A Tuesday, June 25, ceremony at Warner Creek Correctional Facility served as a commencement for inmates that had earned their general equivalency diploma (GED) through Treasure Valley Community College.
WCCF inmate graduates included: Jamie Buell, Rajlo Collins, Shawn Coppock, Al Cruz, Matthew Ferguson, Keith Halaas, Franklin Harris, Joshua Holland, Sammy Lopez, Geoff Owens, Tyler Read, Dale Roberts, Alejandro Torres and Joshua Wright.
GED graduates no longer at WCCF included Christopher Berry, Joshua Coon, Hawk Erickson, Dale Fifield, Bruce Henning and Jesse Wilkinson.
“One of the most significant services we provide to prevent future criminal behavior is education,” said Supt. Steve Brown.
The TVCC Education Coordinator at WCCF, Teresa Durkin, likened the GED process to the hypothetical situation of eating an elephant; the key is to take one bite at a time, she said.
“These men had to plan, had to learn how to utilize certain tools…,” she said, “but most importantly, they had to persevere. Some came willing and ready to learn, others not so much… but they finally ate the elephant.”
Dawnell Meyer, administrator for Education and Training for the Oregon Dept. of Corrections with Workforce Development, recalled an encounter with one of her fellow graduates from a community college who, as an ex-convict, turned his life around and emerged as the class valedictorian with a college degree.
Meyer reflected on the value in education’s ability to reshape one’s post-release life path.
The master of ceremonies, inmate Michael Montgomery, noted that WCCF’s graduation rate is the highest in the state with honors and more than twice the statewide average.