In their footsteps: Bowie High School graduates mentor current Bowie students on education, life

Once a bear, always a bear

POSTED: 05:27 PM MDT May 17, 2013    UPDATED: 06:52 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Some Bowie High School graduates are hoping to motivate current Bowie students to go to college.

The Bowie Alumni Association has started a mentoring program to motivate current Bowie bears.

The president of the association, Jaime Rodriguez, said the fact that Bowie has been considered the "mecca" of the EPISD cheating scandal, spurred action from the group.

The mentors consist of University of Texas at El Paso students, some who graduated from Bowie.

"We started talking about the disadvantages that we had when we were in high school and we didn't know how to apply to college. Most of these kids don't come from parents who went to college," said Jesus Guzman, a UTEP and Bowie graduate who is applying to medical school and who hopes he can inspire current Bowie students to follow in his footsteps.

The mentors and mentees meet once a week, sometimes at UTEP.

They participate in "fun experiments that mostly help students learn math and science," said Guzman.

But the program isn't solely about school subjects.

"We try to keep it interesting - have bonding relationship between the mentors and the students," said Guzman.

Rodriguez added the association wants to expose the students to settings outside their neighborhood.

"A lot of our students, we realized, had not set food outside the Segundo Barrio. Anytime we can take the students out of the community or the Segundo Barrio and expose them to another type of setting - UTEP especially - it'll start breeding that confidence we feel is lacking,” Rodriguez said.

Bowie freshman Daniel Navarro said he's seen some of his classmates get a boost from someone who's walked in their shoes.

"Because they saw a person who came from the same stuff they came through so I think they're going to motivate them,” Navarro said.