NHI gives the gift of inspiration this holiday season

Noche Navideña brings club members, family, alumni and faculty together to learn

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NHI gives the gift of inspiration this holiday season

Attendee's of the NHI event

Attendee's of the NHI event "Noche Navideña"

Brian Waterman Twitter

Attendee's of the NHI event "Noche Navideña"

Brian Waterman Twitter

Brian Waterman Twitter

Attendee's of the NHI event "Noche Navideña"

Travis Morales, Freelance Writer

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The sight of juicy steak and chicken fajitas combined with sweet churros is only a sliver of what Noche Navideña—or Christmas Night in English—offered on Dec. 7. For the second year in a row, LT students, faculty and the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) club came together to truly learn about the impact of NHI.

In comparison to last year, this year was not exclusively targeting only the members of NHI: for 2018, Noche Navideña also included the LT community and club members’ friends and family. NHI President Iris Quintero ’19 stressed the importance of bringing their families together and this year’s attempts to bring greater awareness to the club.

“We are a very family-oriented organization and enjoy having our parents know what we are doing throughout the year,” Quintero said.

While trying to grow internally, the club is also focused on expanding their growth outside of the Hispanic community. Last year, the event was mainly limited to NHI members and their families.

“I think getting the school more involved is helping us to grow as a club and is giving us [the] recognition that I believe we do deserve,” Quintero said.

The night began with a reception as attendees enjoyed authentic Hispanic food. Following the dinner, three guest speakers provided insight on their journey to success as Hispanic Americans.

LT alum Mario Monrroya ’13 spoke on the effects NHI had on his life and on students today.

“It has given me the tools and accomplishments that I’ve been able to use to succeed. Each year that these students participate in NHI they gain a new aspect in order to succeed in the game of life,” Monrroya said.

Monrroya, currently a science teacher at the Morton Freshman Center in Cicero transferred to LT and did not start NHI until his junior year. When first asked to join the club, Monrroya pushed it aside and did not think much of it.

“I brushed it off, I really did not think I’d like it,” Monrroya said.

When he finally did join, he quickly realized that the club was more than just a group of people talking about social issues.

“It gave me confidence and [the ability] to use my voice in order to motivate a room,” Monrroya said.

Monrroya also has his sights set on moving up the NHI ranks and eventually work for the headquarters in Maxwell, Texas. However, he will never lose sight of where it all began at LT.

“Without LT NHI, I probably would not be the person I am today,” Monrroya said.

Quintero was pleased with the level of involvement of the night’s event and is optimistic for the future of Noche Navideña.

“Overall, it was really successful. We had a greater turnout than last year. We are hoping to make it a tradition now,” Quintero said.

The night ended with the performance of Chicagoland’s only all-female Mariachi band, the Mariachi Siernas.

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