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You are here: Home / Newsroom / News Stories / ARCHIVED News Stories / ARCHIVED: 2016 News Stories / Persistence and Dedication Pay Off for KJCC Graduate

Persistence and Dedication Pay Off for KJCC Graduate

by adamp — last modified Jan 03, 2017 12:01 PM
Blake, whose real name is being withheld for privacy issues, arrived at Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) without a high school diploma or GED. On Friday, June 17, that changed as Blake and his 16 classmates, dressed in caps and gowns, received their diplomas from KJCC's Lawrence Gardner High School (LGHS) in front of friends and family.

Blake had made three prior attempts at passing the GED test before finally becoming successful in March, in time for his release in July and for the formal graduation ceremony at LGHS, KJCC's educational provider through Smoky Hill Education Service Center in Salina.

In addition to earning his GED, Blake received OSHA 10 and 30 certifications from Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech) to learn basic and supervisory level occupational safety and health practices in the workplace. He also earned three levels of nationally recognized training that complies with U.S. Department of Labor time-based standards for apprenticeship in the electrical field. In addition to Blake, 48 youth received industry-recognized certificates from Washburn Tech. 

In the crowd, cheering on Blake was his family and young son.

“I was glad to see him, but I didn’t want him to see me in here," said Blake of his son. "This day means a lot though - having him here. It’s time for him to shine. I am going to do something for him.” 

Blake plans to complete the next level of training in the electrical field at Washburn Tech and then pursue a career as an electrician.

LGHS Principal Steve Backman described the graduation as one of the more enthusiastic celebrations for the students.

“With the support of over 70 family members, the presence of the newly appointed Secretary of Corrections, Mr. Norwood, and Judge Foster from Johnson County in attendance - made for one of the liveliest and fun graduations I can remember," Backman said. "We are all so very proud.”

Led by eight students and highlighting the ceremony was a 273-word recital of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Edward Abbeuhl, LGHS educator, said the recital was inspired by youth in Vermont and incorporated into the LGHS graduation three years ago with an expectation of continued tradition for years to come.

Capping of the graduation festivities was the announcement of three KJCC finalists in the nationwide, Kids Got Talent Contest, hosted by Performance-based Standards (PbS).   Video submissions came in from 120 youth, across 14 states showcasing a variety of skills.  From the 120 youth, 15 finalists were named.  All 15 finalist, including Kansas’ own will be recognized at the PbS Awards Gala August 5th in Boston.   

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