At just 18 years old, Gizela has done it all. While being the only girl wrestler on the Benson Bunnies wrestling team, a volleyball player, track and field athlete, dance team member, St. Benedict’s youth group leader and student council president, she still makes time to attend College Possible’s late session after sports practice at Omaha Benson High Magnet School.
Gizela first learned about College Possible while talking to her guidance counselor her sophomore year of high school. “I always knew I wanted to attend college, so when I heard about College Possible, there was no question on if I’d join or not,” says Gizela, and her mom couldn’t agree more. “My mom advocates for anything that involves college. She’s very supportive of the College Possible program and wanted me to take advantage of what it had to offer.”
Gizela’s family moved to America from Tanzania when she was just seven years old. She is the second oldest in a household of eight, and her favorite thing to do when she gets free time is to hang out with her siblings. “My siblings give me life,” says Gizela. “They are why I do what I do – they are my everything.” Not only does Gizela take pride in being a role model for her younger siblings, she also hopes to inspire other women both mentally and physically, which is what lead her to join the all-boys wrestling team when she was in seventh grade. “First I was scared how people were going to view it, but to me it held a stronger purpose,” she says.
As a senior, Gizela has already applied to several colleges, some of which include Howard University, Fisk University, University of Nebraska – Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha, with hopes of obtaining a psychology degree. Her ultimate goal in life is to explore the world and culture while getting her doctorate degree in psychology which will allow her to serve the mental health population in Africa. “I want the opportunity to use my voice to benefit others,” says Gizela.
During the spring of her sophomore year, Gizela got the opportunity to share her journey with influential community members during College Possible’s annual Friendraiser event. “I am so thankful for College Possible. It has opened a lot of doors for me, and if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be as successful as I am in school,” says Gizela. “College Possible really encouraged me to get involved in my community and I will always be grateful for that.”
Gizela is excited for her future and to start her collegiate journey. Her nerves are far and few between because she knows that her College Possible coach will be there for her along the way, supporting and directing her to anything she might need to achieve her goals.