South Houston High School wasn’t that different from most urban schools when Edgar Guerrero and Rudy Requeno were students there from 2008-2012. South Houston has something like an 80% graduation rate, pretty typical for an urban school, offers lots of extracurricular activities, and tries to keep the teachers from getting overwhelmed by thousands of students. Among the masses of his peers, Edgar knew he was smarter than some but not as smart as others, good at football but not eager to play forever, and after he graduated he’d wind up—well, somewhere. In South Houston, where only 52% of the population over age 25 has graduated from high school, just earning a diploma would be enough to get Edgar a job and make his parents proud.

A Changing Vision

But Edgar’s football coach kept bringing up college to him. Kept talking about the potential he saw in him, what his future could look like, the big world beyond the 3-mile spread of South Houston and what possibilities could wait for them if he just spent four more years studying a trade or career. College started to sound like a good option, one that could earn Edgar a job he loved, where he could make a difference and earn an income beyond the bare $32,000 or so a year that the average household in South Houston subsisted on. Because of the encouragement of his coach, Edgar started to visualize a successful, personally fulfilling future.

The college application process, though—what a confusing process. Test scores, essays, recommendations, transcripts, updated transcripts. the application itself. Edgar and Rudy both made it through the gauntlet and found themselves accepted to colleges. Edgar was headed to University of Texas in Austin, while Rudy was headed to Sam Houston State University, where he would try to walk onto its football team. They said their goodbyes to South Houston, made the move to campuses they’d never visited, and adapted to the new challenges they faced.

What happened next for Edgar and Rudy? Find out on their Imprint Initiative journey page, and keep up with their activities today by following them on Facebook or visiting Community for Education’s website.