Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hispanic Heritage Month Honors

Vol State is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with dancing, food and, of course, the Vol State Fiesta. Recently, Student Life recognized some Vol State folks who have worked with the Hispanic community in outreach and Vol State Hispanic students in student clubs and most importantly, in the classroom. The occasion was the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon.

Oky Arguello was honored for her work on a successful TBR Access and Diversity grant program. As the Family Outreach Specialist, Oky worked with potential students and their families to navigate the college process. Education about higher education is quite important for the Hispanic community, especially because the American higher education system is much different than the systems in many Latin American countries. Oky organized and lead classes to inform families about college-going and took them on visits to colleges and universities.

Karen Hutson was recognized for her many years of dedicated service to English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL. The program is the fundamental stepping stone for people who need to build their English skills to prepare for traditional college courses. Karen teaches students from many different countries and who speak many different languages. It isn't easy work. It requires plenty of patience and understanding.

Michelle Vandiver teachers Spanish. Through her commitment to the cause, her students have assisted at the many Vol State Hispanic events and festivals. Most recently she hosted the Hispanic Heritage Month quiz bowl for students in the cafeteria. She has also been a liaison at the college for Spanish speaking and ESOL students.

Dalila Duarte, a graduate student assistant at Tennessee State University was the keynote speaker this year. She reminded the audience why Hispanic Heritage Month is important and how being a Latino in America is almost as much a growth project for some people as it is an intrinsic part of their culture.

Congrats to all and we hope to see everyone at the finale of our Hispanic Heritage celebration- the Vol State Fiesta on Saturday, October 19 from 10am-4pm in the center of campus. It is free and open to everyone.

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