Luis Callejas

EXCEL Program Scholar

Before Luis Callejas attended GateWay Community College, he never put much effort into his schoolwork. While attending High School, Callejas struggled to pass classes and graduated with a 2.3 GPA. Even though his grades were lower than he would have liked, Luis knew that he wanted to be successful while attending GateWay and looked for some additional help. 

Prior to starting his first semester in college, he filled out an EXCEL application and was offered two free college classes over the summer. “Immediately I was hooked,” Callejas said. “All I kept thinking was that I am going to be ahead of everyone else.” 

While off to a great start, college came with new challenges. Callejas failed several of his classes his first semester, and he started to wonder if he should quit. It was then that EXCEL connected him with one of its Peer Mentors and gave him additional resources to help him succeed in his college journey. “I attended the EXCEL Success Series Workshop and was able to better my skills to be successful,” he said. 

In the following semesters, Callejas was finally able to find success in college. Not only did his grades improve, but he participated in several notable events. This included the Men of Color Student Leadership Institute and was even able to present his story at the annual Heroes of Education event put on by the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation. 

“Through this journey, I have met so many great people at GateWay. EXCEL has helped me tremendously because it has helped me in my education and professional and personal growth. Now, I can empower others through my learning experiences,” Callejas said. 

GateWay Community College is one of only three Maricopa Community Colleges with the EXCEL Program. EXCEL is a student success program providing student scholars with assistance to navigate college toward degree completion and university transfer. The program is funded by the Arizona Community Foundation in partnership with College Success Arizona. 

For more information and to apply, visit