Imagery of Regent people and campus

Center for Latino Leadership Readies Students for College

By Amanda Morad | April 12, 2013

Marcela Chaván-Matviuk, director of the Center for Latino Leadership, stands with several students from the 2013 Hispanic Leadership Institute.
Photo by Grillo's Photography

Regent University's Center for Latino Leadership (CLL) has undertaken an ambitious endeavor to inspire and promote college readiness for first generation college students. In March, 120 local high school students attended the Hispanic Youth Institute, a day of college readiness workshops and inspirational presentations.

"It is crucial for the future of Christian higher education and the future of America to raise awareness and make a way for traditionally underrepresented students to access college," said Dr. Marcela Chaván-Matviuk, director of CLL. "Accessibility to higher education helps students anticipate it as part of their future."

Several public high schools in Virginia Beach took part in the event, including Bayside, Landstown, Tallwood, Frank W. Cox, Kellam, Ocean Lakes, First Colonial, Green Run and others. The institute brought in presenters discussing issues of identity, achieving success, college preparation, and workshops on financial aid and essay writing.

The highlight of the institute was a panel with Hispanic leaders Luis Rivera '93 (Education); Victor Marcos '06 (Communication & the Arts); Olga Torres, president of the Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Yeidy Cordero, owner of a Liberty Tax Services franchise in Norfolk, Va. Students were excited to hear each presenter's journey to success and learn from their histories.

These leaders set out to inspire students to push beyond the limitations of their circumstances. The speakers told stories of hardships and difficulty, reminding students that they too can overcome those difficulties and step into success.

CLL's close relationship with Virginia Beach Public Schools helped make the Hispanic Youth Institute a reality at Regent. Assistant superintendent of Educational Leadership and Assessment, Dr. Donald Robertson; director of Equity Affairs, Dr. Esther Monclova Johnson; and director of Guidance Services and Student Records, Dr. Alveta Mitchell, were all instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

"This group set out to ensure that Latino youths would have a positive experience and be reminded of why college is an important step on the path to full adulthood and positive societal contributions," said Chaván-Matviuk. "It can be said these young people were instilled with the notion that they are powerful and they can be successful.

"Success is on the horizon for many of these kids, and Regent will be watching to see what they do with what they have been given," she added.

The Center for Latino Leadership looks forward to continuing to reach out to the public high schools in the Hampton Roads, Va., region and expanding the reach of this program to Norfolk and Chesapeake. The next institute meeting will take place on the Fall of 2013.

Learn more about the Center for Latino Leadership.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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