Team Proposing Student-Mentor Pairing via Website Wins Celebracion
At tonight’s Celebración finals at the McAllen Convention Center, the LIT team (representing the Yellow group comprised of a third of the more than 350 participants) won the competition over worthy rivals thanks to what their leader described as thoughtfulness and hard work.
In a new wrinkle to this year’s Celebración competition, three competing cohorts had to generate, prepare, and propose an idea that promotes the National Hispanic Institute’s aim for cultivating Latino Leaders through Community Social Entrepreneurship’s four-part equation: Promoting a social good, making it a social venture, creating a business model for how it could realistically happen, and having some way to evaluate its success.
In bilingual group presentations, the top teams from each of the three cohorts packed their ideas into dynamic five-minute sales pitches.
The Green group presented first, showcasing Tiango, a smartphone app concept aiming to pair Latino small businesses with young Latino professionals as “the future of the Latino marketplace.”
The Orange group conceived of the LATINO Center (Leadership Appreciation Through Inspiring New Opportunities), a multi-story facility with auditorium and classroom space allowing young Latinos to learn, debate, and present.
The Yellow group forwarded the idea of LIT (Latino Innovators of Today), a website-based mentorship program that would allow Latino high school students considering myriad fields to connect with Latino professionals in those fields.
“This was a very thoughtful team with a very thoughtful leader,” said Kristina Tusini, who led the Yellow team through three days of preparation for the finals. “They worked during breaks and during lunch as well as during our sessions. Their commitment was definitely there.”
“We’re learning different things here than we’re learning in the classroom,” said Arianne Ontiveros, of El Paso High School, a member of the winning LIT team. “We’re learning a lot about critical thinking, and we’ve learned how to collaborate.”
Many of her teammates echoed the critical thinking aspect of the program, and they all marveled at their ability to work together. “We meshed perfectly by the end of the week,” noted Naomi Padron, from IDEA Frontier College Prep in Brownsville, Texas.
Antonio Morin, from Holy Cross High School in San Antonio, noted that this year’s program surpassed last year’s in fostering teamwork. “NHI brings a different diversity than most programs,” he said. “There are people here from all over the Western Hemisphere.”