No one in their families had gone to college, there was little money to help them and they didn't know how to go about applying.
Now, after only a few months in the Girls Involved in Real Life Situations Club at school, they and other club members are talking boldly about graduating from college as lawyers, teachers and psychologists, among other professions.
Since the fall, when G.I.R.L.S. was formed specifically for first-generation college-bound female students, about 17 girls meet weekly to discuss their struggles, successes and goals for the future.
"We talk a lot about our personal lives and how we can overcome challenges we face," Gaby Vaca said. "Just the fact that we're Latinos, we're the first generation going to college, we're women, those are all already challenges."
You can read the full story in the Daily Herald's edition from Sunday, February 12, 2012, or online at www.dailyherald.com