2018 California LDZ draws diverse, bilingual group to San Diego
The 2018 California LDZ brought a unique group of nearly 175 students to the University of San Diego last week, as part of a successful ongoing program that features arguably the most bilingual group of students to an NHI program. Staff members estimate that 75 percent of the students — primarily from California, Texas, and Arizona, but featuring students traveling from as far as Chicago, Seattle, Caldwell, Idaho, and Torreon and Queretaro, Mexico — speak both English and Spanish.
Alessandro Loia, Speaker of the House, from LASA in Austin, Texas, said, “It has been very inspiring for me to see my fellow members of the House share their ideas for proposals,” noting that they intersected expertly with the social labeling theme of the session. Loia was drawn to the California LDZ in part because he was born in the state; also, he felt this program afforded him a chance “to get new ideas and meet new people.”
Jacob Magallenes, from Cathedral High School El Paso, Texas, served as Governor for the 2018 California LDZ; he said that he ran for Governor, in part, to step out of his comfort zone. “I wanted to see what kind of person I could really be. I wanted to be leading the community. Leadership means a lot to me; I’m still learning about it today, and I’m going to be learning about it for the rest of my life. It means using my voice to guide a group of individuals.”
El Paso had a particularly impressive showing at the event — in addition to Magallenes winning the Governorship, Leah Pinon, of Pebble Hills HS, was elected Lieutenant Governor, and Dinorah Lopez, of Loretto Academy was the only student to have a bill passed.
Her “Getting to Know Us” bill, as she conceived it, was for “a TV show to tell the stories of Latinos, it’s going to explain our culture … our history … but not in a documentary way. It’ll use animation, be colorful, and super-entertaining, an eye-catching sort of thing so people will actually pay attention.” Lopez first learned about NHI through a presentation at her well-represented school.
The program also got notice from Univision, which ran a feature story on the event on its popular Despierta America program.