January 9, 2012
By Adeline Bash
There are several possible interpretations for the Spanish word “ganas.” Some interpret it as meaning “desire,” others as “giving it your all” or “willingness to try.”
When they were all 13 years old, Elizabeth Sampedro, Gina Bauer and Jocelyn Duarte knew “Ganas” as the after-school mentorship program that provided a bridge between middle school and college — a path to a future in higher education that at the time seemed a far-off notion.
Duarte, Sampedro and Bauer — now 28, 21, and 19, respectively — are all college students today. Duarte attends California State University in Los Angeles, Sampedro is at Willamette University in Salem and Bauer is enrolled at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Excelling in high school and now college, the women credit, in large part, the Ganas program that they participated in during middle school.
The program, celebrating its 15th anniversary, connects Latino middle school students with members of MEChA, the Latino student group at the University of Oregon.
This weekend, Duarte and Sampedro will be among those taking part in a statewide MEChA regional conference to be held at North Eugene High School.
Slurce: The Register-Guard