Using His ‘Why’ To Find Success

Published: May 3, 2023

As you pass through the halls at College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Ada County Center Pintail Building, you’ll often find Business student, Kilawusi Gato, studying and utilizing the College’s Tutoring Services. Gato has big goals for himself for the future and knows if he wants to someday achieve them — he must put in the work.

“I want to get into real estate and real estate investing,” said Gato. “I enjoy working with people. I’ve already been in contact with people who are in those careers.”

Gato is finishing up his third semester at CWI, where he plans to graduate in Spring 2024 and transfer to Boise State University to study International Business and Marketing.

He chose to attend CWI because he felt its affordability and class sizes would allow him to thrive in school.

“It just felt right. I didn’t want to join a class that had hundreds of students because it would be really hard to concentrate and focus. At CWI, the classes are smaller and I feel like I get more support.”

That feeling of support at school is something very important to Gato.

Originally from Uganda, Gato moved to Idaho in 2016 and always dreamed of attending college in the United States. But being a refugee student, he struggled with a language barrier.

“When I first got to CWI, one of the first classes I stepped into I was like, ‘Wow, it’s kind of hard.’ Because the English comprehension level was really high, I dropped out in my first semester. I also didn’t have books or a working computer which made things even harder.”

However, that setback was not enough for Gato to give up on his dreams of going to school. The following semester he reenrolled at the College and spoke with CWI Advisors to help get a better start this time around.

Through his support system, Gato was able to register for CWI’s Bridge to English 101 course. It is a class through the Adult Education program that prepares students for English 101 (ENGL-101) with help in academic writing, critical reading, digital skills, and finding college resources for additional help to achieve success in school, like CWI Tutoring Services.

Gato said these tools at the College helped him feel a lot more confident in his abilities.

“I came back more prepared because I had dreams I wanted to achieve and plans for the future. I was able to knock it out of the park.”

A few semesters later, Gato is still “knocking it out of the park” in his classes and still regularly visits Tutoring Services for additional support. With his newfound confidence at school, he is also not afraid to approach his instructors and professors when he needs some extra guidance and help on course material.

Gato says his goal of being successful in a career post-college to help support those he loves is his motivation to keep going and work hard.

“For others who may be struggling in school or with a language barrier, you have to find your biggest ‘Why’ you want to go to school. Mine is because I want to show my family and others in my generation what I can accomplish. I want to be there for my family, whose first language is also not English. They are my ‘Why.’”

He also encourages others to not be afraid to talk to people and find help if they are struggling — just like he did.

For those interested in learning more about the Bridge Program, contact Adult Education Supervisor, Trevi Hardy, at Those in need of more information about CWI’s Tutoring Services are asked to contact

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