By Lt. Kirk Geringer, A.A., Public Information Officer,
Pleasant Valley State Prison
In August, Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) held a graduation ceremony for 71 GED graduates, three high school diploma graduates and 35 Career Technical Education (CTE) completions in areas related to Small Engines, Welding, Building Maintenance and Electronics.
Speakers for the day’s event included Chaplains Abdul Johnson and Edward Peraza; Mark Wilder, Volunteer Education Teacher; CTE Instructor Mike Chagoya; PVSP Principal Cheryl Lopez; Vice Principal Pete Longoria; and Warden Scott Frauenheim. The staff gave words of encouragement and praise for all the men’s accomplishments.
Russell Lee Sims, valedictorian, also gave a speech which was described as “inspirational” by staff and inmates alike.
“We have time, we have material resources, educational programs and most important … at this prison we have teachers, a principal and even a warden who cares about education. The college program on this yard is working, in no small part, because we have a proctor who supports us,” Sims said. “Not only are these people supporting us on the front end, they are supporting us at the back end. Ms. Lopez wanted to make sure our accomplishments are recognized and today we are having a graduation.”
Three other inmates also completed courses from the Coastline Community College while at PVSP. Sims acquired an AA in General Business; Adam Jennings added an AA in Arts & Humanities and Joshua James gained an AA with honors in General Business.