“A Special Place”: Saint Leo key to International CWS Success
The first-ever International Collegiate World Series (CWS) concluded at Saint Leo University on July 2, and organizers from the National Hispanic Institute are encouraged by the developing partnership.
“Saint Leo University is an institution that truly lives by its core values: excellence, community, respect, personal development, responsible stewardship and integrity,” said Zachary Gonzalez, director of the Collegiate World Series program series. “It’s a special place to host the International Collegiate World Series and we look forward to expanding our efforts with the university to make a positive impact throughout the state of Florida and beyond.”
“NHI never fails to deliver me the most humbling experiences as a staff member,” added Olivia Sponsler, a University of Northern Colorado student who helped NHI bring the event to Saint Leo. “Watching this group develop themselves as thoughtful and innovative decision makers was unforgettable. I am confident knowing the future is in their hands.”
The program, made possible in part by sponsorship from DishLATINO, State Farm, and Union Pacific, involved more than 100 students from across the United States and — true to its title — an international contingent of students from the Dominican Republic and Panama.
In the first of two competitions during the week, a team of students representing Florida International University (and coached by a mentor from the university) triumphed.
In the second of two competitions, the inquiry-based learning (IBL) challenge, the team coached by Sponsler won. The roster included:
Alexa Alvarez Lopez, South Texas Business, Education, and Technology Academy, McAllen, Texas
Caselda Aquines, Pasadena Memorial High School, Pasadena, Texas
Sandy Mariel Colmenares, Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Ill.
Alondra De La Torre, Argo Community High School, Summit, Ill.
Lauren Victoria Esparza, Loretto Academy, El Paso, Texas
Xavier Rodrigues Herrmann, Vista Ridge High School, Cedar Park, Texas
Marianne Ibarra, Strawberry Crest High School, Dover, Fla.
Maria Maynard, McNeil High School, Austin, Texas
Julia Montgomery, Seguin High School, Seguin, Texas
Lindsey Elizabeth Shank, Rosary High School, Fullerton, Calif.
Carlos De La Torre was named the 2017 International CWS Valedictorian. De La Torre is the first CWS Valedictorian from Argo Community High School in Summit, Illinois, where the late Chris Pluta, responsible for much of NHI’s growth in the Midwest, initiated his efforts to build that foundation.
“This was our largest team to gather and conduct the Collegiate World Series in Florida,” said Educational Director Marc Nieto. “It’s great to see the conference continuing to grow as we prepare for a new future with young men and women.”