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Compass Award Winners Find Their ‘True North’: College Success

Sometimes a calculated risk can yield fantastic rewards. At Gateway to College graduation this June, the risk of doing high school differently paid off.

Four Gateway to College students were named 2022’s Compass Award winners in May. The Gateway to College Compass Award is given to students who exemplify the school’s four pillars: Attendance, Growth, Accountability and Hard Work. The 2022 winners are Abdirahman Hassan, Dana Kotchick, Arianna Mullings and Daniel Peters. All four also received the Olga B. Hart $500 scholarship and spoke at Gateway to College ALC’s graduation on June 7, 2022. 

Gateway to College is a Saint Paul Public Schools Alternative High School in partnership with Saint Paul College. Students who attend are ages 16-21 and are credit deficient, but highly skilled. Students who come to Gateway to College are ready for college and are looking to challenge themselves, but want to take advantage of the wraparound support Gateway to College offers, including low counselor-to-student ratios, mental health supports, and a teaching staff who teach required courses needed for graduation, as well as support students with their collegiate coursework. 

Abdirahman Hassan

Abdirahman Hassan (pictured right) came to the U.S. in the spring of 2021 and transferred to Gateway that fall. After graduation, Abdirahman will continue with an internshipat 3M and his education at Saint Paul College. 

Dana Kotchick came to Gateway to College at 16 after experiencing some life difficulties. She was a student ambassador, worked full-time, and went on to graduate from high school and Saint Paul College with a 4.0 grade point average. In fact, she attended her graduation from Saint Paul College (earning an AA in Exercise Science) three weeks before she graduated from high school. 

Arianna Mullings moved to Minnesota in the spring of 2021 and found her way to Gateway. She graduated cum laude and with her CNA certification as well. 

Daniel Peters exhibited true Gateway leadership qualities. With nearly 100% attendance (difficult to do in the COVID-19 era), Daniel was a consistent hard worker who always held himself accountable for his academics. 

“I did reach my goals … eventually. I believe that struggle definitely magnifies and intensifies success. We are our best selves when we embrace the memories and lessons of our past,” Abdirahman Hassan shared on stage at graduation. “Once you start to accept and embrace your history, you will realize that these struggles played and will continue to play a significant role in building you into the person you are becoming.”

Gateway to College ALC is accepting applications for the 2022-23 school year. Students who are interested should fill out the application form at or call 651-403-4222.