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Great story: Packer pride

This year is flying by, and in just short four months, my cohort of students at Omaha South High School will be walking across the stage and receiving their high school diplomas. They’ve almost crossed the finish line, and although we have more to do, there’s a lot that we’ve already accomplished. Most students at this point have filled out the FAFSA and have completed college and scholarship applications. I am immensely proud of all their hard work. It is not easy for every student to commit time in and out of school to work toward their future.

It’s been challenging for some students, whether due to a lack of motivation or something in their personal lives, but all of them have found their way back. A student with whom I struggled to get into contact has come around this semester. She had experienced a tough year and was ashamed of her grades. After a conversation and reassurance that she was still doing a great job, we filed her FAFSA and applied to her first college and scholarship. Now, she comes into my office regularly when she has a question or wants further support.

Another student of mine questioned whether attending a four-year university or college was the right choice. At the start of the year, he had wanted to go to college to play collegiate soccer, but that was no longer an option for him after multiple injuries and surgery. His engagement in the program and motivation in school started decreasing, and he began to fail his classes. After a lot of outreach and surprise visits from me, I was able to get him interested in his future again. We applied to three colleges, and he was accepted into all of them. We applied for his first scholarship, and although he was denied, it was enough motivation to keep him going. We submitted his FAFSA, and now he is sure that he wants to go to college to study engineering. Recently he applied for the Susan T. Buffett Scholarship, and while going over his essay with him, I read something that really touched my heart. He wrote, “Although I felt like college wasn’t for me, my College Possible coach believed in me and pushed me to be better.”

I am proud of my service and College Possible’s mission, but I am even more proud of my students. We are here to support them on their journey to college, but it is their dedication and hard work toward a better future that I truly admire.

This Great Story was written by Jenni Gutierrez, an AmeriCorps member for College Possible Omaha.

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