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Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 6:19 PM CDT

ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The Ector County Library is funding adult education and helping West Texans create a brighter future.

The library has awarded 14 scholarships valued at $1,100 to attend the Gale Excel Adult High School. It’s a virtual, self-paced program for people over age 21 to earn their diploma.

The program can take up to two years. However, 21-year-old Jay Ybarra finished it in two months.

The start and end of a typical day for Ybarra blurs. At 6 p.m., she hops in the car and heads to her job as a night shift gate operator.

As she completed her classes, she used every break to work on her virtual classes on her phone.

When she got off work at 6 a.m., or on her off days, she took classes to earn her CDL.

“Yeah, it was hard. I had days where I didn’t sleep at all, but I just couldn’t give up,” Ybarra said. “I had to finish. I had to get it done, or I would let myself down and I would let other people around me down.”

Last week she earned her high school diploma. This week she earned her CDL.

“Well, I’ve been trying to get my diploma and my GED, but I just didn’t have enough drive in me to get it,” Ybarra said. “So when I seen this program, I took it seriously and made it all the way to the finish line.”

She hopes this will brighten her family’s future and inspire some of them to get their diploma. She credits her mother, girlfriend and grandmother in heaven for her success.

There are many more people like Ybarra who want to join the program, but need a scholarship to do so, said Howard Marks, the library’s director.

“We had this overwhelming demand,” Marks said. “We put out a social media post and 250 people responded. I mean, just an overwhelming response.”

The library had enough funding to give out 14 scholarships in the last year-and-a-half. They need more funds to give more scholarships, said Angela Gaule, the AV and young adult librarian.

“They want this opportunity,” Gaule said. “They’re contacting me. They’re asking me, ‘can I get my diploma before the next semester of college starts?’ They’re ready to go.”

The library is looking for community partners to sponsor more students. If you’re interested, you can

Original Article:

Ector County Library
321 West 5th Street
Odessa, Texas 79761
Phone: (432) 332-0633
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Ector County Library
321 West 5th Street
Odessa, Texas 79761
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