By Howard Gaines Community Resources Manager
California Institution for Men
California Institution for Men held a commencement ceremony for 12 GED graduates attired in yellow caps and gowns from Inland Valley Education Center and another 16 in hard hats from Career Technical Education, before an appreciative contingent of family, friends, custody staff, and Inland Valley Education Center (IVEC) educators.
Chief Deputy Warden (A) Brian Covey kicked off the theme of transformation by stating from the podium, “Students. You’ve made the choice to be called that.”
“Graduation is not an end goal,” Principal Genevie Candelaria said. “It’s the starting point for future endeavors.”
GED Valedictorian De’Allgo Vega, who entered prison with only a fifth grade education, then tearfully addressed the audience, in particular his beaming spouse. “To my wife, I couldn’t have done it without you. It’s almost over.”
Jared Manley, chosen by his peers to represent the Level 1 graduates from carpentry and building maintenance, said, “I like the vocational class because it takes me out of the prison atmosphere. The instructors treat us as students and not as inmates. ”
Keynote speaker Bob Nash, Coastline Community College, Associate Dean of Distance Learning, next highlighted the perseverance it takes to graduate in prison with the caveat: “I vote all of you Most Likely to Succeed.”
In April, following an exhaustive self-study review by the entire school staff, IVEC received a mid-cycle reaffirmation of its six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or better known as WASC.