Great Debate Program Updates

(Updated on 5/7/2020)

On April 1, 2020, the NHI Board of Directors adopted a policy to move some of the programs to a digital learning experience (online programs). The board emphasized the importance of “adopting practices that are in accordance with the guidelines, regulations, and rules intended to protect the public from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure the safety and well-being of all of its participants, volunteers, and employees.” 

NHI is a highly innovative leadership institute with a committed core of volunteer leaders. We support all of our enrolled students, and will do everything possible to make the digital experiences incredible!


As ninth-grade students, we invite you to join an international experience dedicated to excellence and community leadership. The National Hispanic Institute (NHI) is dedicated to creating opportunities for self-reliant leadership in the lives of student leaders and community life. Since 1981, NHI has worked with over 95,000 high achieving students who aim to achieve their full potential as community leaders. We support experiences that allow youth to see themselves doing more than simply having a job in their future. Many of our alumni share that they see themselves as leaders, change-makers, and ultimately, value leaving a legacy.

NHI’s goal is for youth to increase their capacity to express thought, respond to intellectual challenges, work in organized endeavors, and compete against their top peers.  Through a leadership experience called the Great Debate, you can expect to:

  • Advance your communication skills
  • Manage yourself in a multicultural environment of students
  • Express your ideas among your peers
  • Increase your self-confidence in public speaking
  • Increase your capacities to think critically and analytically
  • Learn to use self-evaluation as a tool for improvement

Texas GDx Programs

(Texas & Texas Ambassador Great Debates)

Texas GDx 1
July 15-17, 2020

Texas GDx 2
August 5-7, 2020

(Scroll down to see a summer itinerary)

GDx Programs

(Northeast, Midwest, Mexico, Colorado, and Texas Star Great Debates)

GDx (NE/MW, TX, CO, & Int’l)
July 14-17 & 20-22, 2020

(Scroll down to see a summer itinerary)

Texas GDx Tentative Spring & Summer Calendar

The Texas GDx is a community-based 9th-grade leadership program of the National Hispanic Institute. Students in the list of communities below are organized into teams and compete in the following debate categories: Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, Mock Trial, and Cross Examination.

Texas GDx Regions:  Austin, Baytown, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, Rio Grande Valley (McAllen/Edinburg area), San Antonio, and Tip of Texas (Brownsville area).

Below is a tentative itinerary of what students may experience for the Texas GDx program. Confirmed students will receive a final itinerary two weeks prior to their Texas GDx program.

April-May

Students complete Spring Training on NHI’s Digital Learning Platform. In addition, students meet (digitally) with their local teams. Click here to see your local NHI volunteer.

June-July

NHI topics and revised GDx debate categories are released on June 1st. Regions organize local training workshops to prepare for the Texas GDx Debate Tournament.

Morning

The Texas GDx Educational Directors officially welcome regions and students on a live video conference channel as well as introduce the tournament staff, volunteers, and judges.

An official Texas GDx roll call is presented followed by a tournament rally.

Students receive a tournament overview that provides published debate times, digital debate structures, and judging.


Afternoon

Students participate in 1-3 debate rounds.

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.

Morning

The Texas GDx Educational Directors provide a tournament update and Day 2 overview on a live video conference channel.

Students participate in debate rounds 3 and 4.

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.


Afternoon

A live broadcast will be conducted to announce the Sweet 16 finalists followed by tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.

Students participate in the Sweet 16 debate rounds.

Students that did not advance in the Sweet 16 debate rounds will participate in the Texas GDx Challenge.

Morning

The Texas GDx Educational Directors provide a tournament update and Day 3 overview on a live video conference channel.

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.

Students finish the Sweet 16 rounds.

Texas GDx Challenge competition continues.

Final Debate rounds begin – Oratory and Cross Examination.


Afternoon

Final Debate rounds continue – Mock Trial, Extemporaneous Speaking, and the Texas GDx Challenge.

A live broadcast of the Texas GDx Awards Ceremony will be conducted.

Summer GDx Tentative Itinerary

This program is offered to students that intended to participate in one of the following Great Debate:  Midwest, Northeast, Colorado, Texas Star, and Mexico.

This year, NHI will make a special exception for first-time 10th or 11th students participating with NHI this summer.

Below is a tentative itinerary of what students may experience for the GDx program. Confirmed students will receive a final itinerary two weeks prior to their GDx program.

May

Students complete Spring Training on NHI’s Digital Learning Platform to better prepare for the summer GDx program.

June-July

GDx participants will be assigned cohorts and meet program staff and volunteers.

Morning

The GDx Educational Directors officially welcome students on a live video conference channel as well as introduce the head coaches, volunteers, and tournament staff.

Team selections are announced by the GDx Head Coaches.

Team huddle and GDx Challenge #1.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

The GDx Educational Directors provide additional program structure and learning goals.

Presentation of GDx Challenge #1 team projects.

Team huddle and GDx Challenge #2.

Presentation of GDx Challenge #2 team projects.

Team Huddle to debrief and plan for Day 2.

Morning

The GDx Educational Directors provide program overview and schedule

GDx skills workshops.

Team huddle and GDx Challenges.

Presentation of GDx Challenge team projects.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

GDx skills workshops.

Team huddle and GDx Challenges.

Presentation of GDx Challenge team projects.

Team Huddle to debrief and plan for the following day.

Morning

The GDx Educational Directors provide a program overview and daily schedule.

Team huddle and GDx Challenge.

Presentation of GDx Challenge team projects.

Presentation of GDx debate categories and topics.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

Team huddle to review debate topics and categories.

Submission of official GDx rosters followed by a presentation of debate category participants.

Team huddle for final debrief.

Saturday & Sunday are for independent work. No official GDx scheduled events.

Morning

The GDx Educational Directors provide a daily program overview.

Team huddle and debate competition preparation.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

The GDx Educational Directors host a Tournament Rally, introduce judges, and provide instructions for debate rounds.

GDx Tournament “mock” debate round.

Team huddle and preparation for GDx Debate Tournament.

Morning

Official GDx Debate Tournament welcome and overview.

Students participate in 2 debate rounds.

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.

Students participate in debate rounds 3 & 4.

Sweet 16 Finalists announcement.

Team huddle and preparation for day 2 of the GDx Debate Tournament.

Morning

A live broadcast will be conducted that provides tournament updates, student interviews, and student-created projects.

Students participate in the Sweet 16 debate rounds.

N0n-Sweet 16 students participate in the GDx Challenge Competition.


[2-3 Hour Lunch Break]


Afternoon

A live broadcast will be conducted of the Final Debates followed by the GDx Awards Ceremony.

How to become a Great Debate Participant

If you are a 9th Grade (Class of 2022) student and have at least a 3.0 (unweighted)/3.8 (weighted) or 85/100 GPA, with intentions of attending college, then you qualify for admission. *PLEASE NOTE THAT SPACE IS LIMITED. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO APPLY IMMEDIATELY TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE IN THE PROGRAM SITE OF YOUR CHOICE*! 1. Applying is just the first step. You can download an application form by clicking here or you can apply online here. 2. Once we receive the application, verification of your grades and the application processing fee of $20 you will get notification of admission to the Great Debate. From there you will work with an NHI representative on making arrangements for tuition and capturing othehttps://www.nationalhispanicinstitute.org/apply/ release forms and travel information. 3. In the Spring semester, you will be sent pre-conference reading materials, a briefing book, and debate themes.

How Much Does The Great Debate Cost?

Depending on the region of the country and university host, the Great Debate is estimated to cost $2,000-$2,500 per student. The good news is that your expected family/school contribution is only $675 plus a $20 application fee. This program tuition includes Security Deposit ($150). Many wonder, “How is this program more affordable when other leadership conferences charge as much as $2,000 for 8-days?” The answer is simple. Our university partners underwrite a large portion of the conference host costs so that we can reduce the program tuition for youth. NHI also has a team of annual team of investors and volunteers who contribute resources and donate their time. Together these resources help make the NHI tuition more accessible to families and school entities. In addition, applying early gives you more time to find resources for transportation.

The Great Debate tuition is $675 plus a $20 application fee. NHI’s cost reductions are built into the tuition.

Great Debate Financial Outlook
$2,025 Total 2020 Great Debate Program Costs
– $1,350 NHI Investment, Host University Partners, and Volunteer Contribution                   
= $675 NHI Great Debate Tuition (Family or Sponsor contribution)

All NHI programs require a $20 application fee that is not part of the student tuition.

Can I Fundraise?

As you read above, the Great Debate would be much more expensive if NHI charged families for services that the university and volunteers provide. To make it even more accessible, half of NHI participants do fundraising or find a school or community sponsor. NHI provides you all of the tools necessary to raise even a small portion of your tuition.

School Sponsorship

Some students work as a group to raise money or are assisted by a school club or administrator to get some portion of their tuition covered. At times families may petition their administrators or school districts for assistance. Different school-based programs that have supported NHI students in the past include: AVID, GEAR UP, Federal Programs, College Access/Readiness, Talent Search, Upward Bound and Migrant Education.

Community Sponsorship

NHI provides sponsor letters in English and Spanish that can be shared with community organizations and businesses. The intent of the letter is to explain the importance of investing in our future leaders, and that the young person seeking support is a college-bound student. It also explains the tax benefits they can receive by donating to NHI as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the United States. You can download this letter under our Fundraising Resources Page.

You might want to visit local businesses that you and your family frequent. Other times your parent’s employer may be able to invest and there are many nonprofit organizations that set aside dollars to support youth endeavors. Try looking up your local Hispanic/Latino Chamber of Commerce, groups like LULAC, ALPFA, SHPE, and even Latino resource groups within major companies in your town like Verizon, Seton, Coca Cola, IBM, Exxon, and others.

Fundraising

Not that different from little league or everyone chipping in for a quinceañera, many NHI students raise their tuition by joining forces with family members, friends, and supporters. NHI provides an online tool that allows individuals to contribute as little as $5.00 to your program tuition. With just a few minutes and clicks, you as an admitted student can customize a free fundraising site and share it with close friends. Also, students can work with their parents and other supportive adults to tap their networks. You can choose to be creative with your campaign to make it special. Afterward, make sure to thank all your investors and let them know how you enjoyed the Great Debate experience with a photo! Set up your fundraising page here.

Contact Information:

Julio Irving Cotto, NHI Senior Vice President
jcotto@nhimail.com; (512) 357 – 6137 ext. 211

Glossary

Briefing Book – In the Spring, a month before the program you will receive a final briefing packet. Included in this information is a schedule, university map, program details, packing lists, biographies on the site directors, information on the local host institution and local area, as well as health, safety, and security details. There is a briefing book that is specific to Great Debate.

Education Director – NHI’s faculty is made up of home office team members but primarily a certified and trained corps of alumni professionals. Annually, NHI alumni are nominated or appointed and undergo several sessions of advanced training in organizational dynamics, the Institute’s learning theory and pedagogy, and the study of community leadership as well as the Latino community. Education Directors are also undergo training and coursework in sexual abuse prevention as well as receive a full background check. Their certifications are renewed annually with NHI’s home office. Normally, pairs of Education Directors are mobilized to lead and direct each NHI summer learning experience.

Family Contribution – NHI learning experiences like most camps, retreats, conferences, and seminars have associated costs and financial obligations. Long ago, NHI ventured into this work by collaborating with university partners and community supporters to make the experiences more accessible to students. The Great Debate alone would cost $2,000 on average if it were not for the investments made by our host institutions and team of volunteers. The tuition or family contribution for each experience reflects approximately one third of the total costs. In some cases, students qualify for support from their schools or school district. In many cases, students will employ NHI’s sponsor program or on-line based fundraising tool to marshal their family contribution. Remember, two thirds of the program’s expenses and costs are never passed on to you. We will work a reasonable plan or fundraising program to help you with your family contribution.

Tuition – NHI programs have costs associated with ensuring a quality learning summer experience. Like most weeklong leadership “camps” or “conferences,” the Great Debate’s full costs run between $2,000 to $2,500 per student. NHI tuition is much lower than the full cost because many expenses underwrite by university partners, alumni donors, sponsors, and volunteers. The tuition includes meals, materials, housing and the course. It does not include the Third Reality (approx. $15) reading material, one meal and spending money. It does not include transportation to the host university. NHI does offer local pick up and drop off services to the airport, bus or train station for approximately US$40 when students arrive within a particular time frame. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, NHI tuition contributions from donors and sponsors are tax deductible. Ask your accountant how it might apply to you.