80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsV.I. Corrections Celebrates First Ever Transforming Lives Academy Graduation

V.I. Corrections Celebrates First Ever Transforming Lives Academy Graduation

Graduates receive their diplomas. (Photo courtesy of BOC)

At the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Center and John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility, the V.I. Bureau of Corrections recently celebrated the accomplishments of 41 inmates who graduated from programs meant to help them transform their lives.

Inmate programs help inmates transition from prison to the community by providing reentry services, academic and vocational education, treatment for substance abuse, and fundamental life skills, according to a press release announcing the graduates. In addition, programs provide meaningful activities that keep inmates engaged and help ensure the safety of the facilities, it said.

“The goal under this administration is to ensure that our clients are better citizens when they return to the community than when they came in and that families can stay connected with their loved ones while incarcerated,” Director Wynnie Testamark stated.

Transforming Lives Graduation – Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center

On June 20, for the first time ever at Government House on St. Thomas, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and the bureau hosted the Transforming Lives Academy Graduation. With the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” humming in the air, government officials, bureau staff, and family dressed to the nines awaited the soon-to-be graduates.

A professional-accredited certificate or high school diploma was awarded to 10 graduates. Cira Burke, CEO of Inspire VI LLC, the mistress of ceremonies, opened the commencement ceremony. The Rev. Dr. Sharon Jackson McDonald of Impacting Your World Christian Ministries offered the invocation, and St. John Administrator Shikima Jones-Sprauve sang the Virgin Islands March and the national anthem. Testamark, BOC’s Programs and Grants Manager Peter Abrahams, and UVICELL Director Suzanne Darrow-Magras gave welcoming remarks as waves and smiles filled the ballroom.

State Director for the Career and Technology Education/Adult Education Monique Faulkner delivered the commencement address and shared, “Through anger, we develop moods, prolonged negative moods developed into temperaments and if we are not careful to check ourselves, temperaments can evolve into personalities that spur fixed mindsets.” She told the graduates, “You make the conscious decision to take back your life.”

The “hero of the program,” BOC’s Case Management Planner Tanesha S. Russell, was recognized for her continued efforts in propelling the educational program and ensuring that inmates complete the same. Graduates shared words of excitement and appreciation for the program and how important it was to them.

The ceremony included remarks from Bryan and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach, who lauded the graduates, noting their accomplishments despite numerous obstacles and setbacks. Bryan shared that he believes in second chances, noting that individuals make mistakes and that if the graduates were serious about rejoining the community, he would assist in helping with reintegration. With those sentiments in mind, he commuted the life sentence of Felix Perez, who has been incarcerated for the past 37 years.

This year’s graduates are:

      Daliqua Moses – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Jahkeel Clarke – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Rasokemo Archibald – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Tyler Labarrie – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Aubrey Frett – Penn Foster Career Diploma (Accounting)

      Akenda Weeks – Penn Foster Career Diploma (Automotive Repair Technician)

      Marciano Rivera –  Penn Foster Career Diploma (Automotive Repair Technician)

      Daliqua Moses – Penn Foster Career Diploma (Human Resources Management)

      Janelle Walters – Penn Foster Career Diploma (Medical Billing and Coding)

      Jerome Wallace – Penn Foster Career Diploma  (Start Your Own Business)

      Koi Thomas – Penn Foster Career Diploma (Start Your Own Business)

Transforming Lives Graduation – John A. Bell Adult Correction Facility

The bureau held its Transforming Lives Academy Graduation June 16 at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility, with 31 inmates receiving certificates of completion, special recognition, and professionally accredited diplomas.

Testamark, Darrow Magras, Acting Warden Dana Grant, BOC Programs and Grants Manager Peter Abrahams, Chaplain Ludger Berkitt, Construction Superintendent Anthony Wheeler, PREA Coordinator Sandra Gerard-Leung, and Correctional Instructor Urla Wiltshire, who served as the mistress of ceremonies, offered words of encouragement and congratulations.

Adryann Glenn, founder and CEO of Align Community, was the guest speaker and shared his story and motivational insights of challenges encountered and overcome through decisions. He charged graduates and participants to be intentional in this moment: “Live it, know everything in your mind, keep a tally, take time to celebrate and celebrate yourself.” Glenn concluded, “You only start losing when you stop, but you can pump your brakes and take your time in achieving your accomplishments.”

Inmates offered their remarks as well, reflecting on their experiences and what the opportunity to continue their education while incarcerated has meant to them.

This year’s graduates are:

      Jumanie Forde – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Elieser Edward – Penn Foster High School Diploma

      Shekil Berthier – General Education Diploma

      Lester Roberts – NCCER Construction Safety Module

      Eugene Roberts – NCCER Construction Safety Module

      Jalani Hall – NCCER Construction Safety Module & Cisco Certified Network Associate

      Winston George – NCCER Construction Safety Module

      Devindra Jaglal – Automotive HVAC Essentials & Anger Management

      Delicia Daniel – Pet Grooming Certificate

      Jamal Morton – Fitness and Nutrition Coaching

      Sholome Francis – Motorcycle Technician

      Manuel Davis – IT Support Specialist

      Daryl Blyden – VI History

      Dionno Brooks – VI History

      Jalani Hall – GCSEN Entrepreneurial Program

      Stephan Hyacinth – NCCER Construction & Support to Programs Special  Recognition

      Lemy Virgil – NCCER Construction Special Recognition & Most Outstanding        Resident

      Felix Perez – NCCER Construction Special Recognition

      Vaughn Challenger – NCCER Construction Special Recognition

      Delicia Daniel  – Anger Management

      Lisa Allen – Anger Management

      Vivian Stewart – Anger Management

      Elwood Canton – Anger Management

      Denise Donovan – Anger Management

      Shakim Gumbs – Anger Management

      Jose Alcala – Anger Management

      Francisco Tirado – Anger Management

      Solomon Degallerie – Anger Management

      Kenyata Horsford – Anger Management

      Darin Franklin – Anger Management

      Lester Roberts – Support to Programs Special Recognition

      Eugene Roberts – Support to Programs Special Recognition

      Ethelbert Benjamin – Support to Programs Special Recognition

      Jalani Hall – Support to Programs Special Recognition

      Elroy Edwards – Support to Programs Special Recognition

      Khalid Jaffar – Support to Programs Special Recognition

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.