Lockhart Correctional Facility Graduates Celebrate

Twenty-one women will soon be released from the Lockhart Women’s Correctional Facility with a new designation – high school graduate! Thanks to The Goodwill Excel Center campus located inside the facility, and the hard work of the Class of 2019, women who previously had no opportunity to complete their high school education are now exiting the system with both a diploma AND hope.  

“I’m so excited about having my high school diploma,” said new graduate Theresa who crossed the stage with fellow students June 6th. She intends to continue her education to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). “I’ve really been into all the classes here; I’ve been doing a whole lot!” Theresa said she knows that she won’t return to the criminal justice system due in part to her diploma and the new perspective it has given her on life.

All of this year’s graduates were excited to celebrate their big day. New this year, family members were invited to attend a special luncheon prepared by the facility culinary program and the graduation ceremony, so graduates were able to share the celebration with loved ones.

“I write my kids all the time about different stuff that I learned in school. I told them that I’m 46 years old, but your Mama finally did it,” said Theresa. “This opportunity was never offered to me anywhere else. I did it because I’m ready to make a change in my life.”

Kenya, Graduate Speaker at this year’s ceremony, said she never got her high school diploma because she was too busy raising her own children. “We were children ourselves. We didn’t have a childhood and I wanted to let my children know that they’re not alone; that I understand.”

Kenya says that completing her high school education has already been life-changing. “This opportunity that Goodwill has given us is a gift. I can actually start living now. I never knew what it was like to say I’m a high school graduate, to fill out a job application and be able to say that I’m educated.”

Warden Jennifer Brown addressed the graduates during graduation, congratulating them on this accomplishment. “You have come so far. Don’t let this be your last commencement!”

“I didn’t try to do anything before this,” said graduate Melinda, who has been to several correctional facilities. “I was hopeless within the system, with the attitude of just lock me up and then let me out – but this unit has made a difference for me,” she said. “The teachers are so dedicated to us and if you put school as your priority you will succeed!

“You are brave and you are smart women. I want you to remember that,” The Goodwill Excel Center Superintendent Traci Berry told graduates. “You are a success and I want you to remember that when times are hard, you do have people who are on your side.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 and your accomplishments – you are all an inspiration to adult students in our community. If you would like to find out more about our charter high school, The Goodwill Excel Center, please visit our website