By Bernice Van Klaveren, Principal Visions Adult School

Corcoran State Prison honored a total of 108 graduates during graduation ceremonies March 5.

General Education Diplomas were presented to 107 inmates, and one vocational student was recognized for earning a completion in the Vocational Electronics Program by obtaining certification as a network cable technician, customer service specialist, and associate certified electronics technician.

Guest speaker Correctional Captain Ronald Broomfield shared stories about his own “prison education” from his rookie years.

“By educating yourself you have begun to redefine who you are from the inside out,” he told the graduates. “And while this transformation starts from within, it will ultimately spill out and redefine how others see you as well.  So let me encourage you. As I see what you have accomplished today, I don’t see inmates; today, I only see men.” He then challenged them to continue on with their education by asking, “What’s next?”

That question was answered as some of the graduates delivered speeches.  There were many tearful moments as the speakers addressed the crowd of fellow graduates, families, administrators, teachers, and custody staff.

“I have an existing desire to endlessly learn, grow, and develop,” said one graduate, who was one of several who thanked their instructors.

Another graduate said it best: “God willing, I will continue with my education because I’m not done yet.”