Imagery of Regent people and campus

Institute Challenges High School Students

By Rachel Judy | May 2, 2012

Students at the opening session of the Hispanic Youth Mini-Institute

Empowering Latino high school students to understand they can go to college was the theme of the day at the 2012 Hispanic Youth Mini-Institute, held on Friday, April 27, at Regent University. Approximately 50 local Latino high school students gathered in the Library Auditorium to begin a day of presentations, workshops and small group interaction, all designed to inform and excite them about the prospect of college.

Daniel Sarmiento, director of the Hispanic Youth Institute, Greater Washington, began the day explaining to the students why it was so important to consider a college education as a priority.

"Our parents and grandparents made a huge sacrifice to come to this country," he explained. "As Latinos, we're not taking advantage of that."

The U.S. Census projects one in five Americans will be Latino by 2020. However, nearly one in five Latinos currently drop out of high school and only one in eight have a college degree, the lowest rate of any racial/ethnic group in the United States.

"The reception from the schools that attended was great and we're looking forward to doing much more in this area," explained Dr. Marcela Chavan-Matviuk, the director of Regent's Center for Latino Leadership (CLL), which hosted the event. "Hispanics value education, but college affordability and accessibility remain mountain tops to conquer, and that's what we are doing. We're looking up to the sky and saying let's go and conquer those peaks. In God, we can do all things."

"Going to college doesn't make you great," Sarmiento said, clarifying his remarks. "Going to college opens doors." Those doors, he explained, are waiting for students to walk through.

"I want you to understand that you can," he said. "If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor. If you want to be an accountant, be an accountant."

Workshops covered topics such as how to apply to college, how to write an admission essay and how to finance college.

"I was amazed at the opportunities that were given to our students," said Nova Chusan, who accompanied students from Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach. "Our students walked away with so much information and so much to be grateful for."

The CLL exists to help Latino students in all aspects of their journey at Regent and to make a positive difference in their community, nation and world. The CLL works closely with colleagues across the Regent campus and throughout the greater community to foster understanding of the U.S. Latino experience.

Learn more about Regent's CLL.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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