Talent Search Program Looking to Fill More Student Spots

by Anayeli Ruiz 
NewsWest 9
PECOS - A program that helps low income students go to college got the funding they needed for the coming years. the only problem is they need more students to fill the spots.
This program is across the entire State of Texas, but the program that helps Presidio, Alpine, Marfa and Pecos needs more students.  The goal of the program is to help low income students go to college. Some students NewsWest 9 talked to say that without this program they would of never have thought of going to college.
"He does take you to a lot of colleges you would never think you would go. I never thought I was going to go to college," Mark Martinez, a student in Pecos in the Talent Search Program, said.
Just like Mark, there are many students like him taking advantage of the Talent Search Program.
"What we do is try to expose these students to start thinking about what is it that they want to do when they graduate high school. It's for them to start thinking about their careers and different colleges and universities that are being offered out there," Sam Anchondo, Talent Search Counselor for Pecos Schools, said.
The program helps students as early as 6th grade and all through high school. It's through the Sul Ross University but they get their funding from the U.S. Department of Education. This particular branch serves 600 students from rural areas like Presidio, Marfa, Alpine and Pecos.    
In Pecos last year, 60 seniors went through the program and 50 of those went off to college.
"We target first generation students and low income students. First generation students are the students whose parents don't have a degree," Anchondo said.
"Pecos is a smaller school and nobody really knows what to do with this program. It helps you get out there and know what other cities are like and colleges," Kelly Lease, a student in the Talent Search Program, said.
The program helps students with scholarships, financial aid and college applications. The best part for the students is they get to visit college campuses and some know that without this program they would have never gone to see any schools.
"No I would not be doing that if I was not in this program because gas and food and other expenses," Karina Quintana, a student in the Talent Search Program, said.
Parents in the community are grateful that this program is there to help their children since they can't help them all the time.
"For me it's been difficult because I'm a single parent and I work all the time and it's hard to be able to do those things. I think personally I would help her just because that's the first thing since she was little. In my job, I see so many people in this community that don't have that support and that they don't have that opportunity and know they can go to a university that's open to them." Faye Lease, a Parent of one of the students in Talent Search Program, said.  
If you like to sign up your child in the Talent Search Program you can visit the schools in Alpine, Pecos, Marfa and Presidio they each have a coordinator to help the students or you can call 432-448-8781.