(Decatur, GA) – The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) held a graduation ceremony for youth in the DJJ School System Friday, May 12 at the Georgia Department of Corrections Tift College in Forsyth, Ga. Twenty-two high school diplomas, 24 GED diplomas, and 21 Technical Certificates of Credit (TCC) were awarded to students. Class leaders included the valedictorian and salutatorian from the Muscogee Youth Development Campus (YDC) and the student with the highest GED score from the Muscogee Education Transition Center (ETC) in Columbus, Ga.
“I am so proud of our youth’s accomplishments,” said DJJ Commissioner Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb. “This is a defining moment in their lives and a step towards higher education and career readiness. I want to thank our team of educators for their dedication and commitment and for encouraging our youth to pursue their goals. We look forward to watching them flourish and accomplish their dreams.”
DJJ is the 181st school district in Georgia. Georgia Preparatory Academy (GPA) is the middle and high school and Pathway to Success is the GED program within the school system. GPA and Pathway to Success are located at 28 campuses within DJJ’s Regional Youth Detention Centers (RYDCs), YDCs, and ETCs across Georgia. DJJ operates GPA with a curriculum that meets the education standards set forth by the Georgia Department of Education for all public schools.
“It was an honor to celebrate with our graduates as they move to the next phase in their journey,” said Joyette M. Holmes, DJJ Board Member and graduation commencement speaker. “I know they are preparing to become our future leaders, and I hope they continue to have faith that the future they envision today will come to fruition.”
DJJ partners with the Technical College System of Georgia for the GED program and the Connections Graduate Program (CGP), which is designed to prepare graduates for college or career opportunities. Students enrolled in CGP earned certifications in Barbering Fundamentals, Microsoft Word Application, Prep Cook, Shampoo Tech, and Criminal Justice Fundamentals.
“As educators, we want to prepare youth to become successful citizens when they reenter their communities,” said Zane Shelfer, DJJ Deputy Superintendent of Schools. “Our partnership with the Technical College System of Georgia allows youth to obtain valuable skills and training necessary for college and gainful employment. I look forward to continuing to expand our partnership and providing youth with more opportunities to thrive.”
DJJ facilities with graduates included the Atlanta, Augusta, Eastman, Macon, and Muscogee YDCs, Bob Richards, Cadwell, Crisp, Elbert Shaw, Gainesville, Martha K. Glaze, Metro, Terrell, and Waycross RYDCs, and Bibb, Chatham, and Muscogee ETCs.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is a multi-faceted agency that serves the state's justice-involved youth up to 21 years of age. The Department's mission is to transform young lives by providing evidence-based rehabilitative treatment services and supervision, strengthening youth and families' wellbeing, and fostering safe communities. Visit us online at www.djj.georgia.gov.