Junior nursing major Marisol Sigala never thought about college until her junior year in high school.
“I was a bright kid. I just didn’t know about college,” Sigala said.
Like Sigala, some students in the Fort Worth community have the potential to do great things but lack the resources to do so. Through organizations like the GO Centers of Fort Worth, high school students may receive an answer.
TCU’s mentor group, G-Force, works with the GO Centers to help students like Sigala reach the next level.
Staci Fowler, a counselor at Paschal High School, said G-Force mentors work closely with several students in the GO centers at Paschal High School and Trimble Technical High School. She said G-Force primarily works to help guide first generation college students through the college process.
Fowler said G-Force helps students with selecting the right college, filling out and perfecting applications, registering for the SAT and ACT tests and anything else college-oriented.
During the spring, the mentors also help with the financial aid process and locating scholarships and financial assistance for college bound seniors.
Gaby Jimenez, a junior accounting major, said she was involved with several GO Center programs such as “Super Saturday,” which involves the whole community.
On select Saturdays, G-Force and high school counselors invite parents and students from the Fort Worth district to workshops on topics like financial aid and opportunities after graduation. Members of G-Force and other college students answer questions about anything related to college.
Jimenez said she does the majority of her work with Spanish-speaking parents to help get them involved.
Fowler said in the years Paschal has worked with TCU students, the high school students have benefited from the collaboration.
“[G-Force] offers one-on-one help for those students who really need assistance,” Fowler said.
Since several of the seniors are first-generation college students, G-Force provides access to solid information at a crucial point in these students’ lives, Fowler said.
Dr. Rosangela Boyd, director for the Center of Community Involvement and Service-Learning of TCU, oversees the GO Centers in the community. She said G-Force mentors act as role models for students in local high schools. Not only do TCU mentors help high school seniors with the college process, but Boyd said G-Force also works toward “closing the gap.”
She said in areas surrounding Paschal and Trimble Technical High School, access to college education and college preparation is limited.
“Several of the high school students never know that they have choices,” Boyd said.
G-Force works to give students and their families knowledge about the opportunities offered after high school, including continuing their education.
The knowledge G-Force offers has helped former Paschal high students become TCU students.
Jimenez said the GO Center was helpful to her college career. As a Paschal graduate, Jimenez said G-Force gave her the help she needed to get through the college process.
She said G-Force also helped with the financial process and in receiving financial aid. With their help, she received enough scholarships to cover her TCU tuition. And when she came to TCU , she made a point to get involved with G-Force.
“I wanted to help kids just like me,” Jimenez said.
G-Force works within the schools and also in the Fort Worth ISD community.
The greatest thing that G-Force offers students is the confidence to pursue a college career.
Jimenez said members of G-Force understand what the Paschal students are going through because they come from similar backgrounds and are able to let students know that college is a real possibility.
“They really give them hope,” Jimenez said.