college application process, and become introduced to an inquiry-based learning process which has the potential to guide them through their lives.

“We are searching for forward-thinking 9th graders who are looking to enroll in college, and are looking beyond college with a dream to lead and make their communities better,” said NHI founder and president Ernesto Nieto. He notes that the organization has a long history of working with students from small towns.

“While it might be more common for military recruiters than college recruiters to come to small towns, we know from first-hand experience that West Texas students can and do excel at the college level and beyond. Small towns need leaders just as big cities do. The sooner high school students can see themselves taking on those responsibilities as adults, and the sooner we can work with them and help them find like-minded students to build life-long bonds with, the better.”

At the Great Debate program, students are introduced to modern-day Latino community themes and topics, research them, form teams, and are trained to compete in speech and debate contests — all within an immersive, six-day program which doubles as an introduction to college life.

“The training, the rehearsals, and the entire scenario are set to strengthen the student’s capacities to think in the abstract and manage language effectively,” said NHI Senior Vice President Julio Cotto. He noted that many NHI students show improved academic performance in school, increased self-confidence and self-reliance, and an increased willingness to invest in their own development after going through an NHI program.

A number of school districts provide financial support to students to fully or partially cover the $675 tuition cost, which covers food, housing, facilities, training staff, program materials, supplies, and administrative support services. The program is staffed by a team of adult and college-age staff members, in partnership with Schreiner University.

For more information on the Six Day Great Debate at Schreiner University, or the National Hispanic Institute, contact Cotto at [email protected] or 512.357.6137, or visit: