By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/PIO
Calipatria State Prison
“They can no longer refer to you as a statistic of a failed system,” Warden (A) Warren L. Montgomery told the graduates. “This is an opportunity to continue to demonstrate to yourselves and those who otherwise had forgotten about you that the best you have to offer has yet to come.”
Wearing blue, black or burgundy caps and gowns, the graduates celebrated and shared refreshments with about 50 guests on hand to offer support and congratulations.
The class valedictorian noted that the inmates have acquired the knowledge essential to find jobs upon release.
“When I say ‘essential’ it is not just because of the academic advantage and doors to higher learning that a high school education opens,” said inmate Donnell Jeffers, “but also because reaching this milestone sets a standard in regards to showing how an individual manages potential, which in turn will establish the standard of life.”
Guest speaker Maria Nava-Froelich, mayor of Calipatria, encouraged the students to continue their educational pursuits upon their release.
“I feel you have accomplished a lot by receiving your GED, but this is not the end but the beginning,” he said. “You who have earned your GED, you need to start your associate degree, and you who have received your associate degree, you must start your bachelor’s degree, and then your master’s degree as this is only the beginning.”