Whittier Students Compete in Hispanic College Quiz

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who is known as the Great Liberator of Latin America?

What year was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed?

Which Central American country gained its independence from Spain on September 15, 1821?

These, and even more challenging queries into Latin American history, were the type of questions posed to the four Whittier College students who recently participated in the first "Know Your Heritage: Hispanic College Quiz." Going up against students from seven other private and public colleges and universities, the Poets knowledgeably answered enough questions to qualify them as somewhat experts in the field.

"Our students had only about a month to prepare for this contest, yet they dedicated themselves diligently, even forgoing their spring break, to study," said Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger. "Their superior showing during the game show attests to the great spirit and determination of Whittier College students."

Lynnzi N. Brianza ‘09, Jose Ceniceros ’08, Diana Mateos ’08, Jessica R. Santoyo ‘08, and Lauren A. Vargas ’08 made up the Poet team. Four students participated in the contest and one was an alternate.

"It was pretty nerve racking right before our first game, mostly because I just really didn't want to come out on television," said Mateos after the game. "But, after the first game my angst started to slowly die off since I was really focused on answering the questions."

The participating teams were all from member institutions of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), schools with at least 25% Latino student enrollment. Neighboring schools, East Los Angeles College and San Diego State made up the California contingent along with Whittier College. Other colleges included Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ; University of Houston, Victoria, TX; New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM; Our Lady of Lake University, San Antonio, TX; and City Colle ges of Chicago, Chicago, Il.

According to show producers, the intent of the series is to promote positive images of Latino students on television and to foster a greater knowledge of Latino culture by sharing information about it. At the same time, the producers hope to inspire people of all ages to have an appreciation for what Latinos have contributed to the United States.

"At Whittier College we place a great importance on diversity and cultural exchange, so it is fitting for our students to participate in an event like this," says Luz Maria Galbreath, director of the Ortiz Programs at Whittier College. Galbreath coordinated the Whittier team. "It is important for our students to truly understand Latino heritage and how Latinos shaped this continent."

The Poets traveled to Chicago in early April to tape the program. The game was hosted by NBC news anchor Zoraida Sambolin and will air across the country during Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 - October 15.


And, by the way, the answers to the questions above are Simon Bolivar, 1848, and Guatemala.