When Jairo Gamboa moved to this country from Bogota, Colombia, with his family at age 6, it was rough. He didn’t speak the language, so he was put into remedial English learning classes and lower academic levels than his peers. But he wanted to learn the same things as his friends.
“As a kid my parents gave up a lot to get us over here. I wanted to make them proud and learn as best as I could,” Jairo remembers. “We moved to the U.S. and sacrificed a lot to get here. So when I got here I decided I needed to try my best in order for me to succeed.
“I began to push myself academically so I could be at the level of my friends. I started reading a lot. I studied hard and got to the level where I could understand and comprehend things quickly. Eventually that motivation got me to where I’m at now.”
Now he’s headed to UNL where he’s the first NCPA scholar to be accepted into the College of Business Administration’s Honors Academy. He’s looking forward to studying finance and economics, andis planning on a future career in business.
Providing a better future is exactly why Jairo’s parents, Maria and Jairo Sr., moved from Colombia to Grand Island; more specifically to ensure the safety and security of their family, which includes Jairo’s older sister, Laura, and his twin sister, Ana.
“Our dreams are for him to finish his academic studies, and get a career he enjoys,” says Maria and Jairo Sr. “Also so he becomes a person who participates positively in society.”
Jairo Jr. was active in Key Club during high school and he experienced first-hand the importance of contributing to society.
"It’s important because you are a part of the community and it’s also a part of you. By helping out your community you’re helping out yourself and others which is important in life,” he says.
And for Jairo Jr., NCPA provides a positive community of support for him.
“NCPA basically became a second family to me,” he says. “Especially our counselors Raymond and Jena, you begin to trust them and you want to make them proud. Although I am motivated, NCPA helps you out and provides support morally and academically."
Meanwhile, his parents also appreciate the guidance NCPA and its staff has provided their son throughout his academic years.
“It has an amazing group of people that helps children and their parents through high school so kids can achieve their future goals.”