25 Receive High School Diplomas at KJCC
In front of their family and friends, their peers and corrections staff, 25 young men received high school or GED diplomas, symbolizing both their hard work in school within KJCC and also the opportunities that lie ahead for them.
“These young men have experienced tough times, but they’ve shown that they know how to make the most of the opportunities that come in tough times,” said Steve Backman, principal of Lawrence Gardner High School (LGHS), which operates inside the facility.
One student spoke to the gathering of more than 200 about the opportunity that LGHS had presented to him.
“When I came here, I had no credits. None,” said the young man who graduated with a 3.8 GPA after 18 months of hard work at LGHS. “I’m proud of myself and the others who are graduating.”
LGHS is a fully accredited high school designed to meet the needs of students housed in the complex. The special-purpose school, run by the Smoky Hill Education Service Center in Salina, prepares students to successfully reintegrate into their previous school, or to complete their high school education while in the juvenile justice system.
The number of youth graduating at KJCC was bolstered by the inclusion of several who were recently transferred from Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility. The Larned facility is in the process of being closed, and most of its population has been transitioned to the Topeka complex.
Janet Waugh, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education, praised the young men for their accomplishment and was enthusiastic about the work being done within the program.
“As a member of the board, I want to make sure that these young people have the same opportunity that kids in any other school system have,” said Waugh. “They should be challenged the same, and have the same advantages that anyone else would have to succeed. I’m happy to have been here today because I’m passionate about every student.”