Go Center Polytechnic Heights

Yvette Rodriguez, senior education major, helps Jaylon Williams,11th grader at Polytechnic High School search online for various colleges to apply for in the spring. The Go Center also helps students sign up to take the SAT and ACT tests.

Students at North Crowley High School wander around the halls aimlessly as they move from class to class. They peek in the door of a nearby classroom and see a bowl full of candy sitting on the table. One young man sneaks into the room to grab a piece of candy and is greeted with a warm “Hello” by a G-Force mentor who is a member of the Go Center project.

Denelle Rodriguez, assistant director of operations with the office of undergraduate admissions at Texas Wesleyan, said the Go Center project was designed to bring college access and financial information to kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Wesleyan is a part of that project. The project’s primary goal is to create and maintain permanent Go Centers within public schools.

Rodriguez said Wesleyan has partnered with this program since 2006. The initial partnership was with Polytechnic High School but now has spread to five other high schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

Rodriguez said the Go Center’s mentors are known as G-Force mentors. The mentors are hired work-study students who are trained on site on giving resources to help high school students get into college.

“We are mentoring them on all aspects of going to college,” Rodriquez said. “To get them to think past high school.”
Rodriguez said the G-force mentors also help them prepare for their SAT’s and ACT tests as well. Mentors help students sign up for the test and help them do college research and applications as well.

Jetti Matthews, junior math with secondary certification major, is a G-force mentor who said she loves her job assisting students.

“The reason why I want to [work at the Go Center] is to help them,” Matthews said, “to start to close the gap and to let my students know there is higher education.”

Matthews said Go Centers is a perfect job for her, since she wants to teach high school math.

“Pretty much any obstacle they have, we help them overcome it,” Matthews said.

Trent Sandles, junior business management major, said he decided to work at the Go Centers because his high school did not have anyone to point him in the right direction when he got close to graduation.

“Really just making sure the students have every opportunity that they can to get in contact with the universities,” Sandles said.

Sandles said when he was a senior in high school, having a Go Center in his school, it would have helped him understand the college process better.

“There were a lot of questions that I had as a high school junior and senior, that I didn’t have the ability to have answered,” Sandles said. “Because at a 5A high school with 600 seniors, the counselors couldn’t possibly get to everybody and sit down and speak with them.”

Sandles said there were a lot of things he did not know about college, and his counselors were not available to get back and answer some of the questions he had.

Rodriguez said currently the program is funded through the Texas Higher Education Board. The grant Wesleyan has is a two-year grant, and this is the final year.

“You don’t have to stop after high school, “Matthews said. “You don’t have to stay in the same place. You actually can go on and do higher and better things.”

Rachel Peel

rlpeel@txwes.edu