Waco, TX (FOX 44) — The Hispanic Leaders Network is working with University and Waco High School students to help them learn new skills in their Navegando mentorship program.

Navegando hosts a monthly meeting at both schools where students hear from professionals in the community and take college tours.

Nearly a quarter of University High School students are learning English as a second language. Grettel Ramirez is a senior at University High and says it was an adjustment as a 13-year-old coming from Zacatecas, Mexico, to school in Waco, Texas.

“I got here without knowing anything and didn’t know anyone. The work is difficult to get good grades,” said Ramirez.

HLN Navegando committee chair Ilda Sabido says it’s important for Spanish-speaking professionals to discuss their jobs and personal journeys with the students to show them what’s possible.

“We’ve had groups of 10 professionals come in, introduce themselves and explain who they are and what they do so that the students can see that there is a variety of professions in Waco and that they are open to them there. It is possible for them,” said Sabido.

This is Navagendo’s second cohort of students. University High School principal Alonzo Macadoo wants the program to grow, seeing how it motivates the youth.

“What this organization does is not only provide that example of people who have overcome those challenges but lets them know that they have a base of neighborhood community people that are here to support them along the way. That’s what we’re all about here at University High School,” said Macadoo.

For Ramirez and being a part of Navegando, she wants to take what she’s learned to study biology and become a doctor.

“It’s important to know and be proud of our roots and where we come from. It’s not easy, but to be able to learn different proponents with the support of Navegando, we are able to make our dreams come true,” said Ramirez.

On Nov.10, Navegando will take the students on a Spanish-speaking tour at McLennan Community College to show them post-grad opportunities.

There are also plans to expand the program to La Vega ISD.