Immigration will be among the topics discussed by 150 top Latino high school students this week as they participate in the National Hispanic Institute’s 17th Annual Colorado Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, June 18-25.
The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session, which is sponsored by and held on the Colorado State University campus, is a week-long conference where students engage in a mock legislative process and judicial hearings that examine the challenges Hispanic communities face. Students representing primarily Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona will be in attendance.
"This session challenges students to examine their cultural ties and understanding of the Latino community and encourages them to become involved," said Varo Maldonado, conference coordinator and associate director of admissions at Colorado State. "All participants emerge with a new understanding of how they can shape their future and that of the Latino community by having a better understanding of the political system."
Ernesto Nieto, executive director of the National Hispanic Institute, founded the non-profit organization in 1979 as a way to encourage young Latino students to enhance their leadership abilities and actively participate in their community. The event gives high school sophomores and juniors a chance to improve their skills in public speaking, organizational management and constituency building.
The weeklong session features activities that include a general convention; senate and Supreme Court speeches; legislative sessions; Supreme Court trials; and committee hearings. Students will campaign for elected positions such as governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, senators, or one of nine Supreme Court justice positions.
Colorado State and the National Hispanic Institute have co-hosted this event since 1990. To qualify, students must have a 3.2 grade-point average or above and must be enrolled in a college-bound high school curriculum.
High school students who will be entering their sophomore or junior year next school year and are interested in participating in next year’s conference should contact Varo Maldonado in the Office of Admissions at Colorado State, (970) 491-6311.