When first approaching the TJC Dean of Students he seems like an intimidating figure. He has a nice suit, covering his athletic build, with a firm handshake and a shaved head. After eight years in the military and experience as a Marine Corps officer, Dr. Dometrius Hill’s military demeanor may never change, but he has dedicated his life to enhancing the lives of people not only at TJC, but in his community.
Dr. Hill has been involved in many extra-curricular activities including NFL Play 60 where young students came to TJC to play and interact with former NFL players from the area. Dr. Hill also runs Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gyms and after-school programs all over East Texas as well as promotes local MMA events. One of Dr. Hill’s recent events was held at UT Tyler where MMA fighters and TJC Freshman Interest Groups (FIG) were involved with younger local students.
“We had MMA fighters and TJC FIG students talk to the kids about a program we call ‘Bully Prevention’ and ‘Stranger Danger’,” said Hill. “We want to show kids that there is a non-violent way to handle bullying as well as warn them about the dangers of social media, stranger danger.”
Dr. Hill is involved with many MMA gyms across East Texas. With parents working late, students can catch the school bus to the local gym where they receive snacks, get help with their homework, and receive training in mixed martial arts until their parents are able to pick them up.
“The martial arts schools here in East Texas are so much more than just for MMA training,” said Dr. Hill. “We tutor our kids academically, as well as give them the life skills to succeed. By the time parents arrive to pick up their kids, homework is done. They have received training and stayed active, and usually are ready for bed.”
Some local East Texas families have made Dr. Hill’s gyms and mixed martial art training into an entire family activity involving mom, dad and children.
“I have my whole family involved, my wife, my kids, even my niece,” said Brian Zapata a local MMA fighter with a record of 3-3. “It teaches my kids honor and respect. My wife enjoys it just for the simple fact that it keeps her in shape.”
A recent MMA fight event held in Longview had seven matches involving 14 fighters. During intermission Dr. Hill was called to the ring were he was recognized for his dedication and hard work in putting together the event.
As the Dean of Students, Dr. Hill has many on-campus responsibilities to deal with daily. Being able to handle the everyday stress of work and still finding the time to better his school and community is a testament to dedication and worth ethic.
“Dr. Hill is a very busy guy but wonderful to work for,” said Cassy Rice, Student Affairs employee and co-worker of Dr. Hill. “He handles the judicial affairs. He deals with the academic and behavioral issues. It’s a huge responsibility.”
Not everyone who has the means to help others feels compelled to do so. Luckily for TJC students, there are people like Dr. Hill who believe in bettering the community.
“I’m blessed to be in this position, blessed to work with these kids,” said Hill “I have learned in order to gain, you must give back.”