Hip, Hip, Hooray! That was the sound heard at Batesville Job Corps Center (BJCC) Friday June 25.
BJCC graduated thirty-one students who successfully completed classes for their high school diploma or GED and vocational training in carpentry, health occupations, painting, welding, food service business, office technology, retail sales, or brick masonry.
Alexander P. Alston, Center Director, encouraged the graduating class to "be proud of yourselves" and make your own way." Alston stated that these students don’t have to be discouraged just because they are disadvantaged. He challenged each student to go out into the world and make something of themselves.
Job Corps is the nation’s largest residential and educational training program for economically or financially disadvantaged youth ages 16-24. There are 118 Job Corps centers nationwide. BJCC currently ranks 51 in the nation. This was a big improvement based on the past report, which ranked them 100.
"There’s no secret for success," stated Edgar Holman Jr., guest speaker and Madison High School Principal in Marks. "I didn’t come here to tell you any secret or sprinkle any powder on you to make you successful. I just want to ask you one question; now that you have graduated, now what?" he asked.
Holman took the time to look each student in the eye and ask if each student would make a bond with him to continue to do the exact same thing that got them where they are now.
"Don’t let anybody hear you say…they gave me my diploma. You earned it; it’s yours. Every class you were assigned, you took it. They didn’t give you anything.
"I know there were some people who told you that you wouldn’t amount to anything, and I know you wish they were here so you could tell them ‘I told you so’," he stated. Holman encouraged the students to see themselves successful. He told the graduates they could be whatever they wished, regardless of what others told them.
BJCC enrolls 300 students per year. These students enter a self-paced program, which extends to a maximum of two years. In order to be a graduate from BJCC a student must successfully complete classes for a high school diploma or GED, and he or she must complete training in one of the available vocational training courses. The center also has a college program in association with Northwest Community College for students who intend on furthering their education.
"This is a chance to make an impact on the lives of young people," stated Dean Kendall, Deputy Center Director. "Some of these children come here without any place else to go, and no where to turn. Our job is to help them get a better life when they leave here," he added.
"I had a bad attitude when I first came here," stated Diana Jaques, high school diploma and health occupations graduate. "The teachers and staff helped me change my attitude and outlook on life. I made some friends and met some wonderful people. I intend to further my education when I leave here," added Jaques
BJCC has four career transition periods per year.
The following is a list of BJCC graduates for Jun 2004:
Curtis Benton, Joshua Boyce, Shemeka Conley,
Ashford Englehardt, Seseley Everett,
Shannon Fondren, Jimmy Gardner,
David Glasper, Kim Green, Timothy Harris,
Jazman Haynes, Shameka Hilson, Tasha Hogan,
Lakisha Hooper; Brendiera Jackson,
Diana Jaques, Constance Johnson, Yoshi King,
Oliver McLaurin, Kimberly Miller, Jamie Neal,
Brandon Pollet, Amanda Pruiett,
Anthony Rakestraw, John Ramee,
Victoria Ramirez, Shanina Scott, Bobby Taylor,
Antonius Thompson, Lakenya Warren and