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April Ibarra

April Ibarra

From left, Jim Struby, OKDHS; Rep. Harold Wright; April Ibarra; Joe Robinson, ODCTE; Janie Clay, OkCTEEC; and Kathy Quinn-Teague, OSRHE.

April 25, 2014

Chisholm Trail Technology Center student April Ibarra recently received the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council.

Ibarra was one of 25 people honored at the 20th annual Making It Work Day April 24 at the state Capitol. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.

Ibarra, a single mother of two, excels in her automotive service technician program, said Helen Naifeh, Chisholm Trail Program LIFE coordinator, who nominated Ibarra for the award. She has worked hard to prove herself in a field dominated by men, Naifeh said.

“Her battle to balance home life and career advancement has been an uphill journey,” Naifeh said. “She has had to learn to slow down, sooth out some of the rough edges and learn solid employability skills. She is making wonderful progress in all areas and will graduate this spring. There is no doubt that April will make her mark as an automotive service technician.”

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“The mission of OkCTEEC is to serve as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents, teen parents, single pregnant teens and women, nontraditional students and at-risk females,” said Lou Ann Hargrave, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Sandy Elledge of the Department of Human Services and Kathy Quinn-Teague of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“State and federal programs often cannot remove all the obstacles facing those living in poverty,” said Janie Clay, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Allied Jobs Program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. “Therefore, a strong community partnership is imperative among agencies, businesses and industries as the participants transition from education and training to employment and self-sufficiency. We rely heavily on our partners to provide learning opportunities outside the classroom.”

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit

Laura Wilson, Writer/Editor

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