To most, Dr. Dometrius Hill is the Dean of Academic Success and a Math Professor. However, outside of TJC, Dr. Hill and his wife, Christina Hill, spend their time making a difference in the community through Songahm Martial Arts Academy, located in Tyler and Pittsburg.
“I first started Taekwondo as a kid in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I grew up in a military family and it kept me out of trouble, kept me active, and helped pass the time. I wanted to share that experience with others,” said Dometrius.
Songahm Martial Arts is a place for everyone, regardless of age, ability or needs. “We typically work with students who are developing, but we also work with students who have special needs. We work with students as young as three and have adults taking classes as well,” said Christina.
There is more to Taekwondo than learning to fight or learning self-defense. “The students realize a kick is just a kick and a punch just a punch, but the discipline, self-respect and integrity will stick with them for the rest of their lives,” said Dometrius.
While there are many benefits of joining Songahm Martial Arts, Christina stresses the importance of one benefit in particular. “We want them to train physically so they can defend themselves and protect other people, but mainly we want to build them mentally,” she said. “I have come to find that as students prove themselves in the dojo and they don’t have to prove anything to anyone else.”
Classes can be purchased on an individual basis, or memberships are available. “Our main mission is to affect the lives of the students we get, that is why we try to keep the financial barrier very low,” said Christina. “If you are interested, we will find a way for you to attend.”
A unique way that the couple gives back is by offering an after-school program for local and elementary school students. “I’ve been given so much by Taekwondo, and I just want to give that back,” said Christina. This program partners with local school districts to provide an afterschool program for parents in need. The Songahm Martial Arts Academy provides transportation from the partner schools to their after-school program. Once there, students are given a snack and the opportunity to complete their homework with one-on-one help. “Education is one of our primary focuses,” said Christian. The afterschool program helps parents and ensures that students are doing well in class. Once students complete their homework, the students being their Taekwondo classes.
Both Dr. and Mrs. Hill believe this is a community effort, and so they are actively accepting volunteers or mentors. Anyone interested in volunteering or mentoring can visit their website www.atasma.comf or more information or stop by Dr. Hill’s office in the Rogers Student Center.