On Saturday, she and family and friends will meet near the place where her older brother was denied access into the school. At 1:30 p.m., a ceremony will be held at Goliad High School for the late Willie Carbajal, who became the first Mexican-American student to be allowed to attend a Goliad ISD school in 1932.
Ybarbo’s and Carbajal’s father, Anastacio Carbajal, had fought hard since 1929 for Willie to become the first Mexican-American student at Goliad High School.
In 1929, the Goliad Public Instruction Council, equivalent to today’s school board, denied Carbajal’s request to allow his son attend Goliad High School.
Anastacio Carbajal sought help from the San Antonio chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens and LULAC formed a Goliad chapter to help Carbajal with his efforts.
Goliad High School Principal Frank Wallace supported Carbajal’s attempts and accompanied him to Austin to bring the case to the Texas Board of Education.
“My daddy would fight anybody in the world,” Ybarbo, 86, said. “Going to school and learning was the most important thing to him. He never let us forget how important that was.”
In the 1930’s, over 90 percent of South Texas school systems had separate schools for Mexican-American students, according to Willie’s son, Ben Carbajal.
Finally, after a three-year battle, Willie Carbajal was granted the right to attend Goliad High School by the Texas School Board.
Willie Carbajal arrived for his first day at GHS an hour before classes were scheduled to start, but GHS officials would not allow him entry.
“My daddy asked Willie how he did in his first day in high school,” Ybarbo said. “Willie said, ‘OK, but they wouldn’t let me in. I had to sit outside on the steps.’ My daddy, said, ‘What?’ ”
“My father was really upset about that,” Ben Carbajal said. “After all they went through, he still couldn’t get in.”
Anastacio Carbajal and his son remained undeterred. Willie sat on the front steps of the school for three days before he was finally allowed to go to classes.
Willie Carbajal went on to excel in academics and sports. he was named to the all-district football team and was a standout on Goliad’s first football team to make the playoffs.
Willie Carbajal wasn’t allowed to invite an Anglo girl to the homecoming dance, so he took his older sister, Sarita.
“They both danced with all the other kids in the school,” Ben Carbajal said.
Ben Carbajal said his father continued to be the target of discrimination during his high school days, but had schoolmates support him. Willie Carbajal named his first daughter, Jerrine, after schoolmate Lillian Jerrine Bergmann, who supported and encouraged Willie during his high school days.
Willie Carbajal went on to live most of his life in Boling. He died in 1968 and is buried at the La Bahia Cemetery alongside his parents.
“My granddad never gave up,” Ben Carbajal said. “He was always pushing the kids to do better.”