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Automotive Systems Technology Student Receives Newly-Created MAC Scholarship

By Rob Goldberg Jr.
PCC Media Relations Director

Tutaw (center) poses for a group photo with PCC President G. Dennis Massey (second from left) and Multicultural Activities Committee members Michael Stephenson, Jane Power, Jasmin Spain, Cheri White and Regina Garcia (left to right).

WINTERVILLE—The Pitt Community College Multicultural Activities Committee (MAC) presented its first scholarship this month to Automotive Systems Technology student Tutaw.

The presentation took place Jan. 16, during the 2nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast, which generates funding for the award. Jane Power, PCC Marketing Director and a MAC member, presented the $300-scholarship.

“When we started talking about the criteria for the scholarship, we wanted it to be awarded to someone with a unique perspective about the importance of multiculturalism and acceptance,” Power said. “(Tutaw) has faced challenges that many of us could never imagine. But in the end, his determination, positive outlook and dedication have helped him overcome so much.”

A native of Myanmar (formerly Burma), Tutaw and his family spent 12 years living in a refugee camp before coming to Greenville in 2007 through sponsorship from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

“My family came here from Burma as political refugees,” he said. “We came to escape the violence and persecution that was going on [there] at the time.”

As a freshman at J.H. Rose High School, Tutaw’s family moved to Texas to be with other Myanmar natives. Tutaw, however, stayed behind to complete his education in Greenville and was later accepted into PCC’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program.

Through VISIONS, he received special assistance and guidance from PCC staff that helped him earn his high school diploma and move into higher education.

“I was excited to be able to attend Pitt Community College as part of the VISIONS Program,” Tutaw said. “It was a great opportunity for me to further my education.

“I first thought that when I graduated [high school], I would join the rest of my family in Texas and work in the factories,” he continued. “But, now, I have a chance to continue my education and hopefully make a better life for myself. I never thought this would happen.”

Tutaw, who became a U.S. citizen in September, supports himself by working at The Roberts Company in Winterville after his PCC classes have finished for the day. The MAC Scholarship will help cover the cost of his tuition and fees at Pitt.

“I can only attend PCC part-time because I have to work, so I am very grateful for the scholarship,” he said. “… I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I wish you all well in 2014. May God bless you all.”