• I’m not Hispanic, so it was great to learn about the culture of Latino students and about the programs that are helping them get to college and become citizens. They really want to make a difference in the United States.

    Chad Desjardins

Student Stories

Leonel Delgado, Oroville High School

Leonel is a student and a tutor in the NLA-sponsored GEAR-UP program at Omak High School. He is also a mentor and role model for his five younger brothers. Leonel's parents have made a home in the agricultural lands of North Central Washington, working in the apple orchards that provide employment for so many in the region.

College was never in Leonel’s life plan—until he joined the GEAR UP program in eighth grade. Thank you to the dynamic relationship between the NLA site director and her student participants, Leonel and many others received the extra academic support they needed, along with the motivation necessary to make going to college a reality. Now seventeen, Leonel tutors younger students 3-4 days per week after school, motivating his classmates and younger brothers to dream big and achieve academically.

“GEAR-UP helped me get motivated and excited about going to college. Before, I didn’t want to go to college because none of my family had ever been. Ms. Miller and the GEAR-UP program made me feel like it was possible.”

When Leonel graduates from Oroville High next year he aspires to study law or mechanical engineering.


Keyla Delgado, Omak High School

Keyla Delgado, a junior at Omak High School, is on the track for success. Involved in NLA’s GEAR- UP program since sixth grade, Keyla knows exactly what she needs to do in order to accomplish her dreams of becoming a lawyer.

“During my senior year I am going to apply for five colleges: Gonzaga, Whitworth, Eastern Washington University, UW, and Wenatchee Valley Community College. In the fall I am going to take the SATs as many times as I can to increase my score. I hope to take AP English, AP Calculus, and Spanish 4 in order to prepare myself for college.”

Keyla says her parents are very happy with the GEAR-UP program, “My parents like GEAR UP because for many years I got the help I needed on my homework. My mom was also very happy to get information during a GEAR UP workshop about applying for college financial aid.”

One of the most memorable GEAR UP experiences for Keyla and her classmates was a visit to Eastern Washington University for a Latino Student Festival. High school students from all over Washington state attended sessions about preparing college applications, writing essays, applying for financial aid, picking a major and other related topics. Through this campus visit and others, Keyla was able to envision herself as a future college student. We can’t wait to see all the great things that Keyla will achieve in the coming years!

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