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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
July 11, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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July 11, 2018

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July 11, 2018 Page 7C porter By Diane Glidewell new s@mymcr.nef Burruss Correctional Training Center held high school commencement ceremonies for 33 gradu- ates on ThUrsday; June 28. As at most graduations, there were caps and gowns, a procession to "Pomp and Circumstance" a speech from the valedictorian and smiles (maybe a few tears) from proud parents and teachers. There were also some differences from most high school graduations: Media representatives were cautioned there there was only one graduate who was deared for pictures or in- terviews. All of the gradu- ates had to stay together for their graduation party, which was catered for them and their families by Rock Springs Church. Plans for college, technical school or jobs are on hold for most of those receiving their diplomas. Although Georgia inmates have been able to study and test for their GED's for a number of years, Burruss CTC is one of only three prisons in Georgia where inmates can go to school and complete requirements for a high school diploma, and the Class of 2018 was only the third class to graduate at Burruss, which is a me- Left, graduates chose Alexus Green, left, and Tonesha Battle for Golden Apple awards because of the encouragement and help they gave them in earning their diplomas. Right, Victor Cooper, keynote speaker at the Foothills Education Charter Schools graduation at Burruss CTC is pictured with Chaplain Sonja Moss, who gave the invocation and benedic- tion at the ceremony. (Photos/Diane Glidewell) dium security facility for young male offenders on the campus of the Geor- gia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. It houses over 800 inmates. This class of 33 exceeded the 2017 class of 31 gradu- ates and the 2016 class of 24 graduates but was less than the 43 graduates at Arrendale State Prison in Alto. Arrendale is a reer fields and is a source of Foothills provides every women's prison; it started pride and sense of accom- graduate with a diploma, a a high school program plishment for the students, class ring and a graduation about a year before Bur- The Foothills site direc- picture. The packets are russ did. This year a high tors at Burruss are Sarah given to family members school program was added Alford and MeQuanta for safe keeping. at Phillips State Prison in McCord. Alford is assistant The graduates choose two Buford. There is a waiting principal at Mary Persons, people for Golden Apple list of about 600 names of and McCord is assistant Awards. These are people inmates in the state who principal at Hubbard who have helped them re- would like to enroll in the Elementary. Many of the alize their goal of earning a .program to earn their high teachers at Burruss also high school diploma. They school diplomas, teach in Monroe Countypick one person who is part The high school classes Schools and then come to of the security staffand one are possible through a Burruss to teach in the eve- non-security person. The partnership with Foothills nings. One of them is Mary Class of 2018 chose Alexus Education Charter Schools, Persons 2017-18 Teacher Green and Tonesha Battle. based in Danielsville. of the Year Mark Smith. Green is a correctional of- Besides its programs in the Classes for the inmates are ricer at Burruss. She pushed three prisons, it also has Monday-Thursday; from the students to go to classes nine other sites around about 4:30-8:30 p.m. Both and to do their work. north and middle Georgia teachers and students are The inmates said she also where students from the working hard at the end encouraged them. Green is general public can enroll, of days filled with other working toward a degree in Foothills is a tuition-free, demands, criminal justice and leader- time-flexible program for "It takes many helpingship at Mercer University. students ages 18-21 to earn hands to bring it together "I know they think I'm a traditional diploma in a with this level of success" the meanest person, raising non-traditional setting. A said Burruss' James Payne sand" said Green. "But traditional diploma brings as he welcomed family and I'm in school as well, and more opportunities for friends to the ceremony getting to know them has advanced education, is a and thanked the Foot- meant something to me" better entry into some ca- hills staff and volunteers. The inmates chose Battle because she was always there to help them get the work done. "They work hard" said Battle. "I'm so proud of all ofy'all!" Battle, who lives in Jones County but has lots of family in Monroe County, has been teaching classes at Burruss for two years. "It's been a pleasure going to school with you guys" said Aaron Jones, the graduate with the highest grade point average, as he dosed his commencement address. He said that he felt he had accomplished a lot by earning his diploma, one thing being that he is no longer a dropout statistic. He said it was a lot of hard work, especially preparing for tests, but experience is a harder teacher; it tests you first and then teaches you the lesson. Jones said the past, present and future are all important, and not just as verb tenses. "Thank you to the com- mitted teachers" said Jones. "Our education doesn't stop here; we have much more to learn" He spoke well and eas- ily as he gave his address and presented the Golden Apples, but a few minutes later, when he was named the class scholarship recipi- ent, Jones was speechless, "I just don't know what to say" The program concluded with comments from a representative of the Georgia Board of Pardons & Paroles, who told the graduates that the Board is watching them and they should continue to achieve, availing themselves ot any opportunities available. Steve Smith, Education Prograrh Specialist, then told the graduates that they had done something to close the wound in their lives with their diplomas. lot of people believed in you, and they still do" said Smith. "Success in my program is your name in this program" Family members, friends, faculty and staff proudly attended tion ceremony at Burruss CTC on July 19. | "local Award Winning Business serving Monroe County and surrounding areas since 2009" ~Free House Cleaning to Anyone with Career" FULLY INSURED & BONDED, Professionally trained uniformed staff * House Clee~ing * Pressure Washing * Window Cleaning the Foothills Education Charter Schools high school gradua- DON'T MISS OUT ON MONROE COUNTY'S ONLY MAGAZINE OF THE YEARI 2018 new residents imo YOUR new cuslomcrs by lellin8 )llu have Io offer in Wek(mle [tome 2018, IHE Nt~comcts (;uJde lo Monnv~ C~mty. DEADLINE JULY 25TH Premium Page S1035 Full Page S783 !/2 Page S415 1/4 Page $216 To reserve your space, contact: CAROLYN MARTEL 478.960.2259 ~rnail: !