For Mayra Martinez, securing a high school diploma was a distant wish. She became pregnant as a teenager and had to make a tough decision – finish high school or get a job to support her family. Mayra chose the latter. 

Fast forward nine years, Martinez is the mother of two precious children, a PreK student and 2nd grader at Brandenburg Elementary School, and works for the same company as when she left high school. Thanks to the district’s newest campus, the Night OWL Academy, Martinez’s dream of graduating high school is now a very promising reality. 

The OWL in Night OWL Academy stands for “Opportunities Without Limits.” This newly opened campus gives students who are in danger of dropping out or have dropped out the opportunity to earn their high school diploma by taking classes in the evening. 

The academy meets Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8:15 PM at Cardwell Career Preparatory Center. Martinez, along with 18 other students enrolled in the Night OWL Academy, began the first day the same day the district opened its doors, Monday, August 16. Less than two weeks in,  she is already feeling extremely thankful for the opportunity. 

“I am really grateful,” Martinez says. “The teachers are amazing, and they are always there to help you. I enjoy coming here. Even the students among each other…we help each other.”

Martinez learned about the Night OWL Academy by accident. She was registering her sons for school and happened upon information about the academy. Martinez was ecstatic. She was the district’ first student to submit an application and the first one to get accepted. 

Dr. Lance Campbell, Irving ISD’s assistant chief of campus operations and attendance initiatives, oversees the Night OWL Academy and is truly proud of Martinez and her commitment to graduating no matter the obstacles and life circumstances. 

“Mayra is a great role model for her kids and for all individuals who may be considering coming back to school to receive their high school diploma,” Dr. Campbell says. “She exemplifies perseverance, and we are truly proud of her commitment!”   

Martinez is slated to graduate from the Night OWL Academy this coming January. With a diploma in hand, she’ll pursue positions within her company that ultimately take her to the next level in pay and responsibilities. For Martinez, there are no limits to her future. 

“I feel like I’m setting an example by going back,” Martinez says. “I’m showing my kids that it’s never too late to go back and get it done”

If you or someone you know would benefit from the Night OWL Academy, visit It’s never too late to change the trajectory of your future!