By Linda K. Babcock, Supervisor of Academic Instruction
California Men’s Colony

June 2014 West Facility Inmate Graduation 006California Men’s Colony (CMC) Central Coast Adult School graduated 145 inmates in the West Facility Chapel.  Among those were 97 GED graduates, 45 vocational graduates, 3 college graduates, and a firefighter graduate. An additional 121 inmates were unable to attend due to parole, transfers, or medical issues.

June 2014 West Facility Inmate Graduation 011Keynote speakers Warden E. Valenzuela and Chief Deputy J. Gastelo encouraged inmates to realize the impact of receiving a GED, vocational certificate or college degree. The Warden and the Chief Deputy each stressed the significance of the graduation ceremony is just the first steps in their personal journey to conquer their past mistakes and to look within themselves for a better future.

June 2014 West Facility Inmate Graduation 008Three CMC graduates spoke to their peers about the positive changes happening in their lives and how their perspectives have changed with the gratification of receiving a GED.  Each graduate encouraged others to look within themselves and see their potential.

“I want to contribute to my family, not be a burden to them”, stated one humble young graduate.

An inmate who had been incarcerated for over 23 years talked about the guilt he felt about not having a GED.  He related that it is never too late to become a better person.  “Today I stand before you a proud man with a bright future.”

A 59-year-old inmate spoke of his pride for earning his GED and how happy he is to show his grandchildren what he has achieved.

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As an educational hub, CMC continues to expand their academic and vocational education opportunities.

Special thanks are given to the staff for ensuring inmates have an opportunity for self improvement through the acquisition of knowledge and employable skills.

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