The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Mentoring program helps students develop skills to lead communities

By Terrance Gilbert/reporter

TCC’s chancellor and a Texas A&M higher education associate professor addressed the Men of Color Mentoring Program Sept. 26 on TR Campus.

“There is research that shows us that a student who connects with someone in their college years and stays connected with them is likely to do significantly better than someone who doesn’t,” Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said. “Each of you sitting here this afternoon shows just how much you are vested in your own futures, and that is very important to you becoming successful and reaching your full potential in life.”

Keynote speaker Luis Ponjuan said students should not waste time.

“The fact of the matter is it’s an urgent time in our lives, and we need to take control of our lives with a sense of urgency,” he said. “In order for us to have a sense of urgency, we need to reflect on the past, understand the present and focus on the future.”

Students need to acquire a quality education, utilize resources like the mentoring program and work hard, Ponjuan said.

“My family came to this country from Cuba with three suitcases,” he said. “We didn’t know English, but my parents knew they wanted a better life for us.”

Ponjuan said he faced personal struggles growing up as an immigrant, but he had the ability to overcome adversity.

“I worked three jobs to put myself through college, so I’ve been in some of your very seats,” he said. “I worked as a runner in the emergency room in a New Orleans hospital during the 1980s and early 1990s when it was the murder capital of the world. When I saw the ethnicities of the patients, it helped shape my view of life as I had never seen it.”

College isn’t easy, he said. 

“It was not easy for me, and you are going to come up against some challenges both academically and personally,” he said. “Just do not give up. Anything worth having requires hard work.”

Students are matched with district mentors and can get assistance with various subjects from academic success to business and professional skills. Robert Johnson, a marketing major, joined the TR group this semester.

“I was told about the program through a friend, and it has already shaped the way I feel about my college education and becoming a leader on campus,” he said. “I’m looking forward to other activities and one day becoming a mentor myself.”

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