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Hundreds of High Schoolers Compete at NHI Annual Great Debate

Image of students in blue shirts at Great DebateHundreds of ninth-graders from schools across Texas rallied together at the opening ceremony of the National Hispanic Institute’s (NHI) Great Debate on Thursday, July 27 at the University Teaching Center. The excitement in the air was palpable as they chanted their school fight songs, waved flags and danced with glow sticks.

image of Emmet Campos at Great DebateWhile staying in Jester Residence Hall, the students get to experience the life of a college student and explore the many sites around campus. In his welcome speech, Dr. Emmet Campos, director of the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color and Project MALES, addressed the unique challenges facing young students of color in higher education, encouraging his audience to push past their barriers and continue down the college-bound path.

image of two girls talking Now in its 10th year at UT Austin, the Great Debate gives about 300 high school freshmen the opportunity to test and improve written and verbal communication skills through organized discussions and debates about issues that impact today’s Latino community. Students gain experience creating content-rich arguments, communicating them through powerful, eloquent expression and carefully analyzing the arguments presented by their peers.

image of students waving a flag and shoutingA key partner of the DDCE, the NHI is an international youth organization dedicated to excellence and community leadership. This collaboration is one of the many ways DDCE partners with organizations to support student programs while continuing to enrich the university’s community relations.

Find more photos from the 2017 Great Debate on Flickr.