Trinity Valley Community College

   

A big step toward a better future
   
Posted: 4/28/2014 2:08:37 PM
TVCC/TDCJ partnership graduates 109 during spring commencement ceremonies

TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey (left) presents a degree to Roger Burditt during Saturday’s spring commencement ceremonies at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Tennessee Colony.

TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey (left) presents a degree to Roger Burditt during Saturday’s spring commencement ceremonies at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Tennessee Colony.
TENNESSEE COLONY – Trinity Valley Community College’s Trinity Prison Project graduated 109 students during spring commencement ceremonies Saturday at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Eleven men graduated with “highest honors” – meaning they have achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. According to Dr. Sam Hurley, TVCC’s Associate Vice President of Correctional Education, 40 percent of this year’s graduates were honor graduates – graduating with honors (3.5 GPA or better), high honors (3.8 GPA or better) or highest honors.

TVCC has partnered with TDCJ to offer college classes since 1969, offering vocational training and academic education to help prepare offenders for success outside of prison and to enhance the rehabilitative aspects of correctional education. Studies have shown recidivism rates in Texas drop to 10 percent among inmates who have received college degrees.

In his remarks to the students and their families, TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey offered words of congratulation and encouragement, reminding students that their success “didn’t just happen.”

 “You’ve had huge support along the way,” Forgey said, “but it was you who studied, you who passed the tests, you who prepared the reports and learned the material. … I’m confident you’re well prepared for what the future holds.”

Texas Parole Commissioner James “Paul” Kiel Jr., who served as the guest speaker, reminded graduates about the choices they had made in their lives. While some choices had negative consequences, he said others – such as the decision to pursue a college degree – can have a far-reaching impact on their lives if they continue taking positive steps forward.

“Every day we make choices whether we know it or not, or we don’t make a choice and life just happens,” Kiel said. “My challenge to you is to keep making choices. Live life purposefully, intentionally. Life is a series of choices. Make them well.”

Kiel, who began his career as a correctional officer and was appointed to the Parole Board by then-Texas Governor George W. Bush in 1999, closed his remarks by encouraging graduates to continue to plan for the future, live intentionally and learn to be flexible on their journeys.
“You can’t wipe (your past) out,” he said. “You’ve got to take what you’ve done and use it for the future.”

TVCC Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King made a special presentation to those on hand graduating with highest honors. Students who graduated with that distinction were: Christopher D. Aleman; James Fabrizio; Herman H. Falkenberg Jr.; Jonathan B. Kersh; Ernest Lynn Naquin; Thomas Eugene Norris Jr.; Richard Oliverez; Branden Pennington; Angel Eduardo Rojas; William Sponsler; and Jeremy Watson.