School program helps first female student get CDL

DONNA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Donna Independent School District offers many programs designed to help students achieve their career goals.

One such program that helps train students is in commercial truck driving, and in the midst of a nationwide shortage of truckers, this program is not only good for the economy, but for the students as well.

Cecilia Contreras, 18, at Donna North High School, said she dreams of becoming a truck driver. This came about after the district offered a unique educational program called the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. The program focuses on commercial truck driving and is led by instructor Guadalupe Quintero.

“We review all the materials you need to get your permit. You have to get the training and every hour,” Quintero said. As for Contreras, she says, “it was difficult but after I got my licence, maybe a week later, we started going to Edinburgh to travel by lorry.”

She finally found her footing and is now the first woman in the program to graduate from CDL in December 2021, achieving that goal before graduating in May.

“Honestly, it was inspiring because it was really hard work with all the people helping out. It was a bit difficult, but we worked together,” Contreras said.

Contreras’ desire to become a truck driver stems from his relationship with his father who is also a truck driver.

“Because my dad always talked about working together when he got his license,” Contreras said.

Quintero said that given the number of students he has helped over the years get their CDL, this program is now needed more than ever due to the shortage of truck drivers.

“The older truck drivers are leaving, and the younger class isn’t looking to be a truck driver or they’re not introduced or don’t have that opportunity, and Donna [ISD] came to say it was an option,” Quintero said.

Happy to be included as another trucker to help out amid the shortage, Contreras said she enjoys exploring and traveling because it’s amazing and fun for her to see new things.