Literacy Classes Double in Size

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

The oil fields are bringing in workers from all over the world, and many of the families don't speak English and have no way of communicating when they get here.

The Andrews Literacy Program tells us in just the past few months their numbers have doubled. 

It's the most growth they've ever seen. 

Not only do they teach English as a Second Language, but they also help adults get their GED.

NewsWest 9 spoke with one Andrews native who says she just wants to go to College.

"It's very encouraging," GED Student Crystal Vaquez, said. "You see everyone actually focusing and trying to get stuff done and it motivates you to do it."

Andrews is Crystal's hometown, and for the past several weeks she's been working on her GED at the Andrews County Literacy Program. Her goal is to get a respiratory therapy degree at Odessa College.

"It takes you through everything and refreshes your memory on everything," she said. "It's very useful."

"There's somebody here all the time," Andrews County Literacy Program Director Mike Sutton, said. "There's somebody that needs help all the time."

With newcomers from Peru, El Salvador, and Iraq putting down new roots, the program is growing by leaps and bounds.

"The last two months have been the biggest two months as long as I've been here, as far as attendance goes," Sutton said.

The literacy program has partnered with Odessa College providing resources and the opportunity for higher education.

"Most of our students are housewives and they come during the day while their children are at school," Sutton said.

But while many hope to pursue a College career, others have simpler goals.

"We do a lot of communication type things where they want to learn to talk to somebody," Sutton said.

English as a Second Language is another program offered that's keeping the teachers busy.

"There's a large population that work in the oil field that are very limited in their English speaking," Sutton said.

The program director tells us they use a combination of book study and online learning programs. 

They teach students at every level and plan to expand the program in the future.