Justin Nsabiganje is motivated to succeed, and his hard work is paying off – thanks to a little help from his new 'extended family support system' at Gateway to College. Justin came to Saint Paul from Uganda in 2017 with poor English skills but a burning desire to learn. He failed the Accuplacer Assessment for English Language Learners not once but twice. Following Justin’s first meeting in 2017 with Adam Kunz, Gateway to College Supervisor for Saint Paul Public Schools, Adam recalls thinking that:
"Justin showed weak language skills and was a long shot to succeed, but we were willing to give anyone a chance, so he was admitted despite the many apparent obstacles that were in his path to learning."
After three years of arduous work, Justin beat the odds and succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. He worked hard at Gateway to College, including attending classes throughout two consecutive summers. Justin earned his high school diploma and an Associate Degree in Business simultaneously in December 2020! According to Adam Kunz, he is the first student to start at the lowest EAPP level and graduate from High School and graduate with an Associates Degree at the same time!
Justin considers the Saint Paul College Gateway faculty his extended family. They helped him improve his English skills and provided him with an exceptional understanding of business management and people skills necessary to succeed in a managerial career. His key supporters included Jessie Hass, School Counselor, and Dave Pearson, Navigator. Both provided Justin with strong guidance and constant encouragement to overcome any learning obstacles that came his way. He views America as the land of opportunity, and the insightful, caring support given by staff from Gateway to College as the impetus he needed to make his dreams a reality.
Since graduating from Saint Paul College with his Associate Degree last month, Justin quickly enrolled at St. Cloud State University, where he is already a Junior studying Business Management. He plans to get his Master’s degree and then go into Management for a large company such as Amazon or Target.
The Saint Paul Gateway to College program has received the National Network Gateway Graduation Achievement for exceeding the national graduation benchmarks the past three consecutive years. This program has grown from an enrollment of 25 students in 2014 to 180 students currently. In 2020, these Gateway students earned over 1,700 college credits, and 117 students earned their High School degrees. Saint Paul College is proud to host the Saint Paul Public School’s Gateway to College program for many exceptional at-risk students who overcome adversity to achieve greatness in their educational journeys!