Impressive Midwest Great Debaters Wrap Up Program at Augustana
Students from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and Lake County in Illinois led an impressive field of students at the Midwest Great Debate, which wrapped up with finals yesterday and this morning’s Closing Ceremonies.
Of the teams formed at the start of the week, The Power House won the competition, with La Familia Unida in 2nd and Superior Potentia in 3rd. Each of the top three teams had first place in at least one of the categories.
Winners in the individual categories included:
1st Place, Juliana Chapa, IDEA Quest College Preparatory, Edinburg, Texas (The Power House)
2nd Place, Yailyn Segura, IDEA Weslaco College Preparatory, Weslaco, Texas (Lxs Vatxs Locxs)
All State, Itzel Valenciano, Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Illinois (The Power House)
1st Place, Paige Terronez, Bettendorf HS, Bettendorf, Iowa and Noelia Rivera, Argo Community HS, Summit, Illinois (La Familia Unida)
2nd Place, Roxanna Mares, IDEA Frontier College Preparatory, Brownsville, Texas and Adrian Guzman, Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Illinois (Latino Warriors)
All State Leader, Dana Castilla, Highland Park HS, Highland Park, Illinois (The Power House)
All State Member, Carolina Guzman, IDEA GU Pharr College Preparatory, Pharr, Texas (Fuego Feroz)
1st Place, Luis Rodolfo, IDEA GU Pharr College Preparatory, Pharr, Texas (Superior Potentia)
2nd Place, Santiago Currea Perea, Warren Township HS, Gurnee, Illinois (Manus Atlas)
All State, Erick Chavarria Flores, IDEA GU Pharr College Preparatory, Pharr, Texas (Superior Potentia)
1st Place, Natalia Medina, Palatine HS, Palatine, Illinois, and Samantha Bonilla, Warren Township HS, Gurnee, Illinois (La Familia Unida)
2nd Place, Gabriel Ferrer, Grant Community HS, Fox Lake, Illinois, and Wendy Benitez, Argo Community HS, Summit, Illinois (Fuego Feroz)
All State Attorney, Bethany Cardenas, Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Illinois (Manus Atlas)
All State Witness, Ethan Cuellar, Grant Community HS, Fox Lake, Illinois (Manus Atlas)
In addition, Ezequiel Rosales of Argo Community HS won the Hall of Fame Award, and the Superior Potentia team won the Atheneum.
A number of the people helping run the program were impressed with what they saw from this year’s students. Emilio Balderas, Head Coach and John F. Lopez Fellow, said, “I learned perseverance from my students. They worked very hard and kept trying to improve when they would lose. They really showed me what hard work looks like. We formed connections but most importantly we formed a familia.”
Head Coach Christopher Fonseca added, “These kids are really the future of my life and the rest of the community. Just getting to see these kids prosper and open up their shells is very rewarding.”
Students were similarly impressed with their initial NHI experiences. “I never knew I had confidence in myself,” said Carolina Guzman. “I wasn’t able to speak my mind. Now I realize I have so much potential. Before I wouldn’t have spoken to you but now I’m all for it.”
“NHI helped me grow as a person,” Eric Alonzo of North Chicago High School added. “I used to think its all about winning. I didn’t like losing. It taught me it’s about improving when you don’t win.”
A number of the Lake County students attended the Midwest Great Debate funded through Kerr Foundation scholarships.