264 PVSP students mark graduations

PVSP graduations with a lectern, banner and stacked blocks spelling GRAD.
For the first time since the pandemic began, family were invited to in-person graduations at PVSP.

The Adult School at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) recently honored 264 students during graduations on all four facilities.

In all, 40 high school diplomas, 56 high school equivalencies, three Associate of Arts degrees, and 168 Career Technical Education completions were awarded.

“We are very proud of our education staff and students at PVSP and look forward to continuing success. Positive events like these graduations are beneficial and meaningful for everyone at PVSP and our communities,” said acting Warden Tristan Lemon.

All four facilities held their own graduation ceremonies to recognize these accomplishments. The ceremonies were attended by PVSP staff and loved ones of the incarcerated graduates. This was the first time loved ones could attend the ceremony in-person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Graduates walked in to the festivities wearing caps and gowns with colorful satin stoles that represented the various departments. Visiting areas in which the ceremonies were held were decorated with black and gold.

Principal Cheryl Lopez opened the ceremonies with an inspirational message. Master of Ceremonies Beau Avila, GED teacher, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Holle Martin, CRT teacher, sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. The graduates were also honored with an encouraging address from the warden.

A student speaker shared his personal story of overcoming obstacles in achieving his academic goals.

“Never give up, never lose hope and always believe there is more to life than our past. With opportunities in front of us, growth is inevitable to those who apply discipline and focus, congratulations my fellow graduates and we did it,” he said.

Administrators presented diplomas and certificates to the graduates. At the end of the receipt of diplomas, graduates were excited to be presented to the audience as the Class of 2022 by switching their tassels from right to left of their caps to close the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, graduates and their guests celebrated with cake and refreshments.

Submitted by Lt. C. Mendoza