Collegiate Challenge Program: Grades 11-12

What is Collegiate Challenge?


Collegiate Challenge: Changing lives that will change the future

Collegiate Challenge is a program that matches experienced community members and District administrative staff as mentors to help high school juniors and seniors prepare for college. Mentors help students with admissions applications, scholarships, financial aid applications, test preparation and career exploration.  

In 90 minutes a week, mentors provide guidance and motivation to students, empowering them to reach post-secondary success in college and beyond.  

Mentors' advice and encouragement to students, who may be the first in their families to go to college, provide pathways to realizing dreams of bright, financially secure futures.

One hundred percent of the students attain college enrollment and nearly 100% attend college.

How to become a Collegiate Challenge Mentor

To become a Collegiate Challenge mentor follow the steps below:

1. Complete the SBISD Mentor Application/Volunteer Registration. Registration for 2019-20 school year will open July 1. Click here for a link to the registration page.

2. Attend one new mentor training session: Contact Mary Uribe-Pizana for training schedule at or 713.251.2212.

Collegiate Challenge Mentoring Highlights


July 2019


Collegiate Challenge Scholars Add to Resumes with Internships in SBISD

This summer two current Collegiate Challenge students are working in the Spring Branch ISD Finance division and two former program participants are working in the Community Relations office. Each is benefiting from valuable, real-world experiences that add authenticity to their resumes.

For the past 18 years in SBISD, mentors and SBISD staff have invested time weekly with Collegiate Challenge cadres of high achieving students at six high schools to assist with the processes of college and career exploration, writing application essays, submitting college and scholarship applications, navigating financial aid, and encouraging them to maintain strong academic standards.

“I knew I wanted to go to college... read more here.

May 2019

NHS Grad Credits Collegiate Challenge Mentor with College Admission Help

Hannin Haifa – SBEF’s Memorial City Mall Scholarship Recipient

Since she was 3, Hannin (pronounced Haneen) Haifa lived with her grandparents in San Antonio. It was an idyllic life. Though she now knows her lifestyle was old-fashioned, it was normal to her. “Other families participated in sporting events and had parties. We gardened, did chores and rode bikes. We had no technology. I didn’t discover the Internet until high school.”

Her lifestyle prepared Hannin to excel. She was part of her school’s Gifted and Talented program since kindergarten and advanced to Gifted and Talented Leadership. She took dual credit classes, joined the National Honor Society, played violin in her school’s advanced orchestra, participated in a number of extracurricular activities and volunteered in the community.

The idyllic life was not to more here.

April 2018

More than 17 years into the successful run of the Collegiate Challenge program, a new cadre juniors from each SBISD high school have started their journey towards their goals of college acceptance and rewarding careers of interest to them. The students and their mentors are using the spring semester to fine tune essays and resumes to be included with college and scholarship applications in the fall. Expert advice from mentors and counselors is shared each week to encourage and keep the students on track.

Meanwhile, the Collegiate Challenge seniors are receiving college acceptances and financial aid packages. They will make final decisions about their college destinations by May 1.

At Spring Woods High School, juniors and seniors in the program, along with their mentors, came together for an end-of-year celebration. The seniors lined up and shared which colleges they plan to attend, as well as practical advice for the junior group.

SWHS Collegiate Challenge Class of 2018 declaring college plans

Collegiate Challenge Toolkit

Mentor Training
Career and College Planning
Résumé and Essay Information
ACT and SAT Information and Study Helps
Financial Aid Information
Scholarship List
Helpful Information for Undocumented Students
Location Meeting time Contact

Academy of Choice

9016-A Westview, 77055

Thursdays from 9:25 -10:10 a.m.

Lindsey Heinzman

Memorial High School

935 Echo Lane, 77024

Thursdays from 10:15 - 10:50 am
(starting in January),


Afternoons Tuesdays or Thursdays
3-4:30 p.m .

Steve Nickerson,

Northbrook High School

1 Raider Circle, 77080

Mondays from 6:15-8:15 p.m. Diedra Hader,

Spring Woods High School

2045 Gessner, 77080

Thursdays from 9:20-10:50 a.m. Jennifer Dyer,

Stratford High School

14555 Fern, 77079

Thursdays from 10:47-11:27 a.m., sometimes on Wednesdays due to late arrival Jenn Shock,

Westchester Academy

901 Yorkchester, 77079

Thursdays from
4:30-6 p.m.
Steven Schlabach,


Coordinator of Community Services and Mentoring Programs
Distritct College Transition Facilitator