The future’s SO BRIGHT they gotta wear shades
20 inmates get their GEDs at Nelson Correctional’s graduation ceremony
|Photo by Shonna Riggs|
THEY MADE THE GRADE: 20 graduates, inset, top. In foreground, inmate Byron Bacon with proud daughter, Jessica. And guys - from all of us here at the Herald-Guide, great job. We congratulate you - and salute you.
Sheriff Greg Champagne and St. Charles Parish Schools Superintendent, Dr. Rodney Lafon spoke to inmates about improving their lives and furthering their education once they’ve completed serving time in jail.
“Typically when you think of a jail, the thoughts and feelings that come to mind are negative, despair, depression, and overall a general pessimistic outlook for the future,” Champagne said to a crowd of inmate’s family members.
“But not in this room, not with these people graduating today,” he continued.
Keith Jackson, 22 an inmate from Killona and an honor grad from the course gave the commencement speech.
“Having a G.E.D. is a great and wonderful accomplishment, but we should not stop at this diploma, and by no means am I undermining our accomplishment of earning this achievement, but I am challenging all the graduates, including myself to continue to strive and seek the next level of education,” Jackson said.
“Simply put, my motto is L.I.F.E. (Living Intelligently Fuels Excellence).”
Byron Bacon, 48 made an agreement with his daughter about completing the program.
“I told my daughter that if I was able to get my G.E.D. in jail, then she would have to go back to school and get hers,” Bacon said.
“I suffer with low self-esteem and I never thought I could accomplish this goal, but I did and now I want my daughter to keep her promise and complete her education.”
Over the course of the entire program, the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility has had 180 graduates, all receiving their G.E.Ds.
“I’m not aware of any of our Nelson Coleman graduates being released and then turning to a life of crime,” Champagne said.
“If I’m right, that is an amazing statistic.”
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