• September 18, 2019

GOOD NEWS: Drive to Success winners rewarded for success in school - Odessa American: Odessa College

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GOOD NEWS: Drive to Success winners rewarded for success in school

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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 5:00 am

The panic button was pushed … a car alarm started to sound … and the winner was? Jennifer Guffie jumped and screamed as she realized she was standing in front of the car whose alarm was blaring, and she had just become the winner of a 2019 Ford Mustang at the Odessa College Drive to Success Finale.

Jennifer and four other students ­— Daisy Castaneda, Taylor Martin, Tyler Latham and Michael Alva — had been anticipating this moment since they had received a call notifying them that they were a finalist in the 2019 Drive to Success. One student would win the Mustang and the remaining four would each receive a $200 Visa cash card.

Guffie, a Kermit resident who is visually impaired and cannot drive, has taken her classes at Odessa College as online classes, which she says has been a blessing. After going through a divorce two years ago and hitting her rock bottom, she has turned her life around. This single parent and mother of two, one of whom is autistic, is a full-time student at both OC and UTPB and will graduate from OC this month with an associate degree in teaching. She plans to continue her studies this summer and complete her baccalaureate degree at UTPB next year. Added to this load, Jennifer also is employed full-time with the Kermit ISD as a paraprofessional and works with special education youngsters in the younger grades. She takes all of these challenges and pushes forward through each day, and now she has a new car. She says she won’t have a problem getting her oldest daughter or some of her friends to drive her when she needs to go somewhere or attend her classes at UTPB.

 On April 18, at the DTS Finalists Drawing Celebration in the Odessa College Sports Center, the five finalists’ names were randomly picked by computer.

Three additional OC students received awards for earning the most DTS points during the 2018-2019 academic year. Mitchell Halpain had 328 points and received $1,000; Clarisa Benavides had 296 points and received $350; and the third student, Elyssa Orona, had 290 points and received $150.

For a student to qualify for Drive to Success, a student must be taking at least six credit hours of course work and be in good standing with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, and no major disciplinary violations. Odessa College wants to reward students for doing the right things. Drive to Success is the ultimate incentive program to encourage student engagement by giving them the opportunity to win prizes for doing things that are proven to increase overall success in college. Students not only have the opportunity to win the Grand Prize of a Ford Mustang. Throughout the year, participants can also win one of the monthly prizes, typically valued between $100 and $500.

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