Organization at Central formed to increase Hispanic college completion

The Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) has introduced a student chapter on the San Jacinto College Central Campus.

TACHE is a professional association that provides state, regional, and local forums to collaborate with institutions to create workable solutions for Hispanic issues in higher education. Hispanic students make up 6 percent of the nation’s college population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Thirteen percent of the Hispanic population, 25 years of age and older, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“It’s great to have support from an association like TACHE, to be able to make a difference both locally and statewide,” said Matthew Mata, who will serve this year as president of the TACHE student chapter at San Jacinto College.” This is what we need, a group that brings awareness to not only Latino culture, but encourages more Latinos to strive for higher education and for those leadership positions.”

Mata is pursuing his associate degree in automotive technology and plans to transfer to the University of Houston (UH). He comes from a family with strong ties to higher education. One of his sisters attends the University of Texas at Austin, while the other attends the Berklee College of Music in Boston; both his mother and father hold degrees.

This year, Mata said the TACHE student chapter will work toward leadership and team building through community outreach with various organizations throughout Houston.

Although the chapter’s goal is to increase awareness of issues relating to Hispanics in higher education, the group welcomes students from all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to create a more inclusive environment for perspectives within a diverse institution.

“We are going to mentor a lot of these students,” said Saul Zarco, educational planner with the College and the Gulf Coast regional representative for TACHE. “Thanks to the full support received from our faculty, staff, and administrators, we’ll help more students transfer to Tier 1 and Ivy League institutions, to become those competitive sought-after applicants.”

Zarco is currently working on the launch of a San Jacinto College Latino Leadership Initiative, set for later this academic year, modeled after the Harvard University Latino Leadership Initiative through the Center for Public Leadership. Its purpose will be to encourage Latino student participation in leadership roles and activities to further increase the rate of college completion and transfer rates.