Two current students at El Paso Community College are launching a new program designed to help students succeed in college.
Gabrielle Ramirez / Tejano Tribune
EPCC students Ephraim Morales (L) and Kimberly Ornales, are employeed as STS Managers in charge of the Guiding Paths to Success program.
Sophomore Ephraim Morales and junior Kimberly Ornales plan to take their Guiding Paths to Success (GPS) program into 0307 remedial reading classes once a month beginning Oct. 7 at the Valle Verde campus.
They will share the skills they’ve learned in their Education 1300 classes taught by Prof. Robert Aguilar.
“Many students in remedial classes get discouraged because they are not taking credit level courses,” Morales said, “With the skills, ideas, and topics we have learned and will be able to share with the students, our hope is that they will be more motivated to further their education by taking advantage of their resources, become more emotionally intelligent, and manage their time more effectively so they can be more successful in college.”
Aguilar said his class teaches specific skills that are essential to master as a college student.
The six core objectives include critical thinking, communication, critical and quantitative skills, teamwork, social responsibility, and personal responsibility.
“The district is big on these six,” Aguilar said. “The GPS program helps student develop great critical thinking skills: teamwork, social responsibility, even personal responsibility. When the mentors present, we cover the communication objective. Everybody wins.
Because the GPS program is student-driven, student-organized, and student-based, we feel that the students accept it better when it’s coming from another student who’s been where they’re at.”
Placement exams are required for many students to attend EPCC. If scores do not meet a certain standard, they are placed in remedial classes.
Remedial classes do not count toward credit hours. However, students are required to pay for the class and purchase the books.
Morales thinks people in remedial classes get discouraged because they are not taking credit level courses.
Morales and Ornales will be going into remedial reading classrooms this semester to present topics they learned in Education 1300 that have helped them have success in school.
The three topics they will be focusing on this semester are time management, emotional intelligence, and use of college resources.
“Our hope is that the GPS program expands to all campuses to reach as many students as possible,” Ornales said. “The whole purpose of the program is to help students that cannot take the education course yet.
The GPS program is funded by the Student Technology Services (STS).
STS provides students like Morales and Ornales an opportunity to work in an environment where they can apply their major.
They work from 12-19 hours a week, and must maintain a 2.8 GPA. STS manager Debbie Aguilera said, "There’s a need to advocate for students who fall into those remedial courses."
“We need to keep an eye on those students so that they can continue coming to school,” Aguilera said, “and what [better than] a student pushing [another] student, saying ‘I’ve been there; I’ve done it, too. Don’t quit. Continue going on, and let me help you’ and just reaching out to their peers,” she said. “I think it’s a great program.”