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Posted on: November 13, 2023

Library graduates first adult student from GALE program

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Donald W. Reynolds Library announces first graduate of adult high school program


The City of Durant and Donald W. Reynolds Library of Durant, Oklahoma are to excited to announce the graduation of Natalie Pinales, the first student to successfully complete the GALE Presents: Excel Adult High School program offered at the library. 

The program, designed for adults ages 24 years and older, gives students the ability to finish their high school education in 24 months or less.

“I started the process of becoming part of this program back in February of this year,” said Jami Ellis, Programs Director and Adult Literacy Coordinator. “I have had some interest, but I haven't had a student stick with the program.... until now!” 

Student Natalie Pinales was the first to complete her education through the library.  “Natalie was so driven to finish her degree,” Ellis said. “She worked on the program in secret because she wanted to surprise her family.”

Pinales, a wife and mom of two, credits her family members as the driving force behind her decision to try again. “In November of 2021, I lost two very important people in my life, my grandpa, Mr. Pinales, and my stepmom, Miss Ora Ford,” she said. “One of my last conversations with my stepmom, she told me it's never too late to stop trying. Even though they are watching me from above, I wanted to show them and my two young, bright-minded children that anything is possible.” 

Seven classes short of a high school degree, Pinales excelled through the course in less than two months. “She was so adamant about sticking with it,” Ellis added. “She was finishing classes within a week of starting them.” 

Completing the GALE course is the equivalent of earning a high school diploma. “This counts as a regular diploma and now she can make further strides in her career, further her education if she chooses to do so,” Ellis said.

“Sometimes when you get to a certain point in your life, you may think it’s too late to go back and do something,” she added. “This program shows that you’re never too old to go back and get your education” 

“This program has given me a chance to continue my education and I couldn't be more thankful for the GALE program,” Pinales said. “This is just the beginning.”

The graduation ceremony honoring Pinales was held at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 13 in the community center meeting room at the library.

For more information about becoming part of the program, contact jellis@durant.org.

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