NHI kicks off largest Celebracion since 2015, with largest CWS cohort ever
The early buzzword for the 2018 edition of Celebración, which kicked off Thursday night in San Marcos, Texas, is big.
Big as in the largest program since the Dallas-hosted 2015 edition of the event, with nearly 450 students from across the United States, Mexico and Panamá converging on Central Texas to learn more about their capacities. Celebración is designed this year for students to build directly upon what they learned at summer programs, while integrating branding, social media and online platform content creation.
“I want to be wowed by what you come up with this weekend,” Kristina Tusini told her 180-student-strong Great Debate cohort in a Thursday night session as they began preparations for the competition to follow. “By the time I hear all your great ideas, I want my head to explode,” she enthused, rallying the students.
The program includes a record number of CWS students, with nearly 100 final-year summer leadership series students in the mix, joining a typically robust LDZ contingent of about 160 students.
“It’s just the residue of a really powerful summer,” said NHI Senior Vice President Julio Cotto, overseeing this year’s curriculum. “I think we did a better job this summer of letting students know Celebración is the natural next step. It’s becoming the program where, if you want to become part of the organization for the long-haul, if you want to be an active member, Cele is the gathering of those individuals. The most active, day-to-day members of the organization are being sourced out of Cele. For these students, NHI is more than just summer. It’s year-round.”
Cotto notes that this year’s programs are anchored in refreshing the skill sets they worked on in their summer programs, taking the unifying Cele concept for branding and branding campaigns, allowing students to learn how those work by beginning with what they learned just a few months prior.
The social media and digital messaging facet of the program is an acknowledgment that the students — though now part of an organization beginning its 40th year of work to develop leaders for the growing, global Latino community — are now doing so within a computer and smartphone-driven age. Cotto notes that this innovation, debuting at last year’s Celebración, was praised by students when organizers solicited feedback for the weekend program.
Celebración 2018 is sponsored in part by State Farm.