First GDx programs launch with inspirational opening ceremonies
This story is by Tomas Miriti Pacheco.
One of the National Hispanic Institute’s most celebrated leadership education programs is underway in its new online format. The Great Debate traditionally marks the beginning of another generation of NHIers’ journey, starting with the leadership skills they will develop this week, enduring through their careers and communities, for the rest of their lives
On Monday morning, NHI held its opening ceremonies for the GDx Communities program, which brings traditional programs like the Midwest Great Debate and Northeast Great Debate, as well as newer entries like the Colorado Great Debate and the Mexico Great Debate, under one banner.
And on Tuesday morning, NHI launched its long-standing Texas Great Debate program in its GDx format, with teams from Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Tip of Texas facing off in a rivalry that spans more than three decades.
Each of the ceremonies took special care to honor the competition at the heart of the program. In a welcoming message for the Texas GDx, NHI president and founder Ernesto Nieto highlighted the importance of this approach. “As a competitive experience, it provides you with a window through which you can see and measure your abilities alongside like-minded peers in your same grade level, who have very similar aspirations about going to college. Leading, staying in the middle of the pack, or trailing way behind has little to do with your competitors but instead how well you prepared, how much time you spent in understanding the requirements of your category, how much you invested in your preparation.”
The opening ceremonies for each of these programs serve to center participants on their goals and celebrate the teamwork that will support them through their effort to meet those requirements.
“I was inspired by the messages spoken during the opening ceremonies, and was even more excited when I met my team of smart, kind, and capable individuals,” said Santi Benbow, a GDx Communities competitor from Westtown School in West Chester, Penn.
“The opening ceremony was absolutely thrilling and welcoming, said Jonathan Isla Rampagoa from Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, New York. As soon as I entered, the background music created an amusing and exciting vibe. The introduction, led by the Founders, followed by the Associate Educational Directors, and then Head Coaches instilled a sense of relief in knowing I’ll be surrounded with amazing staff to guide me as a first-time participant in a newly-established digital experience.”
“The opening ceremony was very interesting,” said Guillermo Gómez Blanco, who attends Instituto de Ciencias in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. “It was also very inspiring and motivational, to new experiences of learning and to share my opinions from people from all over America. I really enjoyed meeting the coaches and peers for this period of training and beyond the GDx.”
“I look forward most to learn from all the participants in the GDx, and to collaborate in the future creation of a safe and just environment in our societies,” he added. “I would like to create and promote solutions for a better social community.”
The GDx Communities opening ceremony included remarks from its Educational Director Andrew Peréz, and the introduction of the head coaches, who prepared short videos showcasing their excitement for the programming to follow. The ceremony did justice to the moment’s importance, and the staff’s festivity promises days of enthusiastic engagement.
Similarly, the opening ceremony of the Texas GDx featured colorful and creative flags designed by each of the regional teams.
Addressing participants of both programs, Julio Cotto, Senior Vice President over Education and Training, looked hopefully towards the future. “Take stock of your skills,” he encouraged the participants. “Go and make sure you look back at where you started, and where you are today, and where you’re going to be tomorrow, because one thing we know we’re confident about is that after this experience, the world will benefit from a whole new core of digitally-trained communicators that are going to have a positive influence on the world of the future.”
The GDx programs are presented in part by State Farm and Union Pacific.