For the first time in a long time, Starlyn Nunez is hopeful about the direction his life is headed. The reason, he says, is his education. “I love waking up in the morning knowing that I get to go into an environment where I get to learn.”
Nunez was part of the first class of the Gateway to College program at University College. Through the program, he has earned his high school diploma while at the same time earning college credits. “That’s what grabbed my attention,” he says. “The chance to push myself forward and progress.”
In 2013, factors outside the academic world led Nunez to eventually leave the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex without a high school diploma.
“I just didn’t finish, and then I started working,” he says. “I was on my grind, but I wasn’t progressing. I knew mentally I was losing myself and that I needed my education, because I couldn’t get a better job without a high school diploma. It woke me up a lot.”
Then Nunez visited JSEC to ask about earning his diploma. While there, he heard about Gateway to College. Immediately, he knew it was for him.
A few months into the program, Nunez knew his education was getting back on track. Nunez, in his first semester, earned an “A” in his Math in the Modern World course, and an "A" on his first paper for Academic Writing. He also learned what it takes to succeed as a college student in his First-year Experience course.
Nunez, having completed the program, is looking toward the future. He plans to continue his education and looks forward to sitting in a room and deciding where and what he wants to study in college.
“I am changing my life,” Nunez says. “I feel hopeful, because I know I’m doing well right now. “My future is going to be so much better. Doors are going to open.”