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RHiTA Aims to Increase Number of Hispanic Students
August 28, 2018

A grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents will enable Walters State Community College to launch the RHiTA Project, Recruiting Hispanics to Achieve. This program is an outreach to future and current Hispanic students.
The grant will provide leadership development, bilingual outreach, mentoring and institutional collaboration. The program will also raise funds for an endowed scholarship.
“The grant will help the college serve the changing population of Hamblen and surrounding counties,” said Michelle Mitrik, associate professor of Spanish and coordinator of English as a Second Language. Mitrik is director of the project.
“Currently, Hispanic students make up 21 percent of the student body of the Hamblen County School System, while they only make up only 3.9 percent of the student body at Walters State,” Mitrik said.
“Our goal is to increase the number of Hispanic students choosing higher education. In Hamblen County, Hispanics are a growing part of the population and the economic viability of the county is tied to educational attainment. In the future, we will need this population to be ready to contribute in leadership roles,” Mitrik said. 
The grant will train Hispanic Walters State and TCAT-Morristown students to serve as mentors to their peers and high school students. Students will also be involved in community service activities. 
The program is a partnership with Tennessee College of Applied 
Technology-Morristown, Hamblen County Schools, Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority, HOLA Lakeway and the Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity. 
“Another key to success is the creation of a Community Advisory Council” says Steve Lawrence, adjunct faculty and assistant director of the RHiTA Project. That task force includes representatives from Colgate-Palmolive, SunTrust, City of Morristown, Carson-Newman University and the Morristown Task Force on Diversity, and St. Patrick Church. 
For more information, call 423.585.6930.  

In the Photo: The RHiTA Program at Walters State will look for new ways to encourage Hispanic students to attend the college. Discussing possible outreach efforts are, seated, Ruisa Vargas and Michelle Mitrik. Standing are Carlos Martinez and Steve Lawrence.