NHI in the Heartland: Recruiting in Iowa and Nebraska
In an effort to grow the National Hispanic Institute’s influence in an increasingly-important part of the United States for Latinos, Zachary Gonzalez embarked on a recruiting trip to Nebraska and Iowa earlier this month. In Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city, Gonzalez built upon the foundations that NHI has established via its relationship with Creighton Preparatory School. In Marshalltown, Iowa—40 miles east of Ames and 50 miles northeast of Des Moines—Gonzalez confirmed a contingent of ten students who will be headed to this summer’s Midwest Great Debate at Augustana College in the Quad Cities.
Gonzalez also got to take to the airwaves as part of the trip, on a surprise invitation to be interviewed for a show on Radio Lobo, a Spanish-language radio station affiliated with Telemundo. (Click here to hear the interview on NHI’s Soundcloud page.)
“Omaha is one of the most special communities where the National Hispanic Institute carries out its work,” Gonzalez said. “It counts with a rapidly growing Latino population and caring leaders like Jim Swanson.”
Swanson, NHI’s 2014 Counselor of the Year award recipient, has been a supporter of NHI since the late ’90s, as he put it, “after watching a number of our students return from LDZ and find renewed energy and fire to make the most of their education.” Swanson was particularly impressed by how NHI connected students to their Latino heritage.
“Jim opened the doors to a world of opportunities for the Institute to connect with countless university leaders, city officials, education policy makers, media outlets, families, and students,” Gonzalez noted. “In doing so, NHI strengthened its footprint in Nebraska’s largest city and one of the most important cities for the future of the Midwest Latino Community.” In particular, the trip built on the existing ties to Creighton Prep, which has recently produced students like Irving Delgado, now attending the University of Notre Dame, who attended the Midwest Great Debate, National LDZ, and International CWS in his time at Creighton Prep.
Swanson observed, of Gonzalez’s recruiting visit, “He met with many people, including the head of the board of the Omaha Public Schools. He is a go-getter. I know that my students were positively impacted by his visit,” adding that he expects some of the students—from a tour that included Creighton Prep, Duchesne Academy, Mercy High School, and Papillion La Vista High School—to enroll in NHI programs this coming summer.
Gonzalez’s recruiting trip also took him to Iowa, where he received commitments from ten Marshalltown High School students for this year’s upcoming Midwest Great Debate, extending an ongoing relationship NHI has with the school.