The Alice High School National Hispanic Institute team – the Audacious Leaders of Alice (ALA) – is asking for monetary support from the community to help fund their organization so they can attend this year’s Texas Great Debate at Texas A&M University - Kingsville this June.

“Our team has won the competition every year,” ALA head coach Victoria Guerra said.

The Texas Great Debate is a freshmen-only debate competition, split into four categories, where participating students have been coached by fellow sophomore, junior and senior students who have previously gone through the program.

“We have an adult sponsor, but we as students are the coaches and we teach the kids all on our own,” Guerra said. “We don’t have any adult help with that.”

Guerra said from mid-April to the competition, the students get together every Sunday to train.

Guerra said that while it is a debate competition, the real benefit of the event is in how it helps students get out of their shells and develop people and leadership skills.

She said the organization has been sponsored by Texas GEAR UP in the past, but this year the students will have to pay a tuition to enter the competition.

“We’re trying to get our team and our name known in the community so that we can get as much financial help as possible,” Guerra said. “We send 25 kids every year and we want to send 25 more freshmen this year.”

Guerra said the tuition for the event is about $400 per student.

“We just want any kind of help we can get,” she said. “Any money we receive will be split evenly between all the students. We want them to pay as little as possible.”

The National Hispanic Institute is a national and international organization that allows students in high school and college to improve their teamwork and leadership skills as they strive to become future community leaders.

Guerra said the ALA has more than 60 alumni members from sophomores to college freshmen who are still active in the organization.

“Everyone that has been a part of this organization is very happy to have done it,” she said. “It opens so many doors not only to build their people skills but to build connections to people all over the world.”

The Texas Great Debate will be at TAMUK from June 21 to 26. To donate to the AHS National Hispanic Institute team, contact sponsor Ron Burke at Alice High School at 664-0126.